The Register says that Nigerian scammers are getting run out of town by vigilant ISPs and greater user awareness. The article points to how scammers are having to use more obscure free email addresses — Elvis.com, Irangate.com, Handbag.com, for example — to avoid getting shut down before they can reach their target audience.
They’re also trying new angles, the article says: One recent one actually highlights the Nigerian Scam but says such scams are only giving the legitimate fund-looting business a bad name. “When they attempt and fail, the world hears in the news as Nigeria fraud/scam, but when they succeed, nobody or newspapers writes it,” the email says. I kinda like that approach: ‘There are legitimate scams out there, and you’re an idiot if you can’t tell the difference. Oh, and by the way, this one is legit.’
However, there’s an important aspect to this. I have no concrete evidence, but I believe that not a few of these ‘Nigerian’ scammers (not all are Nigeria-based, and some do not involve Africa at all) are linked to the more sophisticated scams we’re seeing nowadays, including phishing. In recent weeks I’ve received scams related to the latter sent to unique email addresses I’ve received only Nigerian scam emails from before (and never pure spam). I suspect this might indicate that, at the very least, these groups are sharing their email lists. But it could be more.
Nigerian scammers aren’t dying off. They’re mutating.