Well, I have news for the author of â€œTom Sawyerâ€ andÂ â€œHuckleberry Finn.â€Â Â InÂ Â Decemberâ€™sÂ Â run up to New Year, Iâ€™veÂ Â been offered theÂ Â position, notÂ Â once, not twice, butÂ Â seven times!. The congratulation letters thatÂ jam myÂ mail boxÂ confirm that.
Berryfirstname.lastname@example.orgÂ emailed to say weÂ won US$500,000 at the megaball lottery. Doesnâ€™tÂ Â Â thatÂ come up to P21.9 million at todayâ€™sÂ exchange rate?Â Â We willÂ dust off our bags for thatÂ Mediterranean cruise we never could afford.
How did we strike the bonanaza?Â Â WeÂ didnâ€™tÂ haveÂ a ticket to —Â what was that lotteryâ€™s name again?Â Â JustÂ to settle the wifeâ€™sÂ nerves,Â weÂ plannedÂ to askÂ Berry-a:
Even beforeÂ we could ask, Castaned-dÂ emailed. â€œYou won 950,000 pounds in the U.K. New Year Bonanza sweeps. And that doesnâ€™t include anotherÂ $750,000Â from Luckday International.
And that doesnâ€™t include Sarah HoofmanÂ ofÂ Euro-Foundation in Geneva, Gary Smith who claims to handle Spainâ€™s biggest lottery:Â El GordoÂ (â€œThe Fat Oneâ€) ofÂ Paragon. Promo inÂ Amsterdam.
Leonteen Garrett of Brussellâ€™s LotteryÂ Software writes: â€œYou have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out ofÂ one million.â€ The grammar is atrocious. But who cares? The payout willÂ can either be in wobbly eurosÂ orÂ equally wobbly butÂ Uncle Samâ€™s tender.
Weâ€™re notÂ picky. Weâ€™re willing, in fact,Â toÂ receive the prize inÂ Philippine pesos. That need not be the new billsÂ that portray Ninoy and Cory Aquino. Even pesos, with the portrait ofÂ Gloria Macapagal Arroyo beingÂ sworn in, for her disastrous term,Â will do. We can agree with George Bernard Shaw: â€œLack of money is theÂ root ofÂ all evilâ€.
So, how did I squeeze into company ofÂ formerÂ First Gentleman â€œMikeâ€ Arroyo, ex-president Estrada and heirs of the lateÂ dictatorÂ Ferdinand Marcos?Â Â CashÂ comesÂ out of their ears. And they never explained how this came to pass.
Over 300,000 email addresses were churned through a computer, explainsÂ Josephine Van Daal. Or was it Mr. George Carret. I forget now. Then, â€œYouâ€™re e-mail address was picked.â€
â€œBy George, heâ€™s got it,â€ asÂ ProfessorÂ HigginsÂ says inÂ â€œMy Fair Ladyâ€.Â Â Did I ask whether it was emailÂ accountsÂ atÂ Yahoo orÂ Gmail? Of course not. â€œBeggars can not be choosers.
By now, my head is swimming with visions of what those shekels can do. After all, â€œno one would have rememberedÂ the Good Samaritan if all he had were good intentions,â€Â former UKÂ PrimeÂ Minister Margaret Tatcher once snapped. â€œHe had money as well.â€
But journalistic caution caught up by the time XXXXXXXX. Whatâ€™s the catch? â€œA fool and his money are soon parted.â€
Significantly, the letters are phrased identically, even the misspellings or tenses. Only amounts vary. Keep itÂ confidential, they insist. You are. Meanwhile, to contact a financial agent whoseÂ name is given.
â€œAll thatâ€™s required is for youÂ your full names, address, phone numbers, email address and bank address and account numbers,â€Â wheedlesÂ â€œDr. Omar Aliâ€.Â Â He claims to be the CreditÂ Bank of Iraqâ€™sÂ principal auditor. Then, like those lottery jackpots, he transfer $14.2 lying idle in my bank.â€
â€œOnce transferred to your nominated bank account, we shall share in the ratio ofÂ 65% for me, 30% for you, and 5% for any expenses incurred.â€
It is true Nigerians firstÂ cooked up this con game? Dennis Kingibe, who claims to be deputy managerÂ atÂ Security Investment Bank in LagosÂ has an idle $20.5 million. If youâ€™re dense enough to give him your bank account numbers, he spilt the loot 50-50.
DubaiÂ merchant Khalid Suleman has a sob story twist. Heâ€™s dying from esophegal cancer. Before facing Allahâ€™sÂ judgment for a dissolute life, could you help him distribute $28 million to the needy?
â€œHelp me to collect this deposit and dispatched (sic) it to charity organizations. I have set aside 20% for you and your time.
â€œI want Allah to be merciful to me and accept my soul. So, I have decided to give alms, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth,â€ was hisÂ cri dâ€™ coeur.
Â SimilarÂ emailed â€œcries from the heartâ€Â are linked to officials whoâ€™ve been flogged for amassing ill-gottenÂ wealth. Some letters in my mailbox claim to have access to long stashed wealth from Mobutu Sese Seku, Papa Doc Duvalier, Suharto — and even Jinggoy Estrada.
There are no figures on how many are conned. If the repeated letters are anyÂ indication, there are a lot of suckers willing to be fleeced out there. Who said â€œthereÂ was one born every minute.â€
Infuriated at this con game, a son inÂ ManilaÂ dangled offering bank accountÂ numbers. Someone bit.Â Â An elaborate timetable was set for a meeting at a plus 5-star Bangkok hotel. When D-Day came he didnâ€™t show up.
To the anguished longÂ distance tracer-calls from Bangkok, he casually repliedâ€™ â€œOn the way to the airport, I had a flat tire.â€Â The late Charles de Gaulle, he explained to me, summed itÂ up very well: â€œRevenge is a dish best eaten cold.â€ ####
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