Nigerian email scams might be an internet joke of the past thanks to this week’s real-life bust.
A 40-year old man in Nigeria known only as “Mike” was just arrested for his role in running a scam email network.
According to Interpol, Mike oversaw a team of 40 individuals who participated in thousands of different email rackets worth more than $60 million. Additionally, Mike’s team headed up a money-laundering network in China, Europe and the U.S.
According to the BBC, the Nigerian scammer used a variety of different tricks to con people out of their money, from the high-tech (malware that hijacked people’s computers) to the decidedly low-tech (“romance scams").
"In one case, a target was conned into paying out $15.4 million," Interpol said in a statement.
While “Nigerian email scams” seem antiquated, their surprisingly continued success stems from sheer dedication. If the scammers send out thousands of requests for money — a rather inexpensive ask on their end — they only need a very small response rate to make a profit.