Over the next several weeks:
Zongo: Give me your private
number so I can call you. I want
to speak with you immediately.
Ben: I lost my cellphone and
there’s a 10-day waiting period
for replacements, just like guns.
Zongo: I must have today the form
of the deceased customer George
Black to firstname.lastname@example.org
with your bank account.
Ben: Before I can, I need to know
your astrological sign. I’m a Cap-
ricorn and only give such infor-
mation to people with a suitable
Zongo: I’m a Christian.
Zongo: You still did not send the
application to the bank as i in-
structed. They are very angry.
Ben: I just sent the form—to the
real Bank of Africa email address,
not the address you gave me.
Zongo: Just as I promised you in
my last mail, below is the application format which you will rewrite and send to the bank with
email address given below.
I feed out phony information
about Theresa. She has a nonexistent house in Detroit. She can’t
afford a phone or passport. Her
bank is the also nonexistent South
Michigan Automakers’ Consumer Savings—SMACS (“scams”
spelled backwards). Her account
number contains more than 20
digits, twice the typical number,
which supposed business consultant Zongo doesn’t notice. This
first correspondence includes the
George Black kinship form.
Zongo is never heard from again.
Theresa: I never knew I had a
millionaire relative named George
Black so I cannot answer these
questions to get my millions.
Zongo: Bellow is the answers.
ACT 3: Courting Theresa
One day after receiving Zongo’s first
email, I reply with an email signed
by one Theresa DeGraci, a more co-operative version of me.
Theresa: Dear Mr. Zongo: I received your letter seeking assistance in transferring funds into
my account. I am honored to be
chosen for such a generous offer,
as I am a widow, age 72, living
on a meager fixed income. What
do I need to do to earn your proposed commission?
Under occupation on the kinship
application form, George Black is
listed as “tourist.” Theresa submits
Zongo’s answers as instructed. An
email soon arrives titled “Approval
as Next of Kin from Bank of Africa
Enter two new characters: Dr.
Attan Kizito and Hon. Barrister
Larry Bobo, who, Zongo reports,
have been assigned to facilitate
Dr. Attan Kizito: To enable this
fund to be in your name and make
Don’t Do What I Did
So-called Nigerian scam letters may seem amusing, but
they’re no laughing matter. Many people have lost thousands
of dollars by sending advance fees that will supposedly pay
taxes, bribes or bank charges to unlock a fortune. Despite the
name, these scammers come from many countries and use
your ID to drain bank accounts and credit card balances, warns
the FBI. Even answering for yuks can put your email address on
shared “sucker lists,” triggering a barrage of future spam. Best
response: Delete all such come-ons unanswered.