You can’t cheat an honest man

I was reading through ebay’s forum this morning and was especially attracted to ebay scams from Nigeria. On the Internet today, the word “Nigeria” is almost always attached to scams, when e-commerce is involved. And why not? There has been too many tales of people being cheated of their money or goods, by such scammers. According to Wikipedia,

These scams have come to be associated by the western media with Nigeria due to the massive proliferation of such confidence tricks from that country since the early 1990s, as well as the reputation of the country for corruption.

419 doesn’t make this better either. Stories of hidden riches looking for people to help bank them abroad are the bait, and gullible/greedy westerners are victims.

Well, back to ebay. The experiences I read this morning were quite insightful. Someone using the alias, rickjforbes, while giving advice, said something that striked me: “You can’t cheat an honest man“. I believe this and understand it this way. The scam popularly refered to as 419 is basically an “advance fee fraud” that is based on the greediness of the “victim”. It would take a very dishonest person to fall victim.
All the variants of 419 listed on Wikipedia are based on the greediness/gullibility of the willing victim.

  • Invitation to visit the country
  • Credit card use through IP Relay
  • Romance angle
  • Auction overpayment, fake check
  • Fake escrow
  • Western Union scam
  • Lottery scam
  • Classified advertisement scams
  • Escort scams
  • Black money scam
  • Rental scam
  • Bulldog puppy scam

There are so many indications that such attractive offers are scams. Huge sums of money are almost always involved. For example, you receive an email or text message that you have won $20,000 in a lottery. You are then asked to send $1,505 as administrative fees or something like that. Now, you would clearly know whether you staked lottery or not. If you didn’t stake any lottery, the only reason you would expect to get something for nothing, is dishonesty.

I am not holding fort for scammers and never will. My point here is simple:Â You can’t cheat an honest man (or woman 🙂 ).

5 Comments

  1. I am a international sales person from Shenzhen China,and dealing people all over the wrold,people that from Asia,Europe,America ,middle east,africa as well.it’s hard to say that there won’t be any scams on other places except Africa, there ared e-ecomic tricks all over the world.so it depends what kind of people you would meet(fortunately or unfortunately). while I have to say business man from Nigeria is kind of special,cause they are unemotional and only result cared.while most of them are good persons. if that “the word “Nigeria” is almost always attached to scams, when e-commerce is involved.” realy being a fact, I think the people and government from Nigeria should be self-questioning and further corrective action need be taken. is education be main factor? wish people all over the world could get enough education.

  2. Good talk there, Dave. At the end of the day, both scammers and the scammed are driven by greed. QED. Its the reason why some of us hold that EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies ought to prosecute BOTH the scammer and the “victim” (read ACCOMPLICE). See this article Nigeria Online Scams: Where The EFCC Is Getting It Wrong.

    If the deal had gone through, the self-proclaimed “victim” would not have blown a whistle. It is sheer hypocrisy to call for the head of the Nigerian scammer (if indeed he was a Nigerian), while letting go of the dishonest American or British or Canadian or [insert nationality] thief who wants to reap where he has not sown.

    Enough said.

  3. […] Still on scams and scammers, Oluniyi David Ajao’s headline is simple and straight-forward: You can’t cheat an honest man: …The scam popularly refered to as 419 is basically an “advance fee fraud” that is based on the greediness of the “victim”. It would take a very dishonest person to fall victim. All the variants of 419 listed on Wikipedia are based on the greediness/gullibility of the willing victim… […]

  4. I am a landlord. The Nigerian reputation is so bad, I won’t rent my apartment to them, even not show them. No body wants to bother with them. Unfortunately, I am not alone. Nigerians: you will see what you deserve!

  5. Yomi Adegboye, there are SEVERAL419 schemes that do NOT have to do with the victim being really greedy; i.e. the “church donation” scams, the “hitman” scams, and the scams where people tell the victims that the transaction is legal and risk free.

    Anyway, I like to “play” with scammers by feigning interest in the scheme and then making them go to Western Union to pick up money transfers that do not exist. I crack up when I see the desperation and disappointment in the scammers’ mails.

Leave a Reply

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