[ExI] nigerian form letters, was: Re: psi yet again

Gregory Jones spike66 at att.net
Thu Jul 1 19:40:37 UTC 2010

--- On Thu, 7/1/10, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
>...Good day and compliments, i know this letter will definitely come to
you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go
through it carefully as the decision you make will go off a long way...

Hilarious send up of typical Nigerian spam.  {8^D
Question please.  Most of us here have learned to filter spam letters like the one Damien used as a template for parody, but it brings up an interesting question: why are there so many versions of nearly the same thing?  It seems to follow a pattern:  
Greetings, [whoever you are, I have no idea, but] I have heard that you are a reliable person, good Christian, [and so forth] and I want you please to help me [insert awkward non-American non-British English generously] to extract from [insert some benighted hellhole somewhere outside the mainstream of civilization, preferrably with mineral or oil holdings and a corrupt dictator] the sum of $x,xxx,xxx.xx, [xx million, etc, [spell out the amount of cash down to the cents for some bizarre reason, perhaps assuming that the unknown but honest and reliable recipient can read words but not numbers.]]
For your good Christian cooperation, to help [insert surviving family member or charity rob their country] I offer you [insert percentage of the ill-gotten loot.]  Please hurry [because I am so very eager to hand over a buttload of money to you] give me your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, mother's maiden name, [and anything else I might use to rob you blind] so I know you are the unknown person I have heard so much about [halfway across the globe] as being so very honest and trustworthy [and so forth.]
Question please Extro-friends, why is this particular boneheaded scam so common?  Is there *anyone* stupid enough to fall for it?  Why are there so many of them?  Is there an English textbook somewhere in Nigeria where they instruct children as a classroom exercise to write their own version of this old gag?  Or has someone figured out a way to generate them in arbitrary quantities by computer, and send them out, like an auto-loading spam gun?
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