Monday, June 2, 2014

Ever wondered why those scamming emails from Nigerians still exist?


Libby Kane wrting at BusinessInsider:
....At this point, disenfranchised "Nigerian royalty" asking for money through a poorly worded email is the ultimate cliche of internet scams.
So why does it still exist?

According to new book "Think Like A Freak," a follow-up to the popular "Freakonomics" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, the scam's obviousness is its chief selling point.

The book refers to research from Microsoft Research computer scientist Cormac Herley, who looked at Nigerian scams — technically called advance-fee fraud — from the point of view of the scammer. How, he wondered, were scammers who never sent an email free of typos earning enough money for the United States Secret Service to establish its own task force to fight them?

In fact, those typos are a key part of the scam.

Levitt and Dubner explain the genius behind such an obvious scam in terms of "false positives," referring to email recipients who engage with the scammers but don't ultimately pay. Reaching out to scores of potential victims isn't much work, thanks to the ease of email, but with each reply from a gullible target, the scammers are required to put forth a little more effort.

Therefore, it's in the scammers' best interest to minimize........

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