with a Nigerian Bank Scammer
h, the famous Nigerian Bank Scam. One can hardly be on the Internet these days with a Hotmail or Yahoo mail address and not get about two or three of these a week. If you've not gotten one, you might have heard of it. If not, let me bring you up to speed. It's a classic confidence scam.
an email explaining your name was given to the sender by an associate of a
business associate. He's vouched for you as someone trustworthy. And not just
trustworthy. Oh gosh, your existence is practically proof of the Divine
Creator's hand in human affairs, since only God could have created someone as
perfect for the task at hand. That task is to allow a gang of crooks to rob
you blind. Oh wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. No, no, the task at hand is
for you to help some former Nigerian general, a Zimbabwean farmer, or some
scion of a deposed and nominally dead African politician spirit between
$25-$40 million out of their corrupt land and deposit into a bank account in
Amsterdam. You will travel to Amsterdam, you will open the bank
account, and for your troubles, you will be given anywhere between
10%-25%. You will, of course, never see that money. You might never
see the light of day again.
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When you get to Amsterdam, you're scammed out of $20,000 - $50,000. See, before the Amsterdam bank can release the funds, some hefty fee or tax must be paid. Paid by you. The fee might be small at first but then there's another fee. And another fee. Each time you think you're about to attain the booty they try to milk you for more. Even vastly stupid people get a clue at some point. That might not save you, however. If their greed has not been satiated, they'll kidnap you. They might even murder you. It's happened before.
Alternatively, you're brought to Nigeria or some other African country. Because secrecy is paramount, you agree to travel there illegally. All the arrangements have been made, of course, to get you through customs. However, being in the country illegally gives them considerable leverage. What say they turn you in? Ever been in a Nigerian jail, Billy? You're more than happy to cough up their blackmail money to get your sorry ass back to Jersey.
What's really sad about all of this, is people actually fall for it. Or they used to. Or they still do. One is forced to wonder how the scammers can actually make a buck with this scam anymore. Suppose you are in negotiation with the wife of the former Prince Stelco Mowgli to help her move $30 million in gold to a warehouse in Amsterdam. A once-in-a-life-time opportunity, you'd be thinking. And then you receive an eerily similar email from the former General Domtar Baloo who is in Chad with a pile of cashier's checks totaling $26 million and he needs a Western passport holder to sign for it. Hrm... odd. But wait. A day later you get another email from the Right Honorable Sir Dofasco Hathi Esq., QED, MD, CPA, SJ. He's been a bad boy. When no one was looking too hard, funds from a natural gas pipeline paid for by UNESCO went into his personal bank account. Oh dear. Now if he could just find a trusted person in North America to pretend to be the president of an Alaskan energy concern and sign a contract to receive the $32 million, why that person would be justly rewarded.
Wouldn't you begin to wonder how you became known as the great white hope of every deposed potentate in Africa?
For a while I used to ignore these emails but they became increasingly common. Alas, when I can no longer ignore something, I must make fun of it.
I've long had this theory on how to deal with those rude, friendless people that corner you in a coffee shop or on an airplane and they just ramble about their life without giving you a chance to even comment beyond "oh yeah, huh". What you do is the second they pause to sip their coffee or wipe the sweat off their brow, you seize the moment of silence and begin to ramble back at them. Recount your own life starting from age 2. And don't stop. And don't gloss over the cardinal point in your life when you learned to masturbate. You'll find this rambling not only cathartic but pretty soon they'll start to make excuses why they have to "hit the road" or go back to economy class.
My Conversations with a Nigerian Bank Scammer, then, is my attempt to ramble back. I'm not a 50-something thrice-divorced former owner of a bowling alley. But I could be, one day. I've found it fun to create an odd, conspiracy-minded, bitter persona and develop said character's life history by riffing to the poorly worded emails of the bank scammers. Naturally, wasting a Nigerian bank scammer's time and getting a Nigerian bank scammers hopes up makes it all the more worth it.
It all began with Marco...