On the Media: Why Nigerian Email Scams Work


I found this segment, Why Nigerian Email Scams Work, to catch my attention on this weeks, On the Media. Personally, when I get spam emails asking for money or notifying me that I’ve won a billion of dollars and to email my personal/financial information, I just automatically delete the emails. I’ve never fallen for one of these false spam emails nor do I know someone that has caved into giving the spammer information or money. I found the discussion of why spammers continue to write these emails very fascinating. According to a paper (pdf) by Cormac Herley of Microsoft Research, the email’s overt scaminess helps identify the biggest suckers.

I always thought that no one falls for these stupid and ridiculous spam emails but apparently people throughout the world do fall for them. The spam emailer somehow gets into the readers brain and makes them feel vulnerable and emotional about the message; therefore, getting a reaction out of them. I usually don’t hear much about spam emails in the news but after listening to this segment, it has made me more aware of what the motives of the spam emailer are and how people in society give into them.


  1. I always thought that these email scams were a waste of time as well. The first time I ever used a computer I was told to never click on anything that said you win or had to do with money, I just figured everyone learned that. I found how far back these scams date back to very interesting.

  2. I never understood how anyone could fall for these type of scams but remember it only takes one. One person who is naive and ignorant of the nature of the internet. Think of a old person who grew up in a small town and is visiting the big city for the first time. They are completely unaware of the working of the sub-culture of the city, how you treat strangers, how people interact with each other, what’s a scam and what isn’t etc. If your sending out these emails by the millions, a bet there are plenty of people that have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.

Leave a Reply