I began my hopeful journey this morning "to try and capture the bad guys in the act" with a query to one of Houston's local investigative television reporters.
While I was waiting for her to get back to me, I took some time to locate other investigative agencies, including the State Attorney General's office and the FBI.
What I found is disheartening, to say the least, but it's the truth.
First, tho, I'd like to share with you her response, which came perhaps an hour later. Here it is, verbatim ... ...
Thanks for contacting me. Yes, the email you received is a common one, and it is, indeed, a scam. Unfortunately, these types of scams are so numerous, we could fill our newscasts with stories on nothing but these scams and still not be able to cover them all. I'm very glad and relieved to hear you recognized it for what it was and did not become a victim.
What to do? The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a good place to start. The FBI teams up with other crime-fighting agencies to take reports, such as yours, and get them to the appropriate agencies so that, when possible, the bad guys can be prosecuted. If there is no victim, and no financial loss, it is unlikely there will be prosecution, but there will be warnings posted for others to help prevent these scam artists from claiming new victims. The State Attorney General's Office probably wouldn't be able to help, in this case, as the scammers are not likely from Texas or even the U.S. Many of these scam rings originate, as you know, in Nigeria. The Internet has been a useful tool for both good guys and bad guys, I'm afraid.
Please refer your readers to the ICCC, and thank you for being so vigilant about scammers like those who send you that e-mail. Getting the word out is the best way to stop these criminals.
Since then, she has sent me another e-mail, commending my 'detective' efforts and recounting a couple of stories where people with much more monies available than I had tried to track down these thieves to no avail.
More later, if and when. Meanwhile, keep your noses sniffing!