Well, this diary started when my mom forwarded me a scam email. And I once again find myself receiving scam-spam, this time of the Nigerian money transfer ilk. I'm sure you're familiar with the type:URGENT ATTENTION
I am Dr. Salim Dasuki, Chairman of Contract Award and Verification Panel set up by the Nigeria Ministry of Aviation. I got your contact from the net during my personal search ,after thorough deliberations,my colleagues and I decided to contact you for a very confidential business transaction of mutual benefit.
During our verification exercise, we came across an over-invoiced contract(Contract No: FMA/PED/1473/96). This contract was awarded in July,1996 and completed in August, 1998, and the original contractor has since been paid his contract sum leaving the over-invoiced sum of US$75.5m(Seventy Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) This amount has been left floating in our account with the federation bank, until our recent discovery.
My coleagues and I have decided to seek for the assistance of a reliable foreign partner into whose account the fund will be transferred into for our own use. If this proposal is acceptable to you, a ^”Deed of Transfer^‘ of the above contract will be obtained on your behalf, to empower you as the legal beneficiary of the contract and the sum to be transferred.
Well, given the excitement of my recent correspondance with Blackalicious, I figured I should write back to these folks, especially given that a) They clearly want to talk to me and b) It was funny when Gene Weingarten did it. So, I wrote back:
Salim (can I call you Salim?):
I know that there are many people you could email, and the fact that you have chosen to email only me implies a great degree of confidence in my abilities. However, I am curious how you came across my name -- was it through my work at the National University of Toast Scientists or my position on the board of the Committee to Elect Mel Carnahan for Attorney General?
Regardless, I am indeed reliable, my three indictments for embezzlement notwithstanding. Before I helped you transfer funds though, I would need more information. Why are you having difficulty moving the money? Is it too heavy? If you are with the Ministry of Aviation, why can't you just fly the money out? If this plan would work, I ask only a 5% finder's fee.
I figure they're bound to write back. Of course, I'll be out of the country for most of April, but meanwhile it provides me with something to write about in an otherwise uneventful week. Well, unless you count finishing the Political Science website. Which I don't.-- 3/28
Excerpts from the Nigerian follow-up email, now from a different address:Dear Seth Brown,He also repeatedly asked for my phone number and bank account number. But instead, I helpfully suggest a good place for his money:
Your contact information was received from a search for a business partner. As a matter of fact,we are not allowed by ethics of my ministry to operate a foreign bank account hence I sent you my proposal.
You will be required to come to Nigeria for the signing of the FUND(S) RELEASE ORDER in your favour as the beneficiary of the fund,but if you are not able, you can still appoint an accredited Attorney who will represent you sign on your behalf.
As a matter of fact,this is a life time project and I'm assuring you that you will never regret your involvement with us in this transaction.
We need details of the bank account particulars where you wish to receive the fund, [etc.].
Looking forward to your reply to this effect since we have limited time in this transaction.
Always send your subsequent correspondences to this mail box for security reasons.I strongly believe that you will observe the high level of CONFIDENTIALITY this transaction required because there are some Directors from various ministries whose influence we are backing on for a smooth and successful transfer,besides,our present job does not warrant us to participate in a transaction of this nature but since the BIG WINGS are solidly behind us I believe we do not have any thing to worry about.Sali(can I call you Sali?):
I'm still curious how you found me in a search for business partner. The Committee to Elect Mel Carnahan for Attorney General is a non-profit, so I can only assume that my name came up from my work with the National University of Toast Scientists. But if that's the case, why didn't you contact my boss there, Nick L. Pumper? I haven't mentioned it to him because you asked for confidentiality, but I would think he would have been a more logical choice, because he is much smarter than I am when it comes to business.
However, I still don't understand why you can't just fly the money in. If the "Big Wings" are behind you, couldn't they help you fly the money to America? I have no connections with any Aviation Ministries myself, and I don't really want to fly to Nigeria just to sign something. You might be better off keeping it in a storage station. I don't know the details, but I heard that some big companies are now keeping money in what they call a Monetary Acquisition Territorial Transfer/Reception Easy Storage Station (MAT-T/R-ESS). You might try finding a MAT-T/R-ESS near you to store your money in, if you can't fly it out of the country.
And when you say you aren't allowed by the ethics of your ministry to have a foreign bank account, does that mean that this is somehow illegal? I would not want to break too many laws.
Will there be a part three? Stay tuned!
Update! -- 3/29
I've given up on keeping the page short; here's his full email:Dear Seth Brown,In which I pay tribute to Douglas Adams. Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, anyone?
Thank you for your reply,
Yes I got you through your work at the National University of Toast Scientists.I picked you because I was kind of have the believe in your name,that was the first thing that attracted me and secondly your name sounds like a jewish American.
If you wish to talk your boss into this transaction,you can do so provided he will keep it confidential too but if you are capable to handle this transaction to a logical conclusion,no proble I think we can work it together because my spirit is made for you.
This transaction is 100% legal and 100% risk-free.All I want so far is a good bank account of your where the entire fund will be transfered into(company's account preferably).We are not flying this fund rather we will get all the legal documents that will necessitate the transfer of the fund into any bank account you are going to provide to us by TELEGRAPHIC TRANSFER.
I work with my country's ministry of Aviation,this has nothing to do with flying the fund ok,I was trying to introduce myself to you in that case.
Please if you really want to assist us let me know but if you feel you can not be able to handle it,we can as well carry it out with your boss,all you have to do is to let him know about the proposal and see what he has to say about it.
I still suggest that you go through my first letter to you for you to get a better understandibg of the transaction clearly.
Looking forward to your reply.
YOU CAN CALL ME ON MY PRIVATE TELEPHONE LINE [234-XXXXXX-XXXX] FOR US TO DISCUSS MORE ON THIS MATTER OR YOU CAN GIVE ME YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER SO THAT I CAN CALL YOU.
PLEASE THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE AND SHOULD BE TREATED ALIKE.Sal (can I call you Sal?):Will the emails continue until I run out of letters in his name? Time will tell!
I am glad to know that my work at the National University of Toast Scientists has not gone unnoticed, and that since publication of my two-side-buttering theory last month, I have gained some respect in the field.
I am also glad that you were kind of have the believe in my name. That's the most grammarificacious thing anyone has said to me in a long time. It makes me wonder if you were right when you say that your spirit is made for me. Would you describe yourself as an Ol' Janx Spirit? I consider myself somewhat of a hitchhiker in the galaxy, and feel a strong connection to the Ol' Janx Spirit.
I don't have a phone to call because our outlets are all being used for computers and toasters, but I reread your first email and I see that your plan was not to fly the money here. I still don't see why you can't do so if you work with the Ministry of Aviation, or perhaps use some of the money to buy a plane. But if you say that flying the fund will not work, I will trust you.
Have you considered moving the fund by boat?
If you don't like that idea either, I suppose I could look into opening a new bank account for you to transfer your money into. Would you want the account to use your name so it is easy for you to access, or a code name like "Mr. George Alias" to avoid suspicion?