Why Nigerian scammers say they are from Nigeria

The other day I read an interesting paper titled Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria? published by Microsoft Research (!). It immediately caught my interest and, to make it short, the outcome is pretty interesting.

Although I have to say that it's worth reading the 14-pages paper that takes on a scientific approach on the question, the TLDR version of it is quite interesting.

In a nutshell, if you make the scam too sophisticated and apply it to a broad set of potential victims, you also get to deal with people who are more suspicious than others. In a scam aimed at many people, the focus is on engaging only with those most likely to fall for it.

To put it in other words, if someone fell for the story in the first place and responds to an email from a Nigerian prince, this person is less likely to drop off in the process, because they didn't get suspicious in the first place.

I find this absolutely astounding. I mean, where else can this be applied?

One area where this principle might also apply is dating. If you have a potential partner at hand, you may be upfront and honest about your little quirks rather than trying to hide them until the very last moment when your ace of hearts might say goodbye.

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