Suppose that one phones you and states that they have a Nigerian princes inheritance which they would like to arrange to send to you.

Or that they would like to donate some money to your organisation or work.

In either case the true purpose is to create a candid camera video for the purpose of mocking and deriding you.

You travel across town and spend your time meeting them to discuss the particulars before finding out that the entire thing was a ruse.

Because the proposal was of a gift then there may be said that there was no “consideration,” but how does this factor with the fact that you are in fact measurably worse off (as for a tube fare and an afternoon of your time) for the antic being a ruse?

Does this aspect of it render the act more of a civil wrong or even a crime?

  • 1
    I don't think you can ever meet a guy from the nigerian connection in person. That would be much to risky for them.
    – PMF
    Mar 13, 2023 at 7:23
  • Seeing how a lot of companies organize what they call 'customer service' I would assume the answer to your question is no.
    – quarague
    Mar 13, 2023 at 9:58
  • @quarague You mean the "customer service" that is actually running an ad campaign or the "customer service" that has no clue whatsoever? SCNR...
    – PMF
    Mar 13, 2023 at 10:42

1 Answer 1


Depending on who said what, it may be attempted fraud. This would not exactly punish the wasted time, it would punish the attempt to do something more serious. Just how a legal system deals with unsuccessful attempts of a crime can be interesting in theory and practice -- can anyone prove that the Nigerian prince planned to follow up with a fraud, or could he claim that he was just boasting to inflate his ego?

§263 StGB

(1) A person who [...] misleads another person by making false claims [...] for the own [...] financial advantage [...] shall be punished [...]
(2) The attempt is punishable.
(My translation, reordering parts of the first section to create readable English.)

  • Okay but the question is mainly concerned with the aspect of the wasted time, as in the linked scenario. Mar 13, 2023 at 19:15
  • @Seekinganswers, not a crime to start business negotiations which never get anywhere, in most jurisdictions ...
    – o.m.
    Mar 13, 2023 at 20:06
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    I have no doubt that that is true, provided that they are entered in good faith. But the dishonesty factor as is so important in questions of fraud is what’s in question here. Mar 13, 2023 at 20:51

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