As some of you know I’ve been getting more than my fair share of spam emails at the moment. Most of them purporting to originate from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. All of them asking me to claim vast sums of money held in trust by mysterious relatives who have all died in very inconvenient plane crashes.
For the most part I’ve been ignoring / deleting them but I’m now reaching the point where my irritation is seeking another outlet.
Taking my lead from others who have responded "in kind" to these emails I am embarking on a little programme of spurious RSVP myself. This could be a series of many or even just a series of one. But here, for your delectation, is one of the offending emails and below it, my carefully worded reply. Enjoy.
FROM THE OFFICE OF MR ALI DONGO
DIRECTOR AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING UNIT,
BANK OF AFRICA.(BOA)
OUAGADOUGOU -BURKINA FASO
SORRY IF THIS MESSAGE DO NOT MEET YOUR PERSONAL ADVANTAGE,
Pleasure writing to you at this moment of the day, I am Mr.ALI DONGO.
the director incharge of auditing and accounting Dept. of Bank of Africa OUAGADOUGOU -BURKINA FASO.I deem it fit to contact you regarding an inactive/dormant account fund that will benefit both of us at the end, if parties involved will take restrait and maintain absolute secrecy, honesty and integrity. I got your contact in my search for a reputable and reliable person to particularly assist me to claim the fund in question. During auditing, in our bank at the end of last fiscal year, We discovered the sum of Twenty five millions United States dollars (US$25M) in a dormant account belonging to an international businessman who was involved in the December 25th Benin plane crash. while travelling for his bussiness. I kept this information(secret) confidential within my jurisdiction to enable us submit claims and transfer this fund through trustworthy person whom we shall present to our bank as the bonafide next of kin to the ceased. Visit our investigations so far clearly reveals that there is no immediate survivor or even a relation to the deceased and as such, there is no immediate next of kin for further claims of the deceased fund as we have long been expecting someone to come forward with an applications. Further information's /verifications from reliable sources too have confirmed that the deceased customer supposed next of kin were all in the plane with him died with him.this is where the bank come in to do bussiness with who ever is interested.
Plane Crash Web site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This fund is now ready for transfer into a foreign account, whose owner will be portrayed to our bank as the beneficiary and a next of kin to the deceased customer. The foreign account owner will impost himself appropriately as the next of kin to the deceased and respond positively like a true next of kin who wishes to speed up the release and transfer process of his inherited fund. Kindly be aware too that if the over-due fund if not claimed by the end of next quarter, the National Treasury and Bills of britain will take over the ownership of the fund in line with the National Edict Act of 2000. We do not want this to happen as it will not augur to our best interest, having worked all our lives in the banking sector, that is why I contacted you for us to do the deal together with absolute confidence, so that you will be portrayed as the bonafide beneficiary and an immediate next of kin to the deceased. I will give you further directives, advice and all needed information's required for this transaction as soon as I receive your positive response. Similarly, if you accept to carry out this transaction with us, we have resolved offering to you 30% of the total sum as commission, extra 10% of all proceeds to be generated from subsequent profit-viable. 5% of the total fund will be set aside to re-imburse all expenses incurred in this course of this transaction. This transfer will automatically be affected within 7 working days. Be rest assured that with the underground work i have laid so far, that this transaction carries no risk and no extra burdens on your part, except the above mentioned nominal roles you are required to fulfil and similarly will be required to maintain absolute information secrecy throughout the duration of this transaction, because discussing and exhibiting it with a third party might jeopardise the entire transaction.
I will give you directives and all needed information as soon as I receive your positive response. Kindly understand that we could not carry out this fund-transfer on our own, based on the simple facts that we are civil servants and presently bank staffs and this office excludes us from operating foreign accounts, moreover conducting such magnanimous transaction from the same place where we belong to/coming from will raise eyebrows on our side and the truth is that this fund belongs to a foreigner, and as such demands same as next of kin.I am looking forward to receiving your interesting response on this project as this will greatly enrich the both of us at the end. please you are required to reply this message as a matter of necessity.
MR ALI DONGO.
(Account Audithor B.O.A)
And my reply:
Dear Mr Dongo,
Felicitations from your grateful correspondent in England!
Your electronic missive reached me like a shaft of glorious sunshine in a very dark hour and has filled my heart with joy that there are such lovely, trustworthy people in the world who are at great pains to do good things and benefit others.
While I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of your client by plane crash I applaud your efforts to see that his financial estate is properly disposed of and I am willing to do all I can to assist you to this end. In short, Mr Dongo, I would be very willing to accept the money you so graciously offer me though I do, I admit, have a few concerns as to how its transfer to my holdings might be instigated.
You see Mr Dongo, due to a rather extravagant combine harvester accident 10 years ago I have since been closeted away in a nursing home, a broke and lonely man. I am virtually a paraplegic as my encounter with the combine harvester efficiently removed all of my limbs and my left ear making it impossible for me to wear normal glasses. I have had to have a special pair made that utilise the elastic from a pair of swimming goggles. I am told it looks ok but the elastic does tend to chafe my forehead. As I am unable to write in the normal way I must communicate with the world by tapping out words on a keyboard with a stick that I hold in my mouth. This is very time consuming – hence the long delay in my writing back to you. I do hope I am not too late and have not missed the gravy train.
Due to my disabilities all of my financial arrangements are handled by a trustee that I have employed for this purpose. Before my accident I was a famous racing car driver and had accrued a great personal fortune and I have been living off this for the last decade. So you see, I am used to handling great sums of money and would not be intimidated by the amounts involved in your proposed transaction. Unfortunately my accountant and indeed my Swiss bank manager – both rather sober fellows – might question a sudden influx of funds from Burkina Faso. Is there any way we can break up the money into smaller amounts that could be deposited into my account over a period of months? This would arouse far less suspicion. I must be careful not to attract attention from the authorities, you see, after I was accused of funding a diamond smuggling operation in South Africa a number of years ago. These accusations were entirely false I can assure you and my acquisition of gem stones since that time has been purely legal and without personal blemish on my part.
Regarding your proposal that I act as next of kin, I agree that this sounds the most expedite way in which to deal with your monetary problems. But I worry that it would be all too easy for my claim to be proved as false and my links to your diseased client proved as tenuous. To this end I will employ a legal expert with whom I have a long standing personal acquaintance and who, for reasons I do not wish to discuss, is not currently permitted to practice in the UK or Europe but is more than capable of providing me with all the necessary documents that will prove beyond any contestation my claim as next of kin to the diseased.
So much so I wonder if we might not renegotiate the 30% cut that you have so kindly offered me. As the legal next of kin I believe my cousin would rather the majority of his personal fortune stay within our close-knit family. To this end I wonder if 70% might not be a more realistic sum with 30% for your good self, Mr Dongo, to cover all of your administration costs? I am sure we can discuss this further and come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.
I shall sign off here as my jaw is beginning to ache. My stick is not padded, you see, and keeping my teeth clamped for such a long period of time has a detrimental effect upon my molars. My dentist has warned me never to attempt novel writing or he will run out of enamel.
Before I go though, Mr Dongo, I must ask one more question that is pressing heavily upon my mind. I am sure you have been asked this many times before but I am afraid I must presume on your goodwill and ask it once again: are you in any way related to Ali Bongo, the Great British entertainer and master magician of huge renown? Are you indeed a member of the magic circle? Do you know any decent card tricks? Maybe we could set up a web cam for a future interview and you could show me some sleight of hand during our warm negotiations. This would be sure to bring a smile to my face although I will be unable – through no fault of my own – to applaud your most sterling efforts.
I look forward to your illuminating response.
Yours most sincerely,
Sir Reginald Wormall, MBE, OBE.