How could anyone not feel an overwhelming sense of inspiration after seeing the lengths the characters in The Martian went to so that Mark Watney (Matt Damon) could come home safe and sound. We as human beings have an underlying drive to help those in need, so it’s no surprise that we can all put ourselves in that situation and say “YES! Let’s do whatever we can to get that person back here.” Well it’s just that sort of thing that some e-mail scammers are counting on.
This time around they’ve updated their pitch from the ol “You’re related to a prince” to the completely believable “We need three million dollars to bring a stranded astronaut home.”
According to UK site Anorak (a slang term for nerd or geek), they’ve received a rather urgent email from the cousin of a Nigerian Astronaut who has been stranded in space and missing rides back to Earth for years. The email claims that Air Force Major Abacha Tunde was the first African in space and was stranded on a clandestine soviet space station after the USSR dissolved in the 90s. Since then, Major Tunde has been accruing a great deal of what we’re now calling “space pay,” and will share it with those who help him return home. The reason that his cousin can’t personally help is where the normal e-mail scam rigmarole comes into play.
It’s almost admirable to see any sort of update to the normal email scams we’re warned about, but this one is quite a reach. Though, credit where credit is due, the email does mention some real soviet space programs (Salyut and Soyuz TM-16), but the scammers seem to be hoping that no unsuspecting victims know how to Google something before jumping at the chance to help.
It’s really a shame how we’ve all forgotten about that one astronaut who’s been in space for almost 30 years. We all should chip in to raise that three million to get Major Tunde home. You know what, I think I’ll lead the way on this one. Please tweet to @TheBlakeRodgers with appropriate bank routing information. [Editors Note: Do not do that.]