Ah, 419. I’ve Missed You.

Sorry, everyone, but I’m off to live the life of the rich and famous. I’m finished with the daily grind – it’s time to take my retirement while I’m young enough to really enjoy it. I’m thinking about maybe an island in the South Pacific. The Caribbean would be nice, but there are too many hurricanes, and we can’t have storms interfering with my new Hemingway existence of whiskey and writing. You see … I have been notified that I am the long-lost relation to Dr. Edward Wilbur, who has died and left me so many millions that his representative declines to name the exact sum in the letter he has sent.

Surprisingly, my uncle, who is a genealogist, has never told me about dear Uncle Edward. Perhaps he was hoping to keep all the millions to himself, or perhaps Uncle Edward’s vast wealth has allowed him to effectively hide his existence from the rest of the world. Whatever the case: finders keepers, poor family. I am about to be ridiculously rich. I intend to construct a huge vault with a diving board and keep all of my money in gold coins, into which I will swan dive and swim like Scrooge McDuck. Insane lovemaking on a bed covered with $100 bills is a given. Doubt me? Here, I’ll relate my notification:

Dear Wilbur,

I would like to seek your help in a business proposal , which although is sensitive by nature which is not what i should discuss with someone i don’t know and not met using a medium such as this but i do not have a choice .

I am Mr. Vincent Akello, I was the client service manager of the bank where late Dr. Edward Wilbur left behind a large sum of money, he died of a cardiac arrest a few years ago leaving behind a large sum of money with a commercial bank in the Island of Seychelles which is a tax free zone, a place where plenty of rich people tend to hide away funds not ready to be used or invested. I will not mention the amount of money which runs into several millions in United States Dollars and the name of bank presently until we have agreed to deal. I trust you will understand the need for such precautions.

So far, valuable efforts has been made to get to his people but to no avail, as he had no known relatives he left his next of kin column in his account opening forms blank. Due to this development the bank has been expecting someone to come forward as a close relative to claim the funds otherwise as the Seychelles national laws would have it, any dormant account for five years will be declared unclaimed and then paid into the government purse.

To avert this negative development i and my colleagues have decided to look for a reputable person to act as the next of kin to late Dr. Edward Wilbur. So that the funds could be processed and released into any account provided by the person, which is where you come in. We shall make arrangements with a qualified and a reliable attorney to represent you locally to avoid any inconvenience of you coming down to claim the funds

All legal documents to aid your claim for this fund and to prove your relationship with the deceased will be provided by us. Your help will be appreciated with 30% of the total sum which I would disclose in my next email Please accept my apologies and keep my confidence and disregard this letter if you do not appreciate this proposition i have offered you.

I wait anxiously for your response.

Yours Faithfully,
Vincent Akello

This is awesome. It’s been a couple of years since anyone thought to help me smuggle millions of dollars out of Africa at the behest of a set-upon prince, and I was afraid the dogs weren’t still chasing this particular car, although I’d like to know when we moved on to a last-name basis. The “419 Scam” (a.k.a. “The Nigerian Connection” or “advance fee fraud”) is named after a section of the Nigerian criminal code, and we’ve all been getting these emails for years. I always wondered who actually falls for this crap, until a little over a year ago when I found out that Citibank does. Apparently, they only caught on to a fraudster trying to withdraw $27m from the Bank of Ethiopia because they were contacted by a few of the destination banks that were having difficulty processing the requests, leading one online news source to headline the story, “Citibank Officially Dumber Than Your Spam Filter.” And I know a lot of the victims of these scams are the elderly, which is sad, but I can’t really understand how getting older makes you that gullible — I thought “wile and experience” were supposed to be the reward/payoff for the gradual breakdown of your physical abilities.

One of the things that I find most curious about these scams is that no one can speak English very well. It’s like they write their pitch and run it through Babelfish, and send it along. It’s occurred to me on occasion that it might be fun to volunteer my services to clean up their language before they start blast-mailing to the gullible (the same as it has occurred to me to offer to proof-read some of these penis-enlargement and sell-us-your-gold spam emails). What can I say? I don’t like seeing things done poorly. And I’ve seen people who have run with the scam for a while (hilarity ensues), but let’s not forget that these are legitimate criminals and there are as many stories of people getting completely fucked up as of people besting the con men.

Side note: spam on a blog is fun, too. WordPress uses a blocking app called “Akismet” that does a pretty good job of filtering the heathen, but I just got the following on one of my recent posts:

Tremendous! This particular is all I can think pertaining to a blog post like this excellent. This kind of is literally a notably explanatory article post on the blog. You just need to know a lot about this amazing

Fun how they trailed off in mid-sentence. I like to think it’s because they realized who they were commenting on and that he wouldn’t be fooled, but it’s more likely they saw something shiny and, drooling, wandered off to chase that instead. Fun also how the “419” scam is only one number away from 420. And that 419 is an area code in Florida, probably the most backward state in the Union. Coincidences? I think not. Cheers to you, Mr. Vincent Akello, for keeping the dream alive.

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7 Responses to Ah, 419. I’ve Missed You.

  1. Alison says:

    Wait. So you’re not on the path to being a filthy rich playboy? Give me a minute to digest this.

  2. mom says:

    Is it too cynical to believe that they choose to use bad grammar so the people who are most likely to fall for the scam will be more comfortable with the verbiage?

  3. L. Chambers says:

    Amazing! I just got an email from the very same Vincent Akello telling me about the late Dr Edward Chambers’ estate!

    What are the odds 🙂

    • popdialectic says:

      Ha! I always know when Mr. Akello is up to his blast-mailing hijinks, because hits on this particular entry spike all of a sudden. Enjoy your newfound wealth, Mr. Chambers.

  4. bigbluevvan543 says:

    HAH! They don’t even change the first name! Dr. Edward EVERYONE. stupid, but I do feel sorry for whomever falls for it.

  5. Pingback: Infamous, and Five New Rules | The Popdialectic

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