Okay, you know the “Nigerian Prince” email scam? This is where someone says “I have a ton of money and I need your help transferring it out of the country and we’ll split the money, but I just need your help with the transfer fees.” Wikipedia calls it an “advanced-fee scam” and this one has been around as long as email – every spam blocker in the world recognizes it and I’m surprised these email messages make it into anyone’s inbox by now.

Anyway, apparently someone out there is responding to these emails. I see these calls coming from Africa, which implies the calls are hitting my bots directly, or they’re being forwarded through a telephone system and the original caller-id is passed through. Either way, I don’t think the person doing this is aware that it is working.

Based upon these calls, the emails say something like this:


I was at the Moneygram office this morning and I have sent you the money as requested.

I do not want to send the Moneygram reference number over email, so call me and I will
give you the reference number over the phone.

And then they give out the number for a Jolly Roger bot.

So this call is from one of these scammers. Actually, I feel kinda bad for these guys. They’re stuck in a small town somewhere in Africa (Benin Republic in this case) with nothing but an internet cafe and a Moneygram branch. There’s pretty much nothing else to do than send emails to the world hoping to get a couple hundred bucks here and there. Actually, I think their chances would be better if they just begged for money.

So strictly speaking, these guys are not telemarketers, and I never intended to “hook” them with this telemarketer bot. However, I found it fascinating and wanted to share at least one of these calls with you. Perhaps someday there will be a convention of Nigerian Princes and they’ll all sit around and say “whenever we call people, we just get bots. I guess we’ll have to stop this scam.”

Please enjoy this call and get a sense of the potential here. He doesn’t really get mad, and he struggles with the bot the whole time. Like I say, you almost feel sorry for all these voices crying out for your money. Although, I’m probably the only person who can hear them right now. I have hundreds of these and they’re all pretty much the same. “What’s the Moneygram reference number? Hello?”

Again, my telephone system is seeing the original caller-id from Africa, so I think these are being called or forwarded directly to my bots and the person doing it may not even be aware that it’s working. If this is you, send me a note or message me – I’d love to hear your story. I’m not sure if there’s any point in publishing more of these. Let me know if you find them interesting. Do you want to stop this scam? Should I deploy bots to suck the time and prepaid telephone minutes from these guys?

Thank you for listening!