December 04, 2010

Out of Africa...

They are as desperate as they are formulaic, and with the growth of the Internet, the so-called “Nigerian letters” have grown from being an occasional curiosity to a relentless, disgusting plaque.

Under the subject line “Urgent and Confidential,” these scams usually open with, “ I am in search of a reputable person to assist me with an urgent business matter.” And they go on to explain that some important government official has died and that there is a need to remove a large amount of money from the country before other officials seize it. “Any help you will provide in this effort,” it goes on, “will be repaid with a large percentage of the money.”

While the ubiquity of these fraud e-mails should undermine their effectiveness, somehow they persist. So, when a dear old gullible friend fell for the swindle, and when I found out about it, I decided it was time to turn the tables. After a few hours of Internet research, isn’t it great, I found this inspiring and entertaining site called “Sweet Chillie Sauce” (the Nigerians, #18 inspired me).

At the next urgent ‘request for funds’ I replied. I told them that I was a good friend and wanted to find out more about the transaction. I got a half-baked explanation about the origin of the money. I decided to add some implausible features to my own story. With each fake tax form and lawyer’s bill that was sent to justify the need for ‘small’ amounts of money, I replied with my own fake agenda. Isn’t PhotoShop marvelous? I responded as Donna Quixote mirroring their florid prose. “I do not now if I can help you but I do take pride in supporting worthy quests,” I wrote. “I am a country gentlewoman, no longer young.”

I always sprinkled direct passages from Cervantes’ classic work and the communications quickly culminated in a request that Ms. Quixote come to visit in X, to finalize the deal.

Ms. Q. agreed to the request. First, Ms. Q. explained that she would need to travel with others, her faithful servant Sancho Panza, and Lady Dulcinea.

All are welcome was the response.

Next Ms. Q. wrote that there was a problem with the flight the airline was unwilling to board the horse.

”If your airline does not want to carry your horse, don’t worry,” was the reply, “we are going to hire one for you”.

Many e-mails and much planning later, we finally spoke on the phone. It was noted that I sounded young for my age. I could not pass up the opportunity to press the limits of credulity; I replied that, in fact, I looked even younger than I sounded because I had received plastic surgery. “I owe my looks to Dr. Polly Urethane, a plastic surgeon in, where else, Beverly Hills, California,” said I .

Finally, after sending our official travel itinerary, Ms. Q. and her entourage set out on their journey. Unfortunately, Ms. Q. ran into problems after she lost her temper in Paris. “French See Red over Attack on Moulin Rouge” ran the headline in the PhotoShop Daily, which Ms. Q’s lawyer sent to explain what happened. The article said that three American tourist had stolen horses from Parisian police officers and charged the famous establishment with baguettes. After being arrested, the three were later released. Eventually, the lawyer wrote, Ms. Q. and her group got back on their way. They flew to Cairo, where they were to proceed overland to their destination.

That’s when the real tragedy struck.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must convey to you the melancholy news, that Ms. Q. has been found dead in the north Sahara,” read the next e-mail from Ms. Q.’s lawyer. Attached was a newspaper article that explained that Ms. Q. had been attacked by a pack of about forty men led by a man named Ali Baba and that Homeland Security and Interpol have been summoned to investigate the matter to its FULLEST extend.

The rest has been silence.

If you wish to perpetrate a “little revenge” here is the website for more inspiration, enjoy.

P.s. to protect the still living crooks, I have omitted our e-mail correspondence. If you are curious, they are almost identical to the correspondence on “Sweet Chilli Sauce”. Be inspired.


Ms. Edna said...

Å ṧωℯℯт ʟїṫṫʟℯ ґ℮ṽ℮ᾔℊℯ ₥üṧḯ¢▪

turned table too said...

click on name for more entertaining news...

planning a little refenge music said...

LOVE the post and the referring site.

"Dr." Branko and his flying machines said...

Would you like me to make some informal visits?

Felix said...

Any banking advise?
Of cource it will take a "little" money up front to commence with our partnership.

cal tech gaggle of fans said...

wonderful tale. and great revenge music. like. very much. thanks.