The sad case of a psychotherapist duped by the Nigerian e-mail scam

Fascinating story from the New Yorker. (via

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  • Gasman

    What’s curious is that the mark is willing to admit his participation. This Christian psychotherapist (whatever that means compared to a plain old psychotherapist) wanted to get in on the ill gotten booty. The con artist freely admitted that the 57 million was stolen and being diverted for his personal gain. This scheme is just a variation on the pigeon drop con.

    So this guy is nothing but a crook himself who managed to find some means of justifying his participation in the criminal venture.

    The cons that work the best are those that appeal to the latent criminal instinct in teh mark.

  • diora

    Apparently, the guy is still hoping to get something. He needs a shrink. Oh, wait …

    The Nigerian scam is
    hardly new
    . Not all of them ention stolen money, some are about a poor widow of some disposed ruler.

    I’ve always been amazed that there are people who fall for it.

  • Anonymous

    I got a check from Canada a few weeks ago with a letter stating that I won some lottery. They sent me a 5000$ check so that I can pay nonresident taxes…bla, bla, bla… You could swear it was a real check but I never play so I knew it was phony. I called the police and gave them a copy, offered to help with the investigation, police said “yes, we will let you know”… did not hear from them since. a week ago I got another letter, different company and bank, same scam.

  • Anonymous

    12:06, My DIL also just received a check from some place in Canada. her’s was for 4800.00 and stated she had won some lottery. This check looked like the real deal. Her instructions wer to deposit the check, keep 2,000.00 for herself and “TODAY” wire them 2800.00 for some taxes of some sort. Then they would send her another check for 48,000.00…

    It’s crazy…She was going to do it! I said don’t you know this is a scam to get your 2800.00 “today” and then this check for 4800.00 will bounce tomorrow. This was a real check. The bank deposited it into her account but we know it will bounce.

  • Anonymous

    My elderly father was targeted by two ‘lottery’ scams, one from Vancouver and one from Montreal. He honestly thought he had won $50,000. Worse yet, he gave the scammers his credit card number, whereupon they charged $10,000 to his card. Bank of American refused to cancel the charges.

    This is what I did: I called the police in Vancouver, BC. They had me call the Royal Canadian Mounted Police there. An inspector took down all my information, then told me to call the SEC in Seattle to report the scam. The woman there did take all the info, then told me to file a complaint with the US Treasury dept about Bank of America. 3 weeks later, the bank got very cooperative, and drop the $10,000 charge, plus I got an apology.

    2 months later, an FBI agent called me; he wanted to take a deposition from my father. However, Dad was too confused to do this, so we weren’t able to help the FBI, though I was still pleased that they had called.

    Meanwhile, Dad got targeted again by a scam from Montreal. I called the police there, and got through to an inspector named Claudine. Thankfully, she spent 10 min on the phone with my Dad, and explained that this was all a scam. Luckily, he believed her.

    Several years ago, 60 Minutes did a segment about these Canadian scams. They’ve made millions off of unsuspecting Americans. A lot of the money goes to organized crime.

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