Sunday 20 April 2008

Nigerian scammers will always be a minority

Those rotten Nigerians

One is saddened to read that 87 Nigerians have been arrested in Spain on suspicion of defrauding at least 1,500 in a postal and internet lottery scam.

In the light of my last blog, these are the kind of people who make our inadvertent commission of being ambassadors of Nigeria a very difficult job.

They put us in inappropriate spotlight that many who do not have an alternative identity have to try harder at proving honesty, capability, eligibility and trustworthiness.

Be smart about scams

I have received many letters saying I have been put into some lottery and I have won a prize but for me to gain access to the prize I have to pay some administration fee to some agent engaged by the lottery firm.

I do not think you have to be too smart to see that there is something fishy about such a proposition, the news story indicates thousands of these letters and emails are written in ungrammatical English.

The question would then be why a “reputable” lottery organisation would engage an unprofessional outfit to manage lottery winnings that probably would reflect badly on their enterprise.

In it to win it

My view of lotteries is simple; you have to be in it to win it, and every lottery I have won has been because I consciously entered in that competition with the hope that my numbers or ticket would come up and win the grand prize or some other prize.

Where lotteries are managed on the Internet, especially in the Netherlands, you have the option to include both your address and bank account number so any winnings go directly into your bank account without the need of an agent.

In fact, the whole scheme of this scam looks quite wrong headed, whilst the administration of winnings might be a costly exercise, informing the winner directly of their winnings should not be too cumbersome.

Most people who register in competitions have the option to opt-out of having their details passed on to agents, if a lottery firm outsources this service, one would expect that the letter or email informing a person of winnings would bear all the official hallmarks of the lottery organisation at first.

No need to pay

Then, the lottery organisation would have paid the agency to handle the winnings, the agency should not then have to charge the winner any administration fees because a percentage of the winnings should have gone to covering the cost of administration – a winner should never have to pay administration costs.

Another question is how a lottery expects to break-even if it randomly chooses non-contributing participants from an email list, I do not believe there is some bottomless cash pool somewhere where someone derives joy from giving money to unknown strangers and then requires them to pay up to get paid.

The Caribbean for one

I remember one prize I won in 1992 before the Internet was popular which was for a 1-week cruise in the Caribbean, but living in the UK I had to pay a fortune to get to the Caribbean and then probably end up as a stowaway on some pirate’s vessel.

It did not take long for me to realise I was being taken for a ride and about to be scammed, I do not do stressful lottery wins, much as a Caribbean cruise for one could never have been any fun at all, the devil is always in the detail processed by a logical brain. The same scam is now rehashed for another medium.

The logic usually does not add up, eventually, the old saying catches up on the deluded or desperate that has been cajoled into a despicable enterprise – it only takes 1 out 1,000 fools answering to make a profit.

The old saying is – A fool and his money are soon parted – if you have not expressly entered a lottery you cannot seriously expect to have won anything and you should not believe you have won anything.

We are good Nigerians

Meanwhile, shame on all those Nigerians, I do hope that the full force of the law is visited upon them and we who keep on the good side of the law continue to prove that those shameful miscreants are the exception rather than the rule.

Most Nigerians abroad are engaged in meaningful activities that build economies, communities and relationships, we who take our ambassadorial jobs seriously would not relent in being the good and exemplary Nigerian.

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