Microsoft recently released a study, Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?, that made me geek out in so many ways. Microsoft’s research team undertook to statistically explain the “give me money, I’m a Nigerian price” ruse that so many of us have seen in our inboxes.
If you’re at all like me, you’ve received this kind of email and laughed at it, thinking othat nly the most gullible person would fall for it. Turns out, you’re right and that’s the point. As Microsoft’s paper explains (in all of its statistical glory), the Nigerian prince scam is designed in a way so as to alienate all but the most gullible email recepients. At first, a con that immediately disqualifies potential victims doesn’t seem to make sense. After all, these types of things succeed because of the sheer volume of them; the emails cost nothing to send and the success of the attack comes in its scalability. Continue reading