Saturday, August 26, 2006

Scam Dunk

"So how much money do these dictators make anyway"?

"What that eh?" the question catching me off guard, as it usually does when my dog Nawab is concerned. Yes you heard that right, those of you who don`t know about him, Nawab my talking dog. Got him free from my friend Ahmed who was leaving for Toronto. A great big loopy shaggy dog. Part this, part that, a bit of everything, in fact a Tiger Woods of the canine world. A dog with his paws in more than one basket.

"I was just trying to figure out the amount of money that a military dictator of a third world country makes" said Nawab.

"Probably enough to make the directors of some Swiss bank very happy" I replied trying to figure out what was happening.

"You know that you could be right about that one".

"So what`s up?" I asked my curiosity getting the better of me.

"Oh! Didn`t I tell you? Ah well you will learn it eventually anyway. I have been contacted by someone and while I am not at a liberty to state who, let`s just say it is someone close to the former regime in `M`".

"Why would they contact you? And for what purpose would they choose you?" I asked.

"Well because umm because obviously they know I am a `person` of integrity.

For they need someone who can be trusted enough to carry out an undertaking of great importance".

"And how would they know that person is you? In fact do they know that you are not a person but a dog?"

"They got my name off the business directory on the internet and I fail to see what my being a dog has to do with this".

"OK, but why did they choose only you? And that too out of the many others whose name is in that business directory? And on the topic of business directories how is your name coming up in business directories?"

"How would I know that? I`ll have you know I have been marked out as the dog to watch, why just the other day my trainer told me `I am keeping a close eye on you`. So word does get around you know".

"Just what I feared" I groaned.

"You just worry too much. This is a nothing but purely a business proposal. Furthermore it is of mutual benefit and entirely based on mutual trust, cooperation and a high level of confidentiality as regard this transaction".

Something about the words that he was using sounded familiar. So I queried him again. "Lets just start at the beginning, somebody close to the former regime in `M` has contacted you because you a man of great integrity. I am using `man` here as they obviously don`t know which species you are from".

"Being snide now aren`t you? But that is correct".

"And they have based this assumption on an entry in a business directory".


"Some business directory found on the internet, and that means that they don`t really know you then?"

"Yes but my details are there".

"And they sniffed those details out?" I found that quite funny so I repeated it again, "and they sniffed those details out?"

"Very droll but yes they have my details".

"So I am guessing there is some money involved here".

"That is correct, a very large sum of money that I can help them retrieve".

Realization was slowly dawning upon me but I needed some more details. "And would you need to do a lot of work to retrieve this, um, money?"

"Well all logistics are in place and all modalities worked out for a smooth actualization of the transaction within the next few working days of commencement."

Everything pointed to an internet scam. Some dreams would have to be shattered and it needed to be done quickly. "So basically what you are being asked is `please help me spirit some million dollars from country `N` through your bank account and I will give you a few million dollars for your mere participation!`"

"That is entirely correct".

"And secrecy is of utmost importance, right?"


"And all the money will be given to you once you supply them with your account details".

"You seem to know the drill".

"Yes and if you are not careful you will be drilling a hole in your pocket".

"What do you mean?"

The time had come to educate my dog about the great e-mail scams. In fact before it went online the scam had been sent out to victims via letter and fax. It is a simple message stating the sender has a large sum of money, and needs help transferring it out of Nigeria, or some other African nation. As a reward for your help, the sender promises to pay you a third of the money. Once you respond to them, guess what? The sender explains that there are transfer fees for the transaction, and that you`ll need to pay them.

Well who said money making was easy?

Investigations have revealed that the victims tend to get embroiled into the scam as the money supposedly gets close to being paid, but can`t seem to quite get to the bank account without increasing amounts of money to be paid. These emails are constantly being modified and country of origin being changed as they travel across the globe chasing victims.

"You know I never believed in this stuff" said Nawab.

"You didn`t?"

"Hey! I am pretty sharp nothing gets by me".

And nothing gets through him too, judging by the last two break-ins. But we really need to be vigilant about these scams on the internet. I think I`ll just heed the advice in the e-mail that my bank sent me and confirm my online username, password and credit card number using the link to the bank website on the internet.


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