It's sad to report that amid all the merriment to be had at the expense of Nigerian 419 fraudsters and their improbable tales of MARIAM ABACHA, Congolese banks stuffed with illicit loot and other entertaining yarns concerning riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice, there are all too real people ready and willing to believe the Lads from Lagos.
Try this email, which arrived this morning at Vulture Central:
My father is a preacher in India and our family is affected so much because of this 419 fraud. My dad sent about 50,000 dollars to south africa expecting a lumpsum of money. He borrowed lots of money from his friends promising them to pay them back 4 times greater they lend. He even went to Gambia with his freinds to pay another 20,000 dollars and the guy in gambia said he will transfer millions to my dads indian bank account which never happened. he is not even in contact. Now all the people who lent him money are not beleiving what my dad is saying and we dont have any other way except to suicide. could you please suggest us what step we have to take now. My dad gave post dated cheques to all the people who lent us money and they are all thinking to file a case against him. All my dads reputation is going to be ruined now. we dont know what to do. we are 4 children for our dad and he is really in trouble now. could you please help in this regard with your suggestions.
You will save all the lives in our family if you could help us.
thanking you very much
Awaiting your reply.
Yours sincerely, [name supplied]
For the record, we've advised our correspondent that his father must go to the police and give them the full story. While the authorities will not be able to recover his money, and may well be less than impressed with his involvement in this illegal activity, they might at least be able to convince his creditors of the legitimacy of his story and buy some breathing space.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot else we can say. ®