This time, it's a "Dr. Dele Roberts" who wrote me to say,
You have received this message in furtherance to a confidential communication received from our esteemed customer: Barr. Usman Bello (Senior Advocate of Nigeria)
He has instructed that the sum of US$100,000.00 be paid to you through our International Interswitch Automated Teller Machine Card (ATM). He informed us that the payment is for your assistance as a consultant in a previous business transaction which was later concluded successfully. This instruction must be carried out in accordance to the provisions and signed memorandum between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the customer
Although Barr. Usman Bello is presently on a long vacation with his family. He insisted that you must be contacted and notified immediately to confirm his email message to you last month, where he made this known to you personally. Therefore you will receive your ATM card from the Central Bank of Nigeria with a value of the sum of US$100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars only).
The Central Bank of Nigeria will issue the ATM card in your name as beneficiary. I have sent in the statutory application in your favor to the Accounts Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Please find attached an ATM ID FORM for your endorsement.
I expect to receive the endorsed form from you as soon as possible to facilitate issuance of the ATM card accordingly.
The details contained in this email correspondence are strictly confidential.
Your cooperation is required.
Dr. Dele Roberts
Director Foreign Operations
Central Bank of Nigeria
Upon reading it, I immediately knew the whole thing was a scam because the name has appeared in the list of various anti-scam websites, and the content of the letter also bore striking similarities with other mails received by a lot of people all over the world (see more of these Nigerian scam letters here). Besides, I don't remember ever doing any consultancy work with a barrister named Bello.
When I did not reply to his message, he sent a follow up email to which I replied finally, having decided to play his game so I could use his mails to expose him in my blog haha.
To convince me that he was for real, he attached a scanned image of an ATM card bearing my name as it appears here. As expected, he informed me that I would need to send him 500 USD for the "insurance fee." I wrote back and told him:
I had thought the ATM Card was a gift. I'm sorry but I don't have that amount of money. You see, right now I have difficulty making both ends meet and I can't even send even 10 dollars to anyone.
Then last night, he called me up through my mobile phone. And yes, he surely sounded like the good Nigerian students in some universities here whom I got the chance to chat with. As the reception on my phone was not good, I couldn't quite make out much of what he said. I managed to catch his offer to give me a "30% discount" though. I am to remedy 350USD and send to him ASAP via Western Union. Tell you what, I said, what if you send me the ATM Card first so that when I get to withdraw my money, I'll refund all your expenses? His voice rose a bit and he said something about the difficulty of processing some documents, etc. I told him there is no way I could raise the said amount and suggested that he email me again regarding the transaction's additional details. Soon enough, I got this new mail from him:
To: scott saboy firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Jan 12, 2008 5:58 AM
Subject: Re: URGENT..... DELIVERY OF YOUR ATM CARD
I understand your situation as explained.
But my advise to you as a friend is that sending the US$350 is the surest way that will lead you to buy milk and other food items for your kid for the rest of their lives.
The value of the ATM CARD is US$100,000 and with proper investment, I do not think you need to work for the rest of your life.
Just think about this and try raising the money through a loan or anything so that the ATM CARD will be sent to you immediately and before the end if this week your life will never remain the same again.
Do your best and do not let this opportunity pass you by.
Dr. Dele Roberts
Hmm... He's such a smooth con-artist, isn't he? And he really thought that I, a"third-world ignoramus nincompoop," had really fallen prey to his wiles!
But with this post, there is no doubt as to who is laughing.
On a more serious note, though, I think this scamming business over the internet is a good subject of study under the rubric of Cultural Studies.