THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MARCH 6, 2021
This may be my last column for the Cadillac News. You see, I recently found out that I am going to be rolling in dough. I am going to be so rich that it will take all of my time and energy just to spend even a fraction of my new wealth, leaving scant minutes in the day to do anything else.
In rough numbers, I have the opportunity to acquire around $15 million (give or take a few bucks). This may sound too good to be true, but it came over the Internet so it has to be legitimate, right? The fact that this news found me via the junk mail folder in a secondary email account does not make it any less suspicious, correct?
Here is the skinny on the two messages I received. For the purposes of accuracy, I will give you the exact words used in the proposals.
The first proposal will allow me to do good works. It came from a lady with the last name of Putin. “I decided to donate what I have to you for investment towards the good work of charity organization, and also to help the motherless and the less privileged ones and to carry out a charitable works in your Country and around the World on my Behalf.”
Mrs. Putin is in a bad way. “I am diagnosing of throat Cancer, hospitalize for good two years and quite obvious that I have few days to live, and I am a Widow no child; I decided to will/donate the sum of $7.8 million to you for the good work to help the motherless and less privilege and also forth assistance of the widows.”
Why me? “My relatives (that have squandered the funds for this purpose before) are around me. I have adjusted my will and my lawyer is aware. I will be going in for a surgery soon and I want to make sure that I make this donation before undergoing this surgery.”
Gee, what a predicament. All I have to do is send her all my personal and banking information. This seems like a small kindness to do for such a generous soul as Mrs. Putin. Plus, I get $7.8 million smackers!
With this in my pocket, I can move on to the second proposal made by a Mr. Mazin in Burkina Faso. It will help him get out of a sticky situation. “I have decided to seek a confidential co-operation with you in the execution of the deal described. I hope you will keep it a top secret because of the nature of the transaction.”
Secrecy is the key here. “I discovered an unclaimed/abandoned fund, sum total of $19.3 Million in the bank account that belongs to a Saudi Arabia businessman. Who unfortunately lost his life and entire family in a Motor Accident. I personally has been unsuccessful in locating any of the relatives, now, I sincerely seek your consent to present you as the next of kin / Will Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you, which we will share sixty percent to me and forty percent to you. All I request is your utmost trust and maximum confidentiality.”
Gee, all it will take is a little trust and confidentiality for a $7.3 million payday? And all I have to do is turn over my banking information to a stranger who sent a junk mail? “Send me the following information as stated below so we can proceed and get this fund transferred to your designated bank account.” Who wouldn't snap up that opportunity, eh?
Okay, by now I am sure you know that everything I've said so far has been tongue in cheek. I am not really going to be instantly rich. In reality, if I sent these scammers any information, there's a good chance I could become instantly poor.
Fake schemes of this sort are called the Nigerian prince scam, also known as the 419 scam (named for the section of Nigeria’s criminal code dealing with fraud).
Snopes notes: “Here’s how it works: Letters (or, nowadays, e-mail messages) postmarked from Nigeria (or almost any other foreign nation) are sent to addresses taken from large mailing lists. The letters promise rich rewards for helping officials of that government (or bank, or quasi-government agency or sometimes just members of a particular family) out of an embarrassment or a legal problem. Typically, the pitch includes mention of multi-million dollar sums.”
This is not a new scam, either. “The Nigerian Scam has been emptying the pockets of victims for decades. In its earliest incarnation, which dates to at least the 1920s, it was known as ‘The Spanish Prisoner’ con.” (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nigerian-scam-2/)
Being rich beyond your wildest dreams is fun to consider. However, achieving that dream by waiting for “something for nothing” proposals to come into your junk email box may not be the wisest course of action. As humorist Franklin P. Jones said: “When you get something for nothing, you just haven't been billed for it yet.”
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.