Some might even wonder what happens when you reply to these ghastly tomes.
I commend to you a website called www.whatsthebloodypoint.com, which features exchanges of emails between the scamsters and an imaginative Brit.
In the first, Dominic Goma of the Bank of Africa, Ivory Coast, receives a response from a certain Sir Gerald Womo Milton Glockenspiel, a distinguished stoat trainer.
‘Dear Mr Goma,’ the missive begins. ‘Your recent email has been passed to me by my very good friend Sydney McGonad…’ He then offers to send him a stoat as a token of goodwill. The irony is lost on the witless Goma.
In another exchange, Professor George Wadaloop Muffin tells one unwitting scamster: ‘I just love Nigeria. I purchased my first wife from your magnificent country over 20 years ago.’ In some cases, our heroic Brit even persuades the dimwits to send money to him, not the other way round.
Scamorama.com features a reply written in the style of Bertie Wooster.
‘Dear Mrs Abacha,’ it begins. ‘I received your email about 20 minutes before cocktail time, and my first thought was, well, what a bally load of trouble this poor thing’s gone and got herself into.’
It reminds me of the fuss back in 1996, when a 419 letter turned up offering to split $32m in stolen funds. The recipient was George Staple, director of the Serious Fraud Office. He passed it straight to the Metropolitan Police.
The scam emails are generally considered to be the work of the Ibo of Nigeria who dominate commerce throughout west Africa. Too bad they can’t harness their talents in a more productive way.
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