Nigerian scammers make their letters ridiculous to weed out smart people, and trap the stupid people:
Nigerian scam letters include carefully designed flaws, complete with misspellings and pidgin English, in order to weed out the intelligent and leave only the most vulnerable targets, new research says.
Offers of millions of dollars from a Nigerian prince are intentionally unbelievable in a scam technique perfected to target the vulnerable, gullible and elderly, according to the study.
A research paper by Microsoft’s Machine Learning Department, entitled ‘Why do Nigerian scammers say they are from Nigeria?’, has found the formula is a cost effective way at “reducing the false positives”.
“Far-fetched tales of West African riches strike as comical… (but) our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage,” wrote principal researcher Cormac Hurley.
“Since his attack has a low density of victims, the Nigerian scammer has an overriding need to reduce the false positives.
“By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ration in his favour.”
Since you’re here … we’ve got a favour to ask. Advertising revenues across media are falling fast. And unlike other news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our work available to everyone. Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil. Your contribution helps us survive in a hostile market.