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  • Writer's pictureJeff Matthews

My name is MR John Wale Balogun, from The Republic of Schlemeil …

My name is MR John Wale Balogun the eldest son of Formal Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force (N.P.F) Mr.Tafa BalogunI am contacting you in a benevolent spirit; utmost confidence and trust to enable us provide a solution to a money transfer of $22M that is presently putting my entire family into great disarray. Thus begins an email I recently received in my Gmail account. It had been, quite correctly, flagged as “Spam” and moved to a separate folder which I had decided to peruse just to see what it was that the folks at Google were not letting through to me. It is, of course, a variation on the “send money to me so I can recover millions more that are due to me for some ridiculous and entirely incomprehensible reason” type of scam that has been floating around the internet for years. And which, of course, has been convincing enough to that portion of the population of internet users which, on Official Government Census forms checks the box marked “Knucklehead,” to keep doing. I could have deleted it and moved on, but there was something so bizarre and so amusing that I couldn’t stop reading–funky grammar, typos and all…

You may be quite surprised at my sudden contact to you but do not despair, I got your contact from a business site on the internet and following the information I gathered about you, I was convinced that you could be of Assistance to me.

Ah–well, that settles that! This was not a mass mailing to 800 billion email addresses: it was addressed to me alone. Quite the honor. However, I was not “surprised” by the “sudden contact,” nor did I “despair.” Rather, I marveled at the notion that not only would somebody send this kind of email, but somebody else would actually still be reading it by this point…

So, I decided to contact you at once due to the urgency required for us to immediately transfer the said funds out of the country. During the time my father was in the government with the Nigerian Police Force (N.P.F} as the police Inspector General, he was able to involve himself in several contracts and business transaction and deals that yield him several millions of United State Dollars. You’d think this Nigerian connection would start making the average reader nervous. Nigeria is, after all, one of the most corrupt counties in the world–last year only Haiti and Bangladesh were more corrupt, according to one study. If you’re going to scam somebody, why would you pretend to be from Nigeria? Why not just invent a country–“Moronia,” say, or “The Republic of Schlemeil”? The prominent amongst the deals was money that emanated from funds set aside for the importation of Arms and Security Gadgets to boost the Nigerian Police Force, funds set to embark on oversea training of some young Nigerian Police officers to boost there strength in combating crimes in the Nigerian territory, if you are conversant with world news, you would understand better. Yes, that’s what I want to get involved in: money that’s been laundered from the importation of guns into the third-most-corrupt country in the world! “Hey, Hon, get the checkbook out. A guy name John Wale Balogun from The Republic of Schlemeil needs some cash. That new condo we have our eye on in Vegas can wait–in a few weeks we’ll be able to buy ten new condos in Vegas!”

Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up

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