If you didn’t fall for the one about a Nigerian prince needing help transferring his money, perhaps you’d be willing to instead help a lost-in-space Nigerian astronaut whose vast fortune is up for grabs?
If it wasn’t criminal, the latest online con would be laughable.
In a scam e-mail recently sent to British website Anorak, the writer begs for help to access his cousin’s accumulated salary for the 25 years he’s been trapped in outer space.
What happened, Dr. Bakare Tunde explains in the e-mail, is cousin Abacha was sent to space in “secret” in 1989. When the rest of Abacha’s comrades went home a few months later, after the fall of the Soviet Union, “his place was taken up by return cargo.”
Packages have been sent into the cosmos to keep Abacha alive for the past 25 years, but he really wants to come home, says the cousin, who also happens to be the “astronautics project manager” of the country’s space agency. (Yes, Nigeria actually does have a space agency. This much is true.)
In the meantime, Abacha’s salary has accumulated to US$15 million. And it’s all been held in trust until his return — which you, dear reader, could help fund for the low-low cost of $3,000.
The letter has gone viral, with many decrying it as a parody.
But others have pointed out the e-mail scam has been bouncing around for at least five years now.