Scam Victims as Criminal as the Scammers?

This just in….

Australian victims of Nigerian online scams are greedy and should be jailed along with the Africans who relieved them of their cash, according to High Commissioner Sunday Olu Agb (Nigerian Envoy to Canberra).

“People who send their money are as guilty as those who are asking them to send the money,”

He said media coverage of Nigerian scams had given the corruption-plagued country “a bad image.” Agbi was responding to a police report that said Australians were losing A$36 Million (about $US 31,000,000) to online scams.

He complained that “those who want to transact business with us are always very suspicious”.

read more in the report by the Sydney Morning Herald

I agree that greed is what drives a large number of scams – as a social engineering construct, it works very well – the knowledge that the actions that they are taking are at best immoral, at worst criminal is normally tempered by the displacement of the crime (eg. another continent) and also the large amounts of money involved and the sense that no-one will ever find out.

When the scam is exposed, the common pattern or events is disbelief, then rage and then either shame/penitence or denial (The Sunk Cost Fallacy?). The last is always the most destructive – This is exploited by scammers who, when the victim has realized his errors, will offer more scams, purportedly to enable the victim to recover some of his lost money. I have seen this many times and the 419 type scammers are the experts at this type of ‘scam cascade’.

Greed, Opportunity and Low Risk drives all financial crimes – an email arriving with a request from an African official to help him ‘move’ some money out of his country to yours is just the ‘carrot’ that many people need.

One thought on “Scam Victims as Criminal as the Scammers?

  1. mxw says:

    As an example of the second-level scam – see this site which is a clumsy example (soon to be borught down):

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.