Since the popularization of the Internet, dozens of wealthy Nigerian potentates have sought the assistance of ordinary, middle-class, preferably elderly Americans in wiring money from their homeland in exchange for a hefty transfer fee.
And to think, all it took was a few rotten apples who scammed thousands of people out of their savings to ruin everything for all the honest widows of major oil industrialists and sons of generals, who just wanted to wire Mr. and Mrs. Heickman of Denton, Texas a few million dollars in exchange for a bank routing number and a Social Security card.
As they say in Texas, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice — won't get fooled again, unless the scam has a slight twist…
The criminals have been marching across the country, making their way from state to state, persuading victims that a special federal government assistance program — sometimes described as a bailout authorized by President Barack Obama's administration — is available to pay their utility bills. Victims are given bank account and routing numbers to use when paying their bills online, but only after they "register" by surrendering their Social Security numbers and other personal information.
There is no such utility payment assistance program. But electricity users seem to be falling for the ruse everywhere, making it in one of the more successful scams in recent times.
It's ironic that after so much time spent characterizing the president as a Kenyan socialist, thousands of Americans would instead believe that Obama was a Nigerian prince offering to pay their electric bill.
Also unclear is who's behind the scam. But considering the gap between Obama and Mitt Romney's fundraising, the team in Chicago has to be under some scrutiny. After all, Obama did promise to help millions of Americans pay their mortgages. And how did that turn out?
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Barack Obama, Money, Nigeria