Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and today’s scam of the day is just that. All of us continue to receive emails which we refer to as Nigerian letters even if they don’t always come from Nigeria. The scam, which actually has been around since the 1500s begins with a communication that you receive informing you that you eligible to receive a large amount of money without having to do anything to qualify to receive the funds. Often the funds are promised as a part of an inheritance even though you may well know that you have no relatives in Nigeria or wherever the email appears to originate. Once the victim is hooked with the promise of “free” money, the demands for fees, administrative costs and other payments begin. Often these payments required in order to get the “free” money end up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course, at the end of the process, the victim receives nothing except an expensive lesson in scams and greed. Many of us wonder why these scams are still around. We wonder who could possibly fall for these scams after so much has become known about them. Well, now we know who falls for this scam – Robert Allan Wright Jr. is an Iowa lawyer whose license to practice law was suspended for one year by the Iowa Supreme Court because he solicited loans from his clients to pay the $177,660 in Nigerian inheritance taxes and “anti-terrorism certificate” required in order to obtain 18.8 million dollars supposedly inherited by one of his other clients. Of course the entire thing was a scam which should be obvious to anyone, but apparently not to Attorney Wright who, according to the Iowa Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board “appears to have honestly believed – and continues to believe – that one day a trunk full of … one hundred dollar bills is going to appear upon his office doorstep.”
There are no free lunches, nor are there any free inheritances that you are going to receive from Nigeria, particularly if you have had absolutely no connection with anyone in that country. There also is no such thing as an “anti-terrorism certificate” which would have been clear to anyone who bothered to research the matter. From time to time, I show you some of the Nigerian letters that I receive in my email on a regular basis so that you can see what the latest incarnations of these scams look like. Do yourself a favor and never respond to any of these emails.