I got an email from a friend of mine today. She's newly married and works for a military defense company in Southern California. So imagine my surprise to hear she's stuck in a hotel in "Africa, Nigeria" with no money, and a keyboard stuck on CAPS LOCK.
HELLO. HOW ARE YOU DOING? I WANT YOU TO KEEP THIS CONFIDENTIAL BETWEEN BOTH OF US, I KNOW THAT I CAN PUT MY TRUST IN YOU ON THIS. PLEASE DO NOT LET ME DOWN. RIGHT NOW I AM IN AFRICA, NIGERIA. I CAME HERE ON A TRIP TO SEE A FRIEND AND WHEN I GOT HERE I LOST MY WALLET CONTAINING THE ADRESS OF MY FRIEND AND HIS CONTACT PHONE NUMBER, ALONG WITH MY ATM CARD AND OTHER VALUABLES.
SO RIGHT NOW I DO NOT EVEN HAVE ANY MONEY ON ME . I AM STAYING IN A HOTEL NOW , AND THE MANAGER IS ALREADY RANTING OVER HIS MONEY AND AS TIME GOES BY THE BILLS ARE INCREASING. I WOULD WANT YOU TO LOAN ME $2000. I PROMISE TO PAY YOU BACK AS SOON AS I GET BACK ... I WOULD WANT YOU TO HELP SEND THE MONEY VIA WESTERN UNION . GET BACK AT ME ASAP. HOPE TO READ FROM YOU...
Wow, she couldn't even put my name in the salutation. It must be serious. I emailed her right back.
Hey, dolls! Wow, you're just the girl to go to Africa, Nigeria. Did your military defense firm send you on a covert mission? You look so straight-laced, but underneath it you're a mercenary mama! Jennifer Garner, move over!Apparently hackers got into her yahoo email account and co-opted her address book. So now they're not just sending from random addresses, they're spamming with addresses you think you really know. But come on, who's going to fall for this kind of thing? Well, my friend's great uncle did. He called her, frantic, and asking where he could send the funds. It's the older folks who get suckered. I know, my husband writes boring fund raising appeals, and the oldsters fall for them all the time.
How did you rack up a $2,000 tab? Aren't hotel rooms in Africa, Nigeria, only like two kwanzaa a night? You must have been ordering a lot of oryx barbecue, or else you charged that safari to your room.
I still owe you a wedding gift (Emily Post says I have a year to buy it!). But why stop at $2,000? Let's make it an even 2 million. Are you free later today? I could pop on over to Africa, Nigeria, and rob the Second Bank of Nairobi. You can be my wing man. Hope to "READ FROM YOU" as you would say.
Which reminds me. I'm stuck in this Starbucks in America, Santa Monica, and the barista is screaming at me to pay for my mounting bar tab of ten caramel light frappuccinos and a biscotti. So please, please, western union me some coffee money.
HOPE TO READ FROM YOU, _______.