There are some moments when the universe presents you with an occasion of such pure joy that your pleasure is cut with feelings of unworthiness. Some of these might be holding your child for the first time and eating Starbuck's Java Chip ice cream directly from the container.
Today I had mine: a 419 Scammer called me directly at work and tried to convince me to send money or have a client send money. I spoke with him for a good ten minutes until the conversation deteriorated and we said, more or less, our farewells.
See, someone sent a potential client to us recently. This gentlemen wanted our help in getting money into the U.S. from Nigeria, where it was being held up by bureaucratic irritants, and promised to pay us from the proceeds. I pointed out to him more gently than is my inclination that he had fallen victim to a scam, that the name of the man corresponding with him was featured on a prominent 419 scam index, and that the language of the emails was consistent with established 419 scams, and that I would not assist him without an fee deposit in any event.
That was last week. Today, I was honored to receive a call at work from a high Nigerian official, who for security reasons was using a rather poor cell phone connection from what sounded suspiciously like a Boston bus station (the announcements in the background were being made in that inimitable accent that P.J. O'Rourke describes as a goose being buggered by a foghorn). The high government official was very friendly and asked me when I would be traveling to Africa to assist my client and when I would be explaining to my client that major international money transfers with bureaucratic complications sometimes naturally require advances of permit and license fees and shipping fees and diplomatic and notary fees and the like, and would I perhaps assist my impecunious client in advancing those fees, and did I know that money orders were acceptable?
We talked for a while, the Minister in Charge of Something I Didn't Quite Catch and I. Eventually I'm afraid I put him off a bit. You know how swell-headed I am — my background as a federal prosecutor, my friends at the FBI and Postal Inspectors, the plaques of gratitude on my wall from them, and my long-term enthusiasm for incarcerating mail fraudsters who have not given me a fee deposit all came up. I talk too much about myself; it's a curse. I also interrupt a lot. His discussion of the necessity for various fees reminded me, for some reason, of the Bush Administration doctrine of special rendition of allegedly unpleasant persons to parts of the world where genitalia are viewed primarily as an electrode attachment opportunity, and my concerns about the lack of health care afforded to people in ICE custody such that sometimes their penises require amputation. I tend to drift like that, you know. The Minister seemed nonplussed and his accent steadily thickened.
Eventually I explained that, to my regret, he needed to consult with his attorneys and determine how to get around the doctrine of Te futueo et caballum tuum, which I saw as an impediment to the transaction. I spelled it for him.
Let's see if he calls back.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017
- Anatomy of a Scam, Chapter 15: The Wheels, They Grind - August 10th, 2017