• Features
  • Updated: December 03, 2022

Email Scam: Unveiling The Dark Side Of The Spam Box

“Let us discuss a joint partnership, there are some legitimate funds to move and invest. Reply for more details if you are interested. Thanks, Barrister Manuel Leon [email protected]”. The last time you received an email such as this, didn’t you think your breakthrough had come? How do you react when you find out that it was a scam? 

Most of these emails are always in the spam box. So, you should open your spam box and read along as you understand the point we want to make through this piece.

The Spam box's growing importance

The general email advice is to check our spam folders at least every other week, so we don’t miss emails from valid senders.

Some even say we should check it every day because of the conspiracy that the most important email that will change our lives has gone to spam.

Therefore, in recent years Nigerians, particularly between the ages of 22 and 40, cannot do without checking their spam a day, according to a survey carried out by our reporter on Saturday. 

It is, therefore, heartbreaking that some miscreants are using the fact that we prioritise our spam folder to come at us with business-related messages that will spur our emotions and motivate us to follow up.

In most cases, most of these emails are from cyber thieves.

Why email now?

For a month, AllNews Nigeria has interacted with some youths in their twenties in a bid to know more about what goes on in the world of cybercrime, popularly called 'Yahoo Yahoo'.

“Back in the day, we wanted to get people who want to satisfy their sexual urges and create a social life, but at times, some of those cannot work.

"We get real clients these days from LinkedIn and anonymous emails”, an individual whose identity cannot be revealed said. 

There is a general feeling that the most serious people use their emails. Therefore, the target of fraudsters is serious people. 

Email deals with emotion

In Nigeria, emails are not chat rooms. They are instruments for job seeking, scholarship application, and other meaningful conversations. 

Anyone who messages you through your email is widely believed to be serious and genuine.

Internet fraudsters are beginning to exploit the dark spots to get at vulnerable Nigerians who need miracles to come from their emails.

These emails are catchy

You can return to the message at this piece’s opening and contest whether it abides by the basic rules of effective communication.

The truth is it was simple, straight and elicited responses. 

Most of these emails boss people's emotions because they are well crafted. However, some of them are not better prepared and fail the double-check and basic reasoning evaluation.

For example, someone says he is been living in America for fifty years but uses a British writing style.

That does not add up but the way most of them are crafted always looks true, even though they are certainly far from the truth. 

The international mentality 

For all it is worth, some Nigerians still value the message they receive from an international sender more than the messages sent by their immediate families.

Therefore, email fraudsters use emotional inferiority and disenfranchisement to get at unsuspecting Nigerians and victims worldwide. 

The assumption that every international conversation is genuine is coming back to hurt us because fraudsters have found out that Nigerians prioritise talking extensively to someone who lives abroad and feels safe with them.

They are impersonating or imitating them to get people defrauded. 

Money is involved

Money is the root of all good and evil. But in this case, it is the latter.

Money is also the most emotionally manipulative ingredient that ever existed. It makes these miscreants come with the idea of making a lot of money. 

Even the most hard-hearted individual will be moved if he hears about money or business, and the fraudsters feed on the emotional reality. 

A victim shares his ordeal

Tunde Adewale (not real name) spoke with AllNews Nigeria and disclosed that he received a message in his spam box that 8.5 million dollars had been stacked in a briefcase that would be delivered to him by a French diplomat if he agreed to work alongside the sender to keep his share of the money they saw in a reservoir during their international intervention in Iraq.

He recounted that the individual desperately said he couldn’t return to the US with the money because the government would query him.

The impersonator told him that he wouldn’t have to spend a dime but would find his way to the embassy and claim the package.

"He said he was going to foot all the bills, from paying the diplomat to getting to Benin Republic, where he said I would go to get the briefcase", Tunde detailed.

"When I got to the place, I didn't meet a Frenchman but someone who looked Nigerian.

"He said the diplomat had left because I was late. I even gifted the guy N100,000 after he gave me the parcel because he said he needed to join his boss, the diplomat in Dakar, Senegal, the next morning, and he was broke.

"The boss had also messaged me that I should drop N100,000 for his secretary because the clearing fees had changed from the money he and my email friend agreed due to unforeseen circumstances."

The fresh graduate took an online loan of N200,000 to prosecute the trip and discussed with the email fraudster for two months before agreeing to go on the journey.

He lost N350,000 altogether.

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Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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