Gut Rumbles

May 13, 2005

nigerian emails

How many of those have YOU gotten over the past year or so? I receive about two every day and it's the same spiel every time. Yeah... I am a prince or princess who has control of a gadzillion dollars and I'm willing to give you a hefty chuck of that money if you'll help me smuggle it into your country.

I think RONCO is behind the entire thing. Remember the Ronco commercials you saw as a kid? I do. They had every kind of miracle gadget anybody ever brain-farted about and they offered every one of them for $19.95 and it was GUARANTEED to work. CALL NOW, and as an extra bonus, they'd send you some other useless contraption.

I wanted the snow-cone maker. I lusted after Ginsu Knives. I wanted that thing that cut tomatoes into neat slices with one flip of a lever. I thought the "Miracle Brush" might make a good Mother's Day present for mama.

I bugged my daddy about that stuff and he told me, "It looks good in a commercial, but if it REALLY worked as well as they say it does, they wouldn't be pitching the product the way they are. That crap would be on a hardware shelf everywhere in America. If you can't find it there, it ain't no good. If you want a good tool, go buy a Craftsman."

I didn't believe him. I took my newspaper money and bought one of those those slice-and-dice snow-cone makers from Ronco. It came in the mail and I couldn't wait to try it out as soon as I opened the box.

It was just as my daddy said. It was a piece of shit that NEVER produced a snow cone fit to eat and the damn thing fell apart after my fifth try at dicing vegetables for my mama. I ended up throwing that thing into the garbage can and realizing that I had just been conned out of $20, which was a LOT of money for a 12 year-old boy at the time.

My dad had only one thing to say about it: "I TOLD you so."

Don't you HATE to hear that comment when you know that the person making it is correct? I did, but I learned a valuable lesson. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. And you don't buy shit off the television when it's not sold in stores.

These Nigerian emails have become a joke for anybody who has a web site. But I'll bet you money on this: some people still fall for it.

Wanna bet?


I had a college buddy of mine stop by the several months back excited about the diamond mines hed just become a partner in. Only cost him five grand.

I tried to explain to him that he needed to stop payment on the check and close his bank account. He assured me it was a legit deal. Needless to say hes out the five grand and they popped his account for another two grand shortly after that.

As you said if it looks to good to be true, it is.

And anybody wanting to invest in some swampland in southern Florida should send their checking account information to me.

Posted by: phin on May 13, 2005 03:01 PM

If you send me 1,000.00 I will help you find that long lost relative of yours. He left 10 million in our banks, please send today, Cat

Posted by: catfish on May 13, 2005 03:16 PM

Those nigerian scammers are a pain in the ass, but if you go to
you will see that sometimes they get theirs!

Posted by: Scott on May 13, 2005 03:18 PM

A couple days ago, I checked one of my older free e-mail accounts, and found that I had something like 4 *different* 419 scam e-mails right in a row.

If I was a total idiot, I'd now be helping the deposed prince of Zaire (which hasn't existed since the 90's), partnering with a soccer team in Madagascar, investing in a tech firm in Nigeria, and smuggling a diamond merchant out of Chad... and I'd have a good 400 million dollars coming in soon.

Posted by: LotharBot on May 13, 2005 03:22 PM

Or you can go straight to the trophy room;

They get these bozo's to take photo's of themselves...hilarious stuff

Posted by: Scott on May 13, 2005 03:24 PM

Actually, the Ginsu knives were amazingly good. I bought a set years and years ago.....and they are STILL sharp! They are my favorite knives. Although, I can't vouch for the current Ginsu's that are available now.....I don't think they're as good as the vintage ones. And the rest of that stuff on the infomercials....junk!

Posted by: Dogsdontpurr on May 13, 2005 03:26 PM

And the rest of that stuff on the infomercials....junk!

Probably true 95% of the time. However, Pro-Activ for acne works as advertised. Great stuff. There's a similar product line from a company called Botanica which I've never seen advertised on TV or even in a magazine but works equally well and is similarly priced. No other products seem to come close.

Posted by: Michael Hiteshew on May 13, 2005 03:31 PM is a good site too.

Posted by: Robert on May 13, 2005 03:37 PM

Dare I mention that I really like the Magic Bullet I bought? It's basically a tiny food processor, which is great if, like me, you're single.

Posted by: Tom on May 13, 2005 03:47 PM

Heinlein (speaking as Jubal Harshaw) always said that PT Barnum was right - There is a sucker born every minute....

But some suckers, like you and me, learn from our mistakes. And become crusty, rude, old skeptics.

I'll swap you a Sierra Nevada for that Shiner?

Posted by: Ward Gerlach on May 13, 2005 08:42 PM

For the past couple of months I have got a shitload of mail claiming to be my bank and wanting me to verify my checking and saving accounts. Yeah, right. Also getting crap from e-bay claiming that someone is trying to access my account and wanting me to verify my credit card numeber. Yeah, right again. I don't have an ebay account so it has to be a phony. I might have fallen for the bank scam if the crook had not have added that verification was mandatory and sent me the request on about thirty different banks, none of which I had an account. Whats that old adage about fools and their money soon parting? My mama might have raised me to be a redneck but she didn't raise no fools.

Posted by: GUYK on May 13, 2005 09:09 PM

w00t! Back in '02 I actually had a separate index just for the Nigerian-style stuff I got, because I was even posting it on my website back then, for laughs. But then I got some spam-stopper software and that crap stopped coming through.

One time I saw a news item about several billion dollars missing from a federal audit, and I figured someday soon I'd start seeing American-made efforts to start scamming Nigerians over all that missing American money. I guess having an American e-mail address kept me from seeing those, though.

Posted by: McGehee on May 13, 2005 11:37 PM

Oh, BTW -- trade anything you want for an Anchor Steam. Definitely worth it. Though when I first encountered the brand I thought it was hilarious.

Posted by: McGehee on May 13, 2005 11:40 PM

Actually read an article about a lawyer in Florida being taken for $10,000. for an Nigerian type scam.

Guess I'm evil but I didn't feel sorry for him....figure anyone who has gone to grad school, knows the law, but still lets greed rule over his brain and ethics got what he deserved.

Posted by: Maggie on May 14, 2005 08:13 AM

There's an old Book called "The Yellow Man"

He told how he back in the 30's scamed many a greedy person form their money.

Basically he offered them a mean to riches if they only invested some relativly small (or sometimes larger amount)

When it came time to collect - the Yellow man was gone and so was there money >>>>>

Posted by: Mark -- on May 14, 2005 10:34 AM

These scams apparently go back to the 90s at least, and quite a few Nigerians got rich off of them, too, according to that guys at

Posted by: JG22 on May 15, 2005 11:10 PM

I turned the tables on one of these jokers once.

Using the email address he so thoughtfully provided in the email, I created a yahoo ID for him (designating the contact email as the primary one). In the process of setting up the ID, there was a profile page where you fill out information, including permissions to be on mailing lists for various hobbies & interests - about 30 different hobbies & interests, in fact.

I figure he deserved the joy of sorting through unwanted email, too.

Posted by: Trish on May 16, 2005 02:20 PM
Post a comment

*Note: If you are commenting on an older entry, your
comment will not appear until it has been approved.
Do not resubmit it.