Friday, 18 March 2011

Nigeria: Responding to Dan Primack's Atrocious Stereotype

Also previously published at NigeriansTalk.org with the same title.

Taking the hatchet to the hack

Very little upsets me but what cannot be countenanced is mediocrity masquerading as professionalism where clichés are allowed to get in the way of expected originality and the package does not contain what it says on the box.

In that sense you realise you have been scammed, swindled, defrauded and outwitted by a hoodlum, you could forgive yourself for being that silly but hoodlums with pens writing for popular magazines are dangerous and outrageously atrocious at best.

In my Twitter timeline I came across a number of exchanges that pertained to the pejorative use of Nigerian with the word Scam and a version 2.0 as if it was describing a more sophisticated scam that had emerged out of Nigeria and had been noticed by a hack writing for the National Enquirer or some sensationalist village rag until my search found that he wrote for Fortune.com.

The label and contents differ

There is definitely no reason for me to read Dan Primack’s Term Sheet apart from probably to redline it and award a fail but this perked my interest, Nigerian scam 2.0: Would you like to buy some Facebook shares? [1] and naturally, it was worth reading up on because I have written a few blogs on how social engineering is used to scam people.

Beyond the title, I could find nothing within the text of the published material that referred to Nigeria; in fact, it was in the comments that followed that the author tried to project a rotten stereotype that would make similar rotten and lazy epithets as Muslim Terrorists or Gay Paedophile sound tame.

We know Muslims in general are not terrorists and probably on a larger scale terrorist is a broader global thing hardly defined by religion, just as paedophiles are not necessarily gay and it probably covers all sexualities of adults abusing children – in the same vein, whilst scams might have come out of Nigeria, most scams are hardly Nigerian in origin despite the unfair slant of the media in castigating groups for the benefit of the subjective and sensational.

Link to link, story to story

The hack referenced two articles in his absurd copy, an Investor Alert [2] send out by the SEC and a Judgement Order [3] in favour of the SEC.

This little piece of analysis lead me down a rabbit’s warren of more references related to something completely contrary to the title and not one mention of Nigeria in the following articles.

Randy M. Cho according to the judgement order had been at his pre-IPO scamming business since 2001 where he had fleeced “at least $3.7 million from at least 45 investors in four states.” For the record, the states are geographical entities within the United States of America and these were about “expected initial public offerings of those companies, including Centerpoint, AOL/Time Warner, Inc., Google, Inc., Facebook, Inc. and Rosetta Stone, Inc.

Searching for the remotest Nigerian

In the Investor Alert, we have more URLs that I also reviewed for anything that might remotely refer to Nigeria in the slightest.

FINRA Investor Alert: "Pre-IPO Offerings – These Scammers Are Not Your Friends"

The references are about the judgement obtained against Randy M. Cho whose name bears no resemblance to even uncommon Nigerian names and it even suggests you check the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator just in case you are being conned by a criminal but this is within the extents of the United States.

Risky Business: “Pre-IPO” Investing

The helpful authorities then offered an example of a pre-IPO scam featuring a McWhortle Enterprises, Inc. which is based in the large premises of a private mail bag in Washington DC.

For someone who provides “The latest on private equity, M&A, deals and movements — from Wall Street to Silicon Valley”; his byline, one would have expected he would be informative about these scams and at least help people identify if they are being scammed but that would be too much work for a bottom-feeder of yellow journalism whose sensationalist copy sadly belittles those who accept his stuff with any sense of seriousness.

The failure to inform

The links below would have allowed the hack to ascend the steps of mediocrity to a semblance of amateur, it would be effusive praise to suggest professional.

Questions You Should Ask About Your Investments

Internet Fraud

FINRA - FINRA Warns of Facebook-Linked Pre-IPO Scams

How I wish Facebook were a Nigerian company creating such excitement for pre-IPO offerings that make fools part with their money at the sound of something almost too good to be true.

FINRA - Fighting Fraud 101: Smart Tips for Older Investors

Amazingly, even in this well written piece to the seniors, not one mention is made of Nigerians, rather, it simply asks that people note certain traits and characteristics because there are honest Nigerians who are involved in the financial markets, doing a job and helping their clients make good money in a marketplace that is properly regulated by the financial authorities anywhere they might be operating from.

Not anymore

A slight like this must not go unchallenged, only Dan Primack links pre-IPO scams to Nigerians, the Wikipedia reference to Nigerian Scams does not once link this activity to IPOs, the link is tenuous, contrived, lazy, atrocious, stupid and without foundation.

It goes without say that any advice that comes from the likes of Dan Primack should be taken with a pinch of salt or even a spoon of salt and immediately spat out as fantasy presaging possible fraud if he cannot apply himself to expected research and analysis required of people who have a platform like he has.

Nigerians are just not going to roll over and be kicked about by such people anymore; you picked the wrong kind of stereotype to push your irresponsible tripe.

Sources

[1] Nigerian scam 2.0: Would you like to buy some Facebook shares? - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog

[2] Investor Alert: Pre-IPO Investment Scams

[3] Randy M. Cho: SEC v. Randy M. Cho, Civil Action No. 09-CV-6261 (USDC) (N.D.Ill.)

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