editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Why Nigerian Bank Scams Are So Obvious

The old “Nigerian bank scam” is so laughably obvious that nobody could possibly fall for it anymore, right? Not so, and some new research suggests that its cheesiness is actually deliberate.

The plaintive appeal to wire money to a certain displaced Nigerian prince is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It’s so obviously bogus that it’s become the archetype of low-end spam. Everybody’s seen it a hundred times, and even the dumbest spam filter can spot it a mile off. The very presence of the word “Nigeria” sets off alarms. Can’t the stupid spammers come up with even a little improvement on the old formula?

Nope, and for good reason. In a paper from Microsoft Research, Cormac Herley explains that the scam’s obviousness is deliberate. It’s carefully designed to appeal to only the most gullible segment of the population. Unlike most other types of spam or phishing scams, he explains, the Nigerian bank scam requires the scammer to put in some effort to reel in his victims. Thus, it’s in his best interest to hook only the dumbest and most gullible targets and avoid the (relatively) smart ones. He doesn’t want to waste time luring potential victims who might later see through his scheme and alert the authorities or waste his time. Only the dumbest need apply.

“Since gullibility is unobservable, the best strategy is to get those who possess this quality to self-identify… The goal of the email is not so much to attract viable users as to repel the non-viable ones, who greatly outnumber them. Failure to repel all but a tiny fraction of non-viable users will make the scheme unpro?table.”

So count yourself lucky that you recognize the scam when you see it. And stand in wonder at those who don’t.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Feb 24, 2021
mmWave applications are all the rage. Why? Simply put, the 5G tidal wave is coming. Also, ADAS systems use 24 GHz for SRR applications and 77 GHz for LRR applications. Obviously, the world needs mmWave tech! Traditional mmWave technology spans the frequency range of 30 –...
Feb 24, 2021
Crowbits are programmable, LEGO-compatible, magnetically-coupled electronic blocks to interest kids in electronics and computing and facilitate their STEM activities....
Feb 24, 2021
With DVCon 2021 on the horizon we share a primer on our datapath verification technology HECTOR, exploring its impact on machine learning & AI chip design. The post Why Datapath Validation Is Important'€”and How HECTOR Technology Can Help appeared first on From Silico...
Feb 24, 2021
When I worked for Cadence back in the early oughts, we developed a layout database called OpenAccess, usually abbreviated to OA. It had actually been designed from the ground up to be the native... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ...

featured video

Silicon-Proven Automotive-Grade DesignWare IP

Sponsored by Synopsys

Get the latest on Synopsys' automotive IP portfolio supporting ISO 26262 functional safety, reliability, and quality management standards, with an available architecture for SoC development and safety management.

Click here for more information

featured paper

Ultra Portable IO On The Go

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated

The Go-IO programmable logic controller (PLC) reference design (MAXREFDES212) consists of multiple software configurable IOs in a compact form factor (less than 1 cubic inch) to address the needs of industrial automation, building automation, and industrial robotics. Go-IO provides design engineers with the means to rapidly create and prototype new industrial control systems before they are sourced and constructed.

Click here to download the whitepaper

featured chalk talk

Microwave/Millimeter Cable Assemblies and Interconnects

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Samtec

Cabling and connectors for RF design are critical to performance. And, in the world of microwave and millimeter-wave design, choosing the right interconnect for your frequency band is key to signal integrity. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Matthew Burns of Samtec about what you need to know to choose the right interconnect solution for your next RF design.

Click here for more information about Samtec Precision RF Connectors & Cable Assemblies