We get more than we can count of them every week, in the stilted English of someone who learned the language well, but not quite well enough:
I am the last of a wealthy family in [African country of your choice] and have $[???] billion dollars in [a named bank of that African country]. I am a Christian [usually] and am being persecuted by [the government, religious interests, other]. I seek your gracious help in getting my money out of the country. For your generosity, I would be glad to give you a small portion of the sum, say $[???] million. Blah blah blah.
This outrageous story manages to bilk $200 million from U.S. cititizens alone every year.
Now a handful of wily computer geeks have mounted a counteroffensive. Using the same methods–e-mail and a sob story–one has managed to collect $80 to cover administrative expenses. He told the scammer that he needed to join a new faith, The Church of the Order of the Red Breast, in order to get the help he desired and received a photo of a rotund black man in initiation paint.
The scambaiters have sent the e-mail exchanges to police in the UK, Niger and the U.S. FBI, but the law enforcement agencies have given no response.
In the meantime, Prince Joe, the new Nigerian devotee of The Church of the Order of the Red Breast, who is out $80 in processing fees, continues his daily prayer, “When all above seems a great test, Get on down with the Holy Red Breast,” and waits for his $18,000 from Mike the scambaiter.
Sometimes it doesn’t get any better than this.