Nigerian Scams Purposely Sound Unbelievable
Scammers want to rein in only the very gullible: study
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2012 12:54 PM CDT
Updated Jun 24, 2012 10:55 AM CDT
There's a reason those Nigerian email scams sound so far-fetched.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – "Nigerian scams" are so well-known that we call them, well, Nigerian scams. So why don't the scammers update their tactics a bit, rather than coming right out and admitting they're from Nigeria right there in the body of the email? The answer, according to a Microsoft researcher, is simple: The scammers want to target only the truly gullible. By making their emails sound completely unbelievable (you'll make millions overnight, we just need a tiny bit of money from you…), these scammers ensure that anyone who actually responds will be their ideal target.

Most of us have been around the Internet long enough to recognize one of these scams (real name: "advance fee fraud") from a mile away. But if a scammer is able to ensnare someone gullible enough not to catch on, it's more likely that the entire scam will work on that person, and the scammer will make money. Sending out the emails is easy, but going through with the actual scam is much harder—and more expensive—for the scammers, so they don't want to waste their time. Gizmodo and Computer World have more on the researcher's findings.

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
Jun 25, 2012 11:29 AM CDT
Perhaps us intelligent people should start responding to the scam emails and burn up some of their resources while trolling them.
Jun 24, 2012 3:55 PM CDT
I love it when these scam letters start off with "Dearly Beloved" or "Truly Blessed" and end with " Sincerely Paster Bobo".
Jun 24, 2012 3:11 PM CDT
Interesting factoid: The word "gullible" does not exist in the dictionary. It's a slang, or made up word. Seriously, check it out sometime.