Why do “Nigerian” scammers say they’re from Nigeria? After all, if you were running a widely known scam, wouldn’t you vary the details so you had a better chance of fooling a wider audience?
Probably not. In an interesting paper published by Microsoft Research, Cormac Herley argues that the ridiculous claims of receiving some African riches from a stranger on the internet actually helps the scammers. Because only the most gullible people are likely to respond, the scammers waste as little time as possible on those least likely to be taken.
The entire paper is pretty technical, but very interesting.