The Nigerian Prince and the Valley Girl

The 419 Scam is now passe.

Tech

Corrections Appended: July 15, 2013

You never forget your first Nigerian Prince. From the desk of a barrister named Art Vandewald, His Royal Highness himself has sent you, of all people, a distress e-mail, urging you to send help in the form of a nominal bank wire. You’re his last and only hope, and in return for that kindness, he’ll reward you handsomely… when he surely gets out of his temporary bind.

In the early days of the Internet, hapless princes all seemed to have secret fortunes, but the Nigerian variant was the wealthiest and most generous of all. Of course, he was nothing more than the latest incarnation of a century’s old scam, one that had circled the world and back, but he was effective because he preyed on one of our greatest weaknesses: greed.

But he’s losing his charms.

The technology that once brought him to life is…

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