Friday, February 15, 2008
I'm Rich, take 2
Yesterday I received two emails, one titled "I am Mr. David Disko, Please Respond," and the other titled "Consumer Alert: Increase in Fraudulent Emails."
As you may recall, last week, as reported in this post, I was informed that a relative of mine (or someone with my last name) had died in the Indonesian tsunami, leaving behind 12.5 million dollars. A Mr. Wang Kee offered to wire me the money from his bank, in return for a mere 62.5 percent of it, plus various fees.
Now it seems that a German business tycoon, Mr. Andreas Schranner, whose only relatives all died in the July, 2000 crash of Concorde Air France flight 4590, has passed away, leaving behind 3.5 million dollars in a bank in Ghana. And amazingly, even though I do not even have the same last name as Mr. Schranner, I have been singled out by "prominent bank" employee David Disko to receive a share of this money in return for using my status as a foreigner to gain access to it. Apparently I have an unusually honest face, as people from Singapore to Ghana feel I'm the ideal person to withdraw money from their banks.
The good news is that Mr. Disko writes: I want you to state how you wish us to share the funds in percentage; that being a clear improvement over Wang Kee's opening offer, which amounted to giving me less than forty percent of my own money. The bad news is that even though he was lowballing me, Wang Kee was still giving me 5 million, while David Disko is starting with only 3.5 million, and will no doubt want a healthy chunk of that for himself.
Having learned a lesson last week, I took the precaution of Googling the name David Disko to see if he actually was a Ghanaian bank employee. What popped up was a copy of the same letter I had received, but with one major difference. The letter online, posted 10 months ago, claims that Schranner left a bank account worth 12.5 million. Let's ignore the coincidence that this is the exact amount my relative (or person with my last name) left for me in a Singapore bank, and concentrate on the obvious conclusion: Disko is trying to shaft me! He's claiming he wants me to have a share of 3.5 million, when in fact, I deserve a share of 12.5 million.
Needless to say, this realization pissed me off to no end. Obviously he thinks he can get away with splitting 3.5 million with me, and pocketing the other 9 million. What does he take me for, some kind of rube?
But then I remembered the other email, the one whose title warned that fraudulent emails were on the rise, and I decided I should read it and see if it mentioned Disko. No such luck. Basically it said that there's been an increase in phishing at my credit union, so they were suspending my account until I contacted them with my account number so we could confirm that there had been no unauthorized activity. Naturally I panicked, thinking my identity had been stolen, but when I got to their site and prepared to type in my account number, it hit me: I don't have an account with them. In fact, I've never heard of them. Obviously they sent this email to the wrong address, and some poor schmuck is going to find out the hard way that his account is suspended.
But that's not my problem. My problem is how to get my 12.5m from Donnie Darko, or whatever his name is. (Actually, that may not be a bad analogy; possibly he got my name from a giant rabbit.) I fired off an email last night:
Nice try pal. Do you think I was born yesterday? Ten months ago you sent someone word that Schranner left 12.5 million in an account. Now it's down to 3.5 million? Either one of your fellow bank tellers has beaten you to the money, in which case it's probably down to a buck and a half by now; or you're trying to pull a fast one.
As I understand it, you need a foreigner to sign the withdrawal slip because Schranner was a foreigner. Apparently any foreigner will do, which leads me to an obvious train of logical thinking:
1. The Ghana banking system is wacko.
2. German business tycoon Andreas Schranner was an idiot.
3. I gotta get my 12.5m out of your bank pronto.
Anything you can do to speed up the process would be appreciated, and I will pay you time and a half for any hours you run up beyond your normal work day.
This morning I received a reply:
Did I say 3.5 million? I meant 12.5 million. Here in my country, the three is right next to the twelve on the keyboard, and it's hard to concentrate on one's typing when there's constant gunfire all around one.
While your offer of overtime pay for my trouble is generous, allow me to point out that you need me as much as I need you. Without my assistance, you would have to come to Ghana at an expense of thousands of dollars, and it's unlikely you could get through customs without being robbed and murdered, not necessarily in that order.
Thus I must insist on an up-front payment of $5000. I would have you wire the money to my account, but to reveal my account number would leave a "paper trail" and might result in my losing my job with a prominent bank. Thus, if you'll send me the account number from which I may wire my quite reasonable fee, you will soon have your long-awaited funds. Thank you.
Screw him. An hour ago I booked a flight to Ghana. I figure, how many prominent banks can there be in Ghana? If I find the right one I should be able to find a teller willing to assist me for a lot less than five large. Besides, I need a vacation.