Could it be true? A rich Nigerian secretly stuck in spaced for 14 years needs a bit of cash to get home, making you rich in the process? No.
Okay, so we can’t entertain it, but the following e-mail has been doing the rounds on the web:
“Dear Mr. Sir,
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE-STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. 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. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $ 3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.”
Well, give them credit – if you’re going to go, go hard or go home. The scam e-mail is asking people for the not-so-paltry investment of three million dollars promising a return of five times that.
Everyone has heard of the classic ‘Nigerian Prince’ advance-fee scam that has done the rounds of millions of e-mail boxes yearly, but here’s a thought – why do these scams still go around? The astonishing fact is, people do actually still fall for them.
While have claimed the e-mail is too bizarre to be a real scam attempt, others have mulled the possibility of it being some viral marketing for Matt Damon’s new film where he inevitably gets stranded in space again.
Either that, or there is a very desperate and sad Major Tunde floating up there.