UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION INTO EMAIL SCAMS�
BRIAN ROSS REPORTS ON �20/20,� FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, ON ABC
Plus: A Father Fighting for a Paternity Test � The Man Who Says
He�s The Father of Anna Nicole Smith�s New Baby Girl;
And John Stossel�s �Give Me a Break�: Who Can and Can�t Feed the Needy
We�ve all received the emails � �You�ve won the lottery� or �A distant relative has left you a huge inheritance.� There are hundreds of variations, some outrageous � like the one from the Nigerian astronaut stuck in space, or from the Crocodile Hunter's grieving widow. These scams all promise the recipient an unexpected windfall of millions in exchange for just several thousand dollars paid upfront for �processing fees� or some other bogus reason. The millions never materialize, of course, but not before the unlucky victims have already shelled out their money.
A three-month ABC News investigation led by Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross exposes these con artists, mostly from Nigeria, who are preying on millions of Americans and pocketing billions of dollars in the process. The investigation will air on 20/20� on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Ross traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, the capital of these highly lucrative email and postal scams. �20/20� discovered that many of the scam artists have built huge fortunes and are living in lavish mansions off the proceeds of the fraud. A hit music video in Nigeria actually celebrates the con artists as modern-day Robin Hoods and mocks Americans as �mugus� � slang for �big fools.�
These master conmen are rarely caught and prosecuted. However, Brian Ross was able to turn the tables on the con artists, catching them red-handed as they tried to rip his team off for thousands of dollars. Stunning undercover footage reveals what happens when the scammers realize they�ve been caught in the act. In addition, Ross interviews several people who have been swindled, as well as the con artists themselves.
Plus: Deborah Roberts reports on one man�s fight to get custody of a new baby girl. Photographer Larry Birkhead insists he is the father of the baby Anna Nicole Smith delivered in the Bahamas this summer. Smith denies he is the father. Birkhead tells �20/20� about how he met Smith, their relationship, her alleged drug use, and his fight to establish parental rights.
And: It is the season of giving, and a lot of people want to give by cooking meals for the less fortunate. But wait, that�s not safe, says Fairfax County, VA Health Department � it�s even illegal. Why? You need to follow hundreds of pages of regulations, including a mandatory license to serve food. Many churches were outraged by the health inspector�s laundry list of rules, and once the bureaucrats got bad publicity, they rescinded the ban. That�s the exception. John Stossel says �Give Me a Break.�
�20/20� is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is executive producer.