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« Under Attack The RantsThe Unsecret Recipe »

Yeah, But What Was His Plea?
2006.05.11 (Thu) 22:05

You know those Nigerian e-mail scams, right? If you're like us, you've probably received hundreds of them, if not thousands, over the years. Have you ever wondered what kind of person could be stupid enough to actually buy into these tales of greed, military coups, and poor grammar? Well, Les Jenkins has an exceptionally well-reasoned post up on SEB about how religiously-fostered credulity paved the way for one man to take the bait hook, line, and sinker. It seems a dutiful Christian was taken in by one of these Nigerian e-mail scams, and ended up screwed to the tune of over half a million dollars and two years prison time for felony charges. Les has the essentials covered, plus some excellent commentary.

Our favorite bit:

Worley's lawyer, a former prosecutor named Thomas Hoopes, cast him as a childlike man who was tricked by sophisticated con artists into a check-cashing scheme.

...

He urged the jury to focus on the final thousand dollars that Worley had sent after he knew an investigation was under way — this was evidence, he said, of Worley's gullibility.

...

Mostly, Hoopes urged the jury to view Worley's acts as foolish, not criminal. Hoopes emphasized that Worley had lost heavily in the scam. "It's not willful blindness," Hoopes said. "It is blind trust."

So, what...he pleaded "Not guilty by reason of gullibility"? When are silly, credulous fools going to realize that "I was tricked into committing that crime" exonerates you just about as much as "I was only following orders"? Sheesh.

Les does a great job of walking us through the details, and mapping each incredibly unbelievable action by Worley back to his Christian beliefs. This is why critical thinking trumps blind faith any day of the week.

Incidentally, as Sepharo notes, there are some brave and clever folks out there who actively flip these e-mail scams back on the scammers — these daring individuals are called "scambaiters." Some of the stories they share are absolutely hilarious. It's nice to see someone preying on the greed of those who are preying on the greed of others.


— • —
[  Filed under: % Bullshit  % Computers & the Internet  % Religion  ]

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.twopercentco.com/rants/tpc-trkbk.cgi/325

Comments (3)

dikkii, 2006.05.13 (Sat) 03:15 [Link] »

I used to be a scam-baiter.

There is a huge scam-baiting community out there. Websites, forums, chat-rooms, etc.

Some of the how-to's are hilarious. It really is a lot of fun.

The problem is that I had to stop it. Once you start scam-baiting you get totally into it to the detriment of everything else. I knew I had to stop when I made an excuse to not go to something so that I could bait some guy from the Ivory Coast.

Certainly though, Scam-o-rama gets my two thumbs up. Very good reading.



Simon, 2006.05.15 (Mon) 19:25 [Link] »

I guess they work on percentages - there's bound to be someone stupid/religious enough to buy their bs.



The Two Percent Company, 2006.05.16 (Tue) 16:01 [Link] »

Yeah, we dabbled in scam-baiting for a brief time, but when we saw how far it can be taken, it both impressed us, and discouraged us from continuing. Now we just read about the full-time baiters, and get a good laugh.




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