In 2001, I planned to move to a new town in Connecticut. I put my house up for sale, but it sat there, unsold in the recession, for over a year. Not a nibble, even after I dropped the price and made some improvements.
Then one day, my realtor called with some astonishing news. “You’ve got a full-price offer!” she said. “And get this: The buyer doesn’t need an inspection, she’s paying cash, and she wants to close at the end of this week!”
OK, what? She didn’t need a mortgage? She didn’t want to negotiate?
Well, whatever. I showed up at the closing—but the buyer herself was absent.
Her lawyer was deeply apologetic. “She just called; she’s in tears. She won’t be buying your house after all. She just keeps saying, ‘The Nigerian man promised that I’d have the money by today!’”
Oh come on. Really? There’s one person left in America who fell for the old Nigerian email scam?
No, not one person—a lot of people. Internet scams are still a huge business. We sent Internet scammers $13 billion last year, and our gullibility shows no signs of abating.