Recognizing our credit crunch, Nigerian scammers have come up with a new way to swindle. They're now posing as bankers offering loans at a 2 percent interest rate.
See also: A decade of deceit.
If you think that rate is unbelievable, the loan process is even more so.
Reply to emails or website advertisements for Evdo Financing Corp., Merlin Leo Loans and other operations, and you'll immediately receive an application form asking for your name, address, age, monthly income, phone numbers and marital status.
When I replied using a fake identity as a 72-year-old widow with a monthly income of $1,750, it took less than one hour to get approval from the "board of directors" for a $23,000 loan — with no credit check or bank account required.
Apparently, the board just happened to be meeting at 1 a.m. Malaysia time, where Evdo is supposedly located. The news was conveyed to me by emails carrying the name of the surely equally imaginary CEO Dr. Walt Siemsen.
It's the latest form of the infamous "Nigerian letter," in which the writer pretended to be or to represent a deposed monarch or wealthy businessman, and offered you big money for help in moving a fortune out of Africa and into the safe haven of your bank account.