SCAMS

There’s No Nigerian Man Trapped in Space So Don’t Give Anyone Your Bank Account

There's nothing quite like good, old-fashioned bank fraud.
 There’s No Nigerian Man Trapped in Space So Dont Give Anyone Your Bank Account

Ground control to Major Tunde. (Photo: Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr;images courtesy TASS and NASA)

When was the last time you saw a good, old-fashioned Nigerian scam email? Well, it appears that a classic is making the rounds once more. No longer will mere banking-related slight of hand do the trick. Now, as VentureBeat reports, the scammers must invoke the Soviet space program.

The email at issue actually dates from 2004, but it’s recently resurfaced. The letter revolves around the sorry tale of Nigerian Air Force Major Abacha Tunde, purportedly stranded in outer space for a decade and a half:

He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.

In the 14-years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars.

Naturally, paying the Russians to rescue Major Tunde requires access to that money, and naturally, they’re asking that you kindly make your bank account available–in exchange for a fee, of course.

Look, compassion is a wonderful thing. But if you actually attempt to help to rescue a Nigerian man from outer space, well, all we can do is direct you to P.T. Barnum’s wisdom regarding the birth rate of suckers.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com