Friday, November 20, 2009

View From the Phlipside - Nigerian Scams

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

Sometimes you come across a story that just makes you smile. A story that you realize you've been waiting for, hoping for but never dreaming that you would ever see it come true. And yet here it is, in black and white, Project Eagle Claw has been launched and is making some in roads on one of the great annoyances (for most of us) or online problems (for a few of us) out there.

What's Project Eagle Claw you ask? Project Eagle Claw is an ongoing effort by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to shut down Nigerian based e-mail scammers. Yes, it's really true. The Nigerian government reports that in just the first couple months of the program they've shut down close to a thousand web sites and have made 18 arrests. And that's with the project really just getting under way. Nigeria is working with Microsoft and hopes to have Project Eagle Claw running full speed sometime next year. The announcement was made here in the U.S. in the last 30 days.

It seems Nigeria is tired of being the butt of international jokes. They are tired of being best known at this point in their history as the home of scum bag scammers who rip off people for their life's savings. It's bad for the national image and bad for business. We may consider the Nigerian scams a joke but in reality they are anything but a joke. The toll in just the last few years is measured in millions of dollars and some of the scams have been sophisticated enough to nearly drag even some banks into them.

And Nigeria is tired of it. So the new program, which should be fully online before the middle of next year, is expected to nail up to five thousand scam emails a DAY and will be able to warn people who might receive them that the Nigerian government has doubts about the origin of them. It's not as if the Nigerians hadn't been trying before. The problem was the old system was slow and simply couldn't keep up with the rapidly changing digital environment. Nigeria is currently in the top ten for countries associated with internet fraud. By making the business environment a whole lot tougher for the scammers they hope to drop out of that particular elite. Now THAT'S a Nigerian offer I'd be willing to take.

Call that the view from the Phlipside

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