8. People Lose Big Money In These Scams
You may be thinking that nobody could fall for something as crude as an advance-fee scam. I mean, how obvious could it be? You shouldn’t ever send money to someone that you don’t know, even if that person does claim to be Nigerian royalty. Especially if that person claims to be Nigerian royalty! However, there is a perfect reason why people continue to send those scams out: they work. People do fall for them — many people. Also, when they do, they fall hard. In fact, the average person who falls for one of these scams loses $2,000!
To make matters worse, people tend to do more, not less, for someone that they have already done something for. For example, if you held the door open for someone, you are more, not less, likely to help that person out again. What this means in the Nigerian prince scam is that if someone has already “helped” a “prince,” he or she is more likely to send more “help” in the future. Averages in the United States and United Kingdoms put average yearly losses to scams anywhere between 100 million or as much as several billion. Throughout the 20th century, it seems inevitable that many billions have been lost worldwide to scammers. It is unknown how much was lost to scams like the Spanish Prisoner or Reign of Terror scams, but likely a great deal to the plausibility of the scam in those eras.