Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 34

A Hiatus
This will likely be my last Saturday post for a while. I need a bit of a break from posting six days a week.

I'm Gonna Be Rich

I recently received the following business proposal, which is very similar to other proposals I have received through the years. Since many of my readers may be interested in this proposal, as a public service I am posting it, along with my response.
HELLO It is understandable that you might be a little bit apprehensive because you do not know me, Please forgive this unusual manner to contact you, but this particular letter/email is of exceptional and very private nature, as by virtue of my vantage position in Bank of China Hong Kong i have a lucrative business proposal of mutual interest to share with you. There is no way for me to know whether I will be properly understood, but it is my duty to write and reach out to you, TRUSTING that you will give this proposal a positive consideration.
Why would I let the fact that I don't know you make me apprehensive? You seem like a nice man, and given the miracle of the Internet (thank you Al Gore), you can randomly reach out across the globe and spread your generosity. Let me assure you, I understand you very well.
I am Mr. LEE Raymond Wing Hung I am 58 years old and happily married with grown-up children, and i am a Director of Bank of China Hong Kong in charge of the International Remittance department.
It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Mr. Hung. Since we will be entering into a business agreement, I think I should share some information about myself. I too am 58 years old and happily married, though sadly I do not have children. A farm accident in my youth resulted in the loss of my testicles. (I should add that a very creative doctor was able to use a donation from a pig to replace my missing parts. However, I feared what the fruit of my loin might produce, and thus refrained from having children.) But I digress. I spend most of my time collecting aluminum cans and reading Sartre. Have you read Sartre? He is almost incomprehensible, but it makes me feel sophisticated when I get on the bus with a bag of aluminum cans and a copy of Being and Nothingness.
I will need you to assist me in executing a business project from our bank worth US$30.5 Million. These funds were deposited with our bank by a customer of our bank who is a national {citizen} of your country, who unfortunately died in the December2004 Asia Tsunami disaster.
You must be a very important and honorable man for your bank to trust you with so much money. I feel extremely fortunate that, of the billions of people in the world, you chose me to help you in your scheme. I am saddened to hear of the death of your customer. What was his name? Rumor has it that my cousin Jim was killed in the tsunami, though nobody knows for sure. He had spent most of the past decade hitchhiking across Asia and seldom even sent a postcard.

My aunt has been devastated not knowing his demise, and even went so far as to erect a small replica of an Asian village out of toothpicks in Jim's old bedroom. Every year on the anniversary of the tsunami she takes a large bucket of water and throws it on the village. She then collapses on the sofa and sobs until she passes out. It is really a pathetic sight, and any relief you could bring to her would make my uncle most grateful. Just so you know, their names are Olga and Fred.
The deceased account has been declared dormant since 2006 and these funds will be confiscated/declared unserviceable and turned over to the Hong Kong government if the deceased business associates or next-of-kin did not claim this money; since all efforts to trace any living relative of the deceased proved abortive, i have decided that i will have you claim this money as the deceased business associate/or next-of-kin, since you are from the same country and perhaps have some similarities in certain areas. Everything concerning this transaction shall be LEGALLY done without hitch, as i was the deceased account Officer and all the relevant documents of this deposit were kept under my care.
I was beginning to think that maybe you were proposing something a little shady, but now that you confirm that this will be done legally, I am relieved. Since the deceased is from my country, that practically makes us brothers, so I don't see any problem pretending that we are. Actually, the more I think about, the more upset I get. I never really got a chance to know my brother and share all those things that brothers share, like sneaking booze from our parent's liquor cabinet.
Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue, as i hope that you are a sincere, honest and matured person and above all TRUSTWORTHY. Once the funds have been successfully transferred into your account, we shall share it in a ratio of 30% for you, 65% for me and my associates in the bank and the reminder 5% to take care of contingencies.
I assume that posting this on the Internet will meet your criteria for sincerity, honesty, and discretion. But I really must question the veracity of your proposed split. It seems rather heartless of you to offer me only 30%--it was my brother after all. Since you seem like such a nice man, I am willing to split the proceeds with you. But anything more just seems like pure greed to me. Are you a greedy person? Are you trying to take advantage of me while I am grieving the death of my brother?
Please if you are not interested delete this email and do not hurt me because I am putting my career and the life of my family at stake with this venture. Although nothing ventured is nothing gained, as it is said, the taste of the pudding is in the eating, do give this proposal SERIOUS AND POSITIVE CONSIDERATION.
I did delete the email, so unfortunately I lost your email address. Therefore, I am posting this on the Internet in the hope that you will find it and contact me again, because as we say in Texas, there is a bee in her bonnet.

The above is of course, a Nigerian 419 scam. I first received one of these scam letters via FAX in the 1980s, and continue to receive them by email with some regularity. What is perhaps more amazing to me is that people actually fall for this scam. I suppose that there will always be individuals who want something for nothing, and are willing to risk their life's savings to get it.

If I had unlimited time, I might engage one of these scammers just for grins. This post, and this site, will have to suffice.


Rational Education said...

Thanks for making my day!! That was so funny and hilarious, that it brought the smile back to my "long face" from today.
You write excellent satire by the way!

Brian Phillips said...

Thanks Jasmine. I have to be in the right frame of mind to write satire, but sometimes I do crack myself up.