By Arnold Kling
Mitchell Zuckoff describes how the Nigerian email scam works.
Patiently and persistently, the Nigerians turned Worley’s skepticism into suspension of disbelief, to the point where he seemed to worry that they might not trust him. They made Worley the perfect mark.
…An enduring trait of Nigerian letter scammers—indeed, of most con artists—is their reluctance to walk away from a mark before his resources are exhausted. On February 5, 2003, several days after the checks were revealed as phony, after Worley was under siege by investigators, after his bank account had been frozen, after he had called his partners “evil bastards,” Worley received one more e-mail from Mercy Nduka.
“I am quite sympathetic about all your predicaments,” she wrote, “but the truth is that we are at the final step and I am not willing to let go, especially with all of these amounts of money that you say that you have to pay back.” She needed just one more thing from Worley and the millions would be theirs: another three thousand dollars.
“You have to trust somebody at times like this,” she wrote. “I am waiting your response.”
Essay question: Both the Nigerian email scam with the No Child Left Behind Act work to separate fools from their money. What are the fundamental differences between the two?