Microsoft has announced an anti-fraud partnership with Nigeria, the country of origin for some of the Internet's most notorious email scams.
Microsoft, which has been working to improve security and reliability amid an onslaught of malicious software targeting weakness in Windows and other Microsoft software, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday.
The agreement is designed to foster cooperation to combat issues such as spam, phishing, spyware, viruses and counterfeiting.
The email scam, known as a 419 scheme after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code, is a computer age version of a con game that goes back hundreds of years and is sometimes called "The Spanish Prisoner."
Victims are contacted by a stranger who claims to have access to large sums of money. They are told that the money can only be accessed if they disclose the details of their bank account or put up an advance fee, but the promised funds never materialize.
The EFCC said its Advance Fee Fraud Section "is currently investigating hundreds of suspects and prosecuting over 50 cases, involving close to 100 accused persons, in courts throughout Nigeria."
Under terms of the pact, "Microsoft and the EFCC will work together to combat the problem of internet crime through information sharing and training on Microsoft's technical expertise in this area," the parties said.