I’m going to tell you a little story that began the night of July 15. Get comfy. Go ahead, I’ll wait...okay then.

I received the following letter in my inbox from a chap named David:

Hello,

I will like to seek your help in a business proposal, which although is sensitive by nature and not what Ishould discuss with someone I don’t know and have not met using a medium such as this but I do nothave a choice .

My name is Mr. David Sello; I am a banker in Republic of Benin, Africa. I am contacting you with respect to transfer the sum of ($10,000,000) Ten Million United States Dollar) deposited by a major supplier of Agricultural Equipments in West Africa named Dr. Hernandez who died few years ago of cardiac arrest in Republic of Benin.

After vivid investigation, I find out that the late depositor left his next of kin column empty when opening

the account with my bank because the bank law stimulates that after 5 years where the next of kin did not

appear for the claims, the fund will transfer into the government coffers.

to avert this negative development, I will like to seek for your permission as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Dr. Hernandez so that the fruits of this old man’s labour will not go into the government purse because they will use the money to sponsor themselves in politics and to enrich themselves.

Upon your interest in this, the money will be paid into your account for us to share in the ratio of 50% for me , 40% for you and 10% will be set aside for any expenses that will be incurred during this process, for you to know the reason why I am contacting you is because I CANNOT HANDLE THIS ALONE so i need someone that will act as the beneficiary and in twelve working days from now, this money will be in your account. Before the arrival of this money into your account whatever the expenses incurred will be deducted before we split the money.

There is no risk involve in this project, with my position in my bank I will make sure they make you the legal beneficiary and the legality of this project will correspond with local and international laws of inheritance.

All legal documents to aid you in claiming this fund and to prove your relationship with the deceased will be provided by me with the help of a local attorney that will represent you here in Benin. Your help will be appreciated with 40% of the total sum. Please accept my apologies and keep my confidence and disregard this letter if you do not appreciate this proposal I have offered you.

I anxiously wait for your urgent reply.

Best Regards

Mr. David Sello

Now, I’m a pretty suspicious person by nature, and I suspected this guy might not have my best interests at heart; so, I planned to round-file this letter like usual. However, as my finger hovered over the delete button, I had a change of heart. “Where’s your sense of charity?” I asked myself. And, not having a good answer for myself, I felt ashamed. Also, I had just started my vacation and had a couple of drinks on board. So, I wrote back:

Of course I will help! How shall we proceed?

My new friend and, apparently, business partner, was quick to respond:

Dear Prof. Chariotoflove,

Thanks for your prompt response I could have called you but you did not include your direct number for easy communication system, You don’t need to be related to the late depositor or bear the same last name; all I want from you is your assistance to stand in as a relative and I will do everything in my power to make them approve you as the beneficiary to this fund.

Why I am contacting you is because I know you are capable of helping and no one will investigate where this money is coming from and has nothing to do with fraud.

Late Dr. Hernandez Douglas died intestate and we have been unsuccessful in reaching any of his relatives all these years, his financial investment in my bank is in the tune of $10 Million USD. My bank is on the verge of declaring these funds unclaimable. Subsequently, it will be turned over to the government treasury. I personally do not want this to happen. This prompted my last attempt to search (through the internet) for any one with our client’s last name to partner with me to have the inheritance released, and with my position in the bank, we will achieve this successfully.

If you agree to participate this is the process which we have to follow, due to the fact that I work with the bank I will not want anyone to know that I am the one giving you whatever information they would require from you.

First thing first, before we begin this I want you to know that we have to put our hands together to do this because it will require some amount of money which I would not be able to handle alone and due to the fact that this money was deposited in a way that taxes would not be paid and that is why the government of my country is not aware of this money because if they know about this funds, they could have seized it and use it to enrich themselves, but with the situation of things in my country I can use part of my own share to help a lot of people and do some charity work which my government will not do.

For us to do this, you have to follow my instruction.

1. I will get you a lawyer here that will represent you to get whatever document they would require from us and I will find out what it will cost to get those documents when the time comes.

2. To proceed we have to pay an advance fee to the lawyer to do this for us because whatever we haveto do will require money to give tips to facilitate this deal with the help of the lawyer that will represent you here.

3. I will like if you keep this to yourself because this is the only chance we have to get this money into your account.

As soon as I hear from you to give me the go ahead then I will get in touch with the lawyer who will give me a claims application letter which I will send to you so that you can send to my bank and as soon as they receive it, they will get back to you and ask you to provide some documents showing your relationship with the late depositor, that is when the lawyer begin his job.

I will appreciate if you give me the opportunity to continue with this, I assure you 100% like I said in my previous email in less than 12 working days this money will be in your account and I will be in your country to know the kind of business I can invest in for a period of four years before taken back the money back to my country and use some of it to help the less privilege. I would like you to remember that all this money will be transferred into your account before we share it, Iwait for your mail to know if I should proceed to the next step and if you are not interested or comfortable still let me know so I can know where you stand.

Regards,

Mr. David Sello

Well, I wanted to help, but I ain’t no Daddy Warbucks. So, I wrote back.

My dear Mr. Sello,

Your plan sounds like a good one. However, I do not have many liquid funds available immediately to help you engage a lawyer. To prevent things from taking too long (after all, we must hurry before your government renders this money unclaimable and seizes it!), I suggest that you retain a good lawyer and get the paperwork started using whatever funds you have available. In the meantime, I will go through my parents’ attic looking for whatever valuables I can sell on eBay to raise the money for the fees. But don’t wait. Get started with the lawyer now. You can trust me 100% that I am good for the money. Eventually. Since you are clearly an upstanding and respected businessman in your community, I am sure that your word will be as good as credit until then.

My friend did not take this suggestion well.

Dear Prof. Chariotoflove,

Thanks for your mail; this business is 100% risk free and has nothing

to worry about, i want to assure you that if you follow my

instructions this will not take us more than 12 working days for the

money to hit your account.

This funds we are talking about is a bonded funds so there is no way I

can touch it because my bank know very well that I am not a relative

of the deceased customer and that is where you come in.

I work with Bank of Africa where the money is deposited and I know

what my people can do with this kind of money because if we did not

grab this opportunity, the government of my country will take this

money and share it among themselves and use it to sponsor themselves

in politics so that they can remain in power…… this has been going on

for many years and somebody have to say it is enough!

Doing this business with me is 100% risk free and I want to guarantee

you that we can get this money out of this shore without stressing

ourselves, your involvement is to stand as the next of kin to this

account and present an account where my bank will transfer the money

into and to assist me in every possible way till the money hit your

account. My bank will need an account when the time comes and i think

it will make a lot of sense if you setup an account with zero balance

where the money will be transfer through.

Why I am comfortable doing this business with you is because I have

prayed over it for some time and I am convince with the emails we have

exchange that when this money get into your account , you will not

leave me in the cold. all I need from you is your mutual trust and

understanding and in less than 12 working days from the day you fill

the claims application form, this money will be release to you because

my bank will be glad to see someone come forward to lay claims on this

fund instead of the money to go to the government coffers.

I am a family man with 3 children and a wonderful woman, I love them

so much that I cannot trade them for any amount of money in this

world; If this will raise an eye brow I will not involve myself, and

with God by our side within the better part of 12 working days this

transaction will be completed.

There is no way this transaction will be done without us investing

some amount of money but I believe we can handle it, this money is

coming to your account directly at first and then when you confirm it

in your account that is when I will send you an account where you will

send my own share of the money through.

I want to promise you everything will be fine and I will clear your

doubt if you give me the opportunity.

The lawyer mobilization fee is $700, let me know if you can come up

with this fee so I can instruct him to draft the claims application

form then we can begin the process, but if you cannot come up with

this fee I think it is better we put a stop here.

Let me know if we can proceed.

Mr. David Sello

N.B

Attached to this email is my work ID, and family pictures so you can

identify the person you are dealing with. I promise you will never

regret doing this business with me.

He attached to this email several photos of him with his family, including a company ID. He seemed like a really upstanding guy. I put my thinking cap on and came up with this:

David, don’t worry about a thing. We’re going to find a way to help those poor people in (what African country was that again?) with all that money. Here’s the plan:

I’m gonna raise the $700 on eBay. I found a bunch of my old Star Wars action figures in my parents’ attic. They’ve got to be worth a bundle, especially now that Disney has butchered the new films. Am I right? Anyway, I’m gonna list them, but we have to let it go a while. I have a friend who does this stuff all the time, and he says we have to list them for at least a week and a half to get a bidding war really going.

But here’s the really good part. I’ll put a buy-it-now price of $700, and in the description, I’ll say what we’re raising the money for. I’ll add some of those excellent pictures you sent me so people can really connect with our cause and know it’s for a noble purpose. Anyone with a heart is gonna want to click that buy now button and BAM!, just like that we’ll have our lawyer fee.

This is gonna work. I can feel it. Don’t you worry. I’m setting up the listing as we speak.

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David was not as patient with my plan as I had hoped.

Hello Prof. Chariotoflove,

This your email do not sounds like who is interested in this business

, please I will appreciate we put a stop if you cannot do this with me

, you sound like someone who does not have interest and I am not

saying you have to do this with me by force.

Thanks for the time , if you want to do this business with me I will know.

Mr. David Sello

Well, how do you respond to that slap in the face? Like this:

David, I am hurt and insulted! Remember that YOU contacted ME asking for help. Now, here I am having already put in considerable effort to your cause, and you want to cast me adrift? I think perhaps it is you who is not serious about this. Besides, the eBay listing is already up. Too late to back out now.

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David was contrite.

Hello Prof. Chariotoflove,

Sorry I misunderstood you I don’t really understand what you mean by eBay, this is Africa where our system of operations are still obselate , I admit my mistake and I will like you to understand that I am not trying to push you away from doing this business with me.

I have contacted the lawyer Barrister Abiodun George to draft the claims application form and send to me so that I cab forward it to you; this claims application form will be filled by you and you will email it back to me when completed so the lawyer can personally take it to my bank along with his letter of introduction, as soon as the form get to my bank I strongly believe they will contact you directly because they have been waiting for someone to come forward to lay a claim on this fund.

This deal will not take us more than 10 working days for the fund to hit your account.

If you have any question please feel free and ask me.

Thank you.

Mr. David Sello

Okay, so we were back on track. In fact, David was really worried he had hurt my feelings (he really is a sweet guy), because the next day:

Hello Prof. Chariotoflove,

How are you today I hope everything is fine with you and your family? I did not hear from you throughout yesterday , don’t tell me you are still angry with me, you dont need to be upset its just a mere misunderstandings so let proceed. I wait to hear from you soon.

Thanks and remain blessed.

Unfortunately, this is when disaster struck on my end.

David,

Big trouble! They came to my office. The IT department found out I was emailing with you. They said it was an inappropriate use of work email. They threatened to shut down my email account, but I had to warn you! This is probably the last time I will be able to communicate with you. They are sure that you are some kind of internet scammer, and they said they would refer your email address to some kind of Interpol task force on cyber crime. Of course, I know you are legit, but I fear they may report you to your government. And we both know what that means. You will lose your job and all that money, maybe even arrest you. They may be coming for you even now. Run David, RUN!

P.S: it’s too bad this fell apart, because I was soooo close to having the $700 we needed.

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Never heard from the guy again. I hope he got out of town okay. I was a little worried for his safety. Moral of the story: no good deed goes unpunished.

Thanks for reading. Have a pic of the car I would have bought with my share for your time.