You've seen them before. They're one of the many spam letters you delete every day. These e-mails, pecked out in choppy English, purporting some remarkably disastrous story of loss and hate and death and chaos and, of course, most importantly, money. The writer is from Africa. He heard about you from somewhere. He thinks you can help him retrieve an obscene amount of money, for which he'll reimburse you handsomely. He wants your bank account information. He wants to call you on the phone.

If you give in, he'll set up the monetary exchange, and then something will go wrong. He'll need to bribe a government official, or pay for some bank procedure. Before you know it, you're shelling out money to him, so that he'll eventually get money back to you. Sometimes, you catch on after losing thousands of dollars. Sometimes, you go to Africa to meet with him -- and that's when he kidnaps you, holds you for ransom, and sometimes kills you.

It's no joke. They're called Nigerian 419 scams, named after the relevant article in the Nigerian Penal Code. They're deadly serious men on awful, illegal ventures. They want to rob you blind, and they're counting on your stupidity.

But, here's the kicker: they're pretty stupid themselves.

After all, they're desperate. They want your money, they've gotten it from your fellow countrymen, and they're smug and confident that they're going to get it from you as well. And so, they'll eat up whatever story you throw at them. They'll bend over backwards for you. They are fools -- dangerous fools, but fools all the same.

I decided to play with one of them, just to see how far they'd let my story go. This is what happened. I assure you, every single word of this e-mail exchange is unchanged and completely true.

It all started on July 29...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: From Davis Andani....
Date: 7/29/2003 12:43:08 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: davis_andani02@yahoo.fr
To: knulprek@aol.com

From.:Davis Andani
Abidjan, Ivory Coast West Africa.

My Dear;

Permit me to inform you of my desire going into business relationship with you. I got your name and contact from a friend pastor who I believe is a member of your site, On my discussion with him to introduce me to a trust worthy person, But I did not disclose this transaction to him due to it nature, After giving me your contact I prayed over it due to its esteeming nature and recommendation given to me as a reputable and trust worthy person that I can do business with and by the recommendation, I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere.

I am Mr Davis Andani the only son of late Chief & Mrs Yakubu Andani, My father was very wealthy Diamond merchant in Accra the economic capital of Ghana, He was poisoned to death by his business associates, My mother died when I was a baby and since then, I and my younger sister was brought up by our late father, Before the death of my father earlier October last year 2002 in a private hospital here in Abidjan. He secretly called me on his bed side and told me that he has been poisoned by his partner because of a big profit they made from their last business trip to Congo, On noticing a compromising attitude from his partner he decided to deposit the money i.e. USD 4.5.M (Four million five hundred thousand United States Dollars only) in fixed suspense deposit account in one of the prime bank here in Abidjan, And he use my name as the only son as the next of kin, He further told me that the money was deposited on a three years fixed deposit contract with 12% annual interest, that it was because of this wealth he was poisoned by his partner, Now that he is dieing that I should seek for a foreign partner in a country of my choice were I will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose.

Dear, I am honourably seeking your assistance in the following ways (1) To provide into which this money will be transfer to, (2) To serve as our guardian ,(3) To help us make arrangement for me and my sister to come over to your country to further our education before joining any business venture. Moreover, I am willing to offer you 15% of the total sum as compensation for your effort/input for the successful of this transaction , Further more, Please indicate your option towards assisting me as I believe that this transaction would be concluded within (7)days you signify your interest to assist us,Anticipating to hear from you soon,Thanks and God bless.

Best Regards

Davis Andani.
Please contact me through my private email :
davisandan01@yahoo.fr / Tel:+225.07.43.76.28

* * * * * * * * * *

I know what you're thinking. Who could fall for that? Seriously. How dumb are people? The answer, I'm afraid, is pretty dumb. People fall for these things all the time.

And so, i write this back...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: From Davis Andani....
Date: 7/29/2003 12:56:23 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Mr. Andani,

I am so terribly sorry to hear of your father's illness. My father once had a severe illness as well, and we all kneeled by his bedside and sang songs of sorrow, one more tearful than the next, until his severe constipation had passed. Mr. Andani -- Davis, may I call you? -- I cannot tell you the relief I felt when he relieved himself, even if it was in his own bed. Those sheets were washed with our tears of joy.

Davis, I am interested in your venture, as the economy here is sluggish and it is becoming more and more difficult to come across $4.5 million. I also have very strong connections to Yale University, one of our premier schools here in America, and would happily see to it that you and your sister be admitted. With the right amount of money, anybody can go to Yale. Our president proves that, rest assured!

How do you want to proceed from here?

Here's to a glorious business venture,
John Elton

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Thanks for your response: From Davis Andani...
Date: 7/29/2003 2:03:56 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John Elton,

Thank you very much for your response, and for your decision to fully assist us, But most importantly,I want you to show your credibility promise that you will be honest and trustworthy to us during our relationship with you,I believe i could trust you.

Secondly,you have to keep this business transaction confidential between you and me for our safety because the people that killed our father is after us,so i would love to transfer the money with your name into your personal account for self-keeping, because the money was deposited by my late father in the bank with my name as the next of kin.

Dear John, Let me be open to you,this money is a legally acquired money by my late father,he is an internatoinal export and import of Diamond Dealer,This is a risk free transaction,It is not a DRUG money OR MONEY laundering,It is my father's hard earned money and i am the only son,that is why he deposited it with my name as the next of kin before he died, So you should not entertain any fear,I am giving you the guaranteed that you will smile in later days nown.

Also, i promise to give you 15% for your kind assistance, so feel free to bring the neccessary informations so that we can proceed immediately,As soon as the money enter your account me and my sister will come over to your country and you will help us open an account in one of the good bank in USA ,That is why we nedeed your assistance now.

Also,I will like you to invest this money into real estate management or hotel management or any of your choice, So what i want you to do now immediately you receive this message is to forward your contact address, telephone and fax numbers including your bank informations, Including an application for immediate transfer of the money to your account, Just send it direct to the bank so that they will transfer the money immediately to your account.

This afternoon after reading your mail i met with the bank manager and told him about you that you are our late father's business asociate that based in USA, that presently you are our guaidian who want to help us receive this money on our behalf for investment purpose, He advice that you should forward all the above informations to the bank immediately so that they will start proccessing your transfer: the bank contact is as follows:

TRUST BANK LIMITED ABIDJAN COTE D'IVOIRE.
TELEPHONE :+225. 05 06 69 18
FAX :+225. 21 27 96 86
EMAIL : trustbanklimited_tbl@africamail.com

Above is the bank contact were you will send all the requested informations, Also call me on +225.0743.7628 very important for us to discuse every thing in detail. Awaiting your call, if you are intrested to assist us feel free to call me as soon as you receive this message, Awaiting to hear from you.

Thanks and God bless you.
Davis Andani.

NB: I SEND YOU THE ATTACHMENT OF STATEMENT OF THE ACCOUNT, AND OUR PICTURE CONFIRM TO ME IF YOU RECEIVE.

* * * * * * * * * *

Oh, ha ha! Look at the "sister!" He absolutely took those off the Internet at random. This keeps getting better.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: Thanks for your response: From Davis Andani...
Date: 7/29/2003 2:50:26 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis,

Oh, be still my heart, your sister is a beautiful goddess! Only in my dreams do I see women with such grace, such skin, such lips! Oh, Davis, such lips! She could eat me up and spit me out with those lips, and I would be as happy as I would be lumpy. I often wonder what the Sirens looked like -- those rare and beautiful creatures that almost lured Odysseus with their intoxicating song -- and I believe she may be one! But she does not eat men's souls and leave their bones along the sand of Greek islands, does she? Ha ha! Of course not. I joke, Davis! How I do joke! But seriously, is she single? Is she available? Does she like me?

Oh, good sir, you told your bank manager that I was a business partner of your father! I will soon transfer all the information you need, but I am concerned: I do not even know your father's name! What if someone contacts me and asks about him? What should I say? What if they ask questions, to make me prove I knew him? I should know his name, at least, and perhaps his favorite meal? Then I could say, "Yes, we went to dinner, because he loves (his favorite meal)." You see? Please, I need more information, so I can be ready.

I am glad you spoke to your bank manager, though. I too spoke of you today, to my friend at Yale. (Don't worry. I described you only as a rich friend I met during my travels to Egypt.) He wonders what classes you would be interested in taking, and I wonder now as well. Are you interested in foreign relations? Investment banking? These seem to be your specialities! And your glorious sister, what shall she learn? She has obviously taken Being So Very Beautiful 101!

I look forward to your response, and to a wonderful business dealing.

Thank you,
John

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Thanks for your kind assistance..
Date: 7/29/2003 3:58:46 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Good evening, Thank you very much for your mail,Also your kind assistance towards assisting me and my sister to come over over to your country and secure our life, As per my sister, she is single of 20years old female, And she is a God fearing person as all our family is well nown christian, Again, i want her to study Economics while i am into Business Admin, Anyway that should be when we come over to USA then we can discuse more about that.

Our only problem here now is to get this money out of here because we are staying in one of the local hotel here in Abidjan, And we are accumlating a lot of expencises, accormodation, feeding etc, that is why i want this money to transfer to your account so that you can send some money from our money for us to get our selfes ready and come over to USA, Because when we came here i took all the documents that my late father gave to me as proove, and went to the Trust Bank Abidjan were the money was deposited.

They told me that my father deposited the money in a suspence account and use my name as the next of kin, That no body has right to withdraw unless the money gets to a floating account, so sir, that is why i contacted you for you to help me provide an account were this money will be transfer to, So i will like you to handle this very fast because we are in short of cash, Again you know my junior sister is a small girl any time she remember about our father death she will be crying disturbing me, I even preffer if you can help me to complette her traveling documents so she can come over first and stay with you, then you will be advicing her to take heart, she cant listening to me, then afer the succesfull transfer of the money to your account, then i can come over.

Every day when she finished crying she will be feeling headache so my dear John, Just try as much as can to help us..

As per our father, i have already explain every thing about you to the manager i feel they will not ask you any other question, but anyway here is our father name: CHIEF YAKUBU ANDANI, We are indigins of Federal Republic of Ghana, But cote d' ivoire is our nearby country that is why my father deposited the money there, and no body knows that he deposited such amount on our behalf, Accept me and my sister.

Well sir, i will like you to call us on phone so that you will speak with her also and advice her to take heart, Also for me to detail you every thing one by one..

She is extending her greetings to you, She said that she need your picture, Also i will need your phone number for easy comunication.

Thanks and God bless you.
Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

This is perfect. To scam a scammer, you need a reasonable story with its own built-in plot. The sister is just right.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: Thanks for your kind assistance..
Date: 7/29/2003 6:56:31 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis,

Wonderful, how wonderful all this sounds! I cannot wait for us to meet in person. If your sister can come in advance of you, that would be truly perfect. I will be a shoulder to weep on, a friend to adore. Oh, those lips, to kiss them just once! It is a fantasy come true. You did not tell me, though, if she is single. She is not married, I do hope! Please, tell me this is true.

I have enclosed a picture of me, for her. It is of me at my office, busy working as usual! Please, tell me what she thinks. I am so anxious.

I will make all necessary arrangements with the bank, and will call you soon. I am so sorry I have not been able to do it yet, but I do not want to call at work, and by the time I got home, I feared you and your sister were soundly asleep in your hotel room. I was afraid to wake you, since you said your sister cries at night, and her sleep must be precious. I am sorry to keep you there so long! Is it at least a nice hotel room? Does it have cable television? I only stay in hotel rooms with cable, because I love watching the Discovery Channel. I am practically an expert on small bugs and hippopotamuses, just from the television! Ask me anything about them, and I can surely tell you. Do you have the Discovery Channel in Ghana?

Your father was a chief! I am so honored to be helping royal family. Tomorrow, when the time is right, my boss will go to lunch and I will run out and start making calls to ensure that your luscious sister can come as soon as possible. Will it be OK if she stays in my house, instead of a hotel room? I am just wondering.

Please, tell me before tomorrow what your sister thinks of my picture. I am very nervous sending my image to such a delicious woman. I do hope her eyes gaze fondly upon me. How I want to look back into those eyes! But if she looks at me and is not interested, I do not think I can follow through on this plan. I must know before I make my arrangements tomorrow. Be honest, Davis. I can handle the truth. Does she love me?

Thank you, Davis. This is all so exciting.

God bless you indeed,
John.

* * * * * * * * * *

And this was the picture i sent:

(viewers of CSPAN might recognize that sad excuse for a man as Republican Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, best know for being the Capitol Hill Homophobe)

He may be a bastard in America, but Rick was good enough to please Davis's "sister."

On the morning of the day two, he responds:

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: We have received your mail and your nice picture..
Date: 7/30/2003 8:42:03 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Good morning, Thank you very much for your mail, I have carefully read your mail and the contents well understood, Sir, i told you that my sister is single, And i showed your picture to her and she is very happy to see your nice looking pic, She said that she will like to meet you in USA stay in your house till i come over, I also asked her weather she love you as you demanded, and she told me that she will not say yes like that as she has never stay with you for the first time, she don't know your life etc.. that she have to know you well she will, consinder, Also that she want to see you face to face, Well that should be later...

As per the hotel were we are staying, the hotel is a local hotel, well they have tv but they don't have much channels but we are managing it like that as we don't have much money to pay for big hotel, Again, I will like you to call me any time you feel i will pick up the phone, don't mind.

When you call me we will discuse on her traveling arrangments, Also have you contacted the bank here for the transfer? confirm to me.. Again, i told you that i need your telephone number and your contact address, but you did not send it to me why? .

Yes i forget to tell you her name, Her name is ANGELA LINDA ANDANI, And she is extending her greetings to you, she is with me right now in the computer.

Well we are waiting for your call.

Thanks and God bless you

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

At the suggestion of my girlfriend, I explain myself with a cheap 'wrong number' excuse...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: We have received your mail and your nice picture..
Date: 7/30/2003 10:56:14 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis,

You are truly a blessing. I am aroused to hear of your sister's interest in coming to stay with me at my house, and am relieved that she found my picture acceptable. I lost much sleep over this last night, and finally fell into a deep dream in which she floated like an angel, embracing me as we laughed and laughed and laughed. Oh, her laugh must be glorious music! The sweetest song is nothing compared to even her smallest chortle. This I know is true.

Can she write me, please? You tell me she is sitting with you, seeing my messages, witnessing my love grow blossom like the wonderous amorphophallus titanum flower. Have you heard of such a flower? I learned about it on the Discovery Channel. Anyway, I would like to read some words typed from her slender fingers, if she would be so kind. She is so very smart and elegant, saying her love cannot be true without meeting me in person. Tell me, what does she like to do, so that I can plan the perfect date when she gets here. Does she like bowling? I have taken many American women bowling, and we always have an exquisite time.

My boss left for a meeting this morning, so I quickly tried to call you, but perhaps I dialed the wrong number? A man picked up and spoke in a language I had never heard before. Our conversation went like this:

Me: "Davis, it is me, John!"

Man: "Zhahya labmat hinjuni." (I made those words up)

Me: "What?"

Man: "Hinjuni." (Also that one)

Me: "Davis, stop joking, please."

Man: "Graljiki dhabai whaltapopob." (I made these words up, too.)

Me: "I am so sorry, I don't understand you."

And then I hung up. Was that you, Davis? I know you need this to be secret, but I think we need to talk on the phone. Were you being watched? Is that why you did not speak to me in English?

Tell me, I called 225.0753.7628. Is this the right number? Maybe it is not. That would be embarassing.

I spoke to my bank, and they said all the necessary paperwork would take a day to complete. That made me angry, and I tried to speed them along, but they said that overseas bank accounts are sometimes difficult to access, especially since you are in such a different time zone. I hope you have the time to wait a day, as I know you are anxious to move on with your life here in America. Tell me, Davis, if your sister moves into my house, where will you live? I am just wondering.

Anyway, please, I will call you again but I must know if I have the correct number. I hope you answer my questions, and I look forward to hearing from you, my new business partner, and your sister, the apple of my eye.

Thank you,
John.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Our Number is +225.07.43.76.28
Date: 7/30/2003 11:35:14 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Thank you again for your mail again, First of all the number you dial is not our number, our number is:

+225.07.43.76.28 i repeat +225.0743.7628 please.

You dial 53 instead of 43, Anyway try to correct it, Also i will tell Angela to write you this evening, Just call me i will be waiting your call, Also forget not to include your telephone and contact address in your next mail....

Awaiting you call, Thanks and God bless you.

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

Sniff sniff. Smells like desperation, and Davis reeks of it. I'm beginning to wonder if he's an amatuer scammer, especially after he swallows this next e-mail...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: Our Number is +225.07.43.76.28
Date: 7/30/2003 12:26:41 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis,

I am so sorry I confused your phone number. I wonder who I called! Perhaps I will call and apologize. How do you say "I am sorry" in your language?

I very much look forward to hearing from Angela. She has become the wind under my wings, the air in my lungs, the blood in my veins. Please, I have written her a poem, and I want her to read it before I call you. I am a poet, you see. I write poetry while on business trips, but I was so inspired by her radiance and delightful deliciousness that I had to write one now.

Please, tell me what she thinks before I call. I will wait.

Here it is:

--------------------
Angela, beauty
By John Elton

You will be mine
You are so fine
Soon we will dine
We will drink wine

You will come here
We will be near
Please do not fear
My whisper in your ear

I proclaim my love
You fit like a glove
Puzzle pieces don't shove
We're peace like a dove

Angela will be
Angela next to me
Angela will see
Angela, beauty
--------------------

Please, I await your response.

Thank you,
John.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: From Davis..
Date: 7/30/2003 1:12:54 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Thank you for your mail again, Well i have show the poem to my sister and she was very happy to see that, She will be emailing you as soon as possible throug her private mail box.

Thanks and God bless, Awaiting your call.

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

And wouldn't you know it, Angela appears! I laughed out loud when this showed up in my inbox...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: IS ME ANGELA LINDA ANDANI
Date: 7/30/2003 1:49:33 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: angebaby2002@hotmail.com
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

BONJOURE MY DEAR JOHN, IS ME ANGELA GOOD EVENING, MY BROTHER SHOWED ME  YOUR MAIL AND POEM IT IS VERY INTRESTING, I SEE YOUR PICTURE IT LOOKS VERY NICE AND I AM HAPPY TO BE WITH YOU, MY BROTHER TOLD ME YOU LIVE IN USA I WILL LIKE TO COME TO USA TO SEE YOU OR CAN YOU COME HERE? PLEASE I WANT SEE YOU TELL ME HOW WILL I SEE YOU. HOW IS USA? GREET EVERY BODY IN USA .I LOVE YOU, BYEE.

ANGELA LINDA ANDANI.

THANK YOU.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: IS ME ANGELA LINDA ANDANI
Date: 7/30/2003 2:28:02 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: angebaby2002@hotmail.com

Angela darling,

It is cloudy outside and may rain soon, but you have brightened my day so much that I may go blind! I am so glad to hear from you, and I will tell everyone in USA that you say hello, just as you asked. I told my co-worker that you say hello, and he said, "Who is she?" and I just smiled and grinned and he said, "Oh, you must be in love." And I think I am, Angela. Your words pierce my very soul.

Tell me, Angela, what would you like to do when you come to America? I want to take you out, and show you a good time. Do you enjoy bowling? I am a very good bowler. One time, I bowled a 134 score. That is very good, if you did not know! Or, we could drive and I will show you the sights, and then we will make out in the back of my car. Do you like that?

Tell me, Angela, do you know how to cook? Because I do not, and it would be wonderful to have a woman around to cook for me. Most nights, I either eat out or I make a grilled cheese sandwich at home. Do you have grilled cheese sandwiches in Ghana? They are tasty.

Angela, I want to be honest with you. I recently saw the movie Terminator 3, and in that movie, two lovers were brought together by both fate and an indestructable robot from the future. The movie spoke to me, because I feel like sometimes my world is going to collapse, and yet I know that something will happen to keep me going. That 'something' is your brother, and he has brought me together with you. So, you see, the prophecy of T3 has come true. This is why I am so forward with you. I know this is meant to be.

Please, tell me what you want to do in America, and I will begin making arrangements.

Love,
John.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: BONJOURE MY DEAR JOHN
Date: 7/30/2003 4:03:05 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: angebaby2002@hotmail.com
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

BONJOURE MY DEAR JOHN, I RECEIVED YOUR NICE EMAIL AGAIN AND MY BROTHER IS IN THE HOUSE WAITING YOUR CALL, YES I WANT TO COME TO USA TO FINISH MY SCHOOL BECAUSE I WANT TO CONTINUE MY SCHOOL BECAUSE MY FATHER ADVICE US TO FINISH OUR SCHOOL BEFORE JOINING ANY BUSINESS VENTURE, EVEN MY BROTHER WILL CONTINUE SO PLEASE HELP US IMMEDIATELY MY BROTHER TRANSFER MY FATHER'S MONEY TO YOUR ACCOUNT HE WILL COME TO USA AND STAY WITH US. I KNOW HOW TO COOK AFRICAN FOOD LIKE, RICE, YAM, SOUP, VEGTABLE, AND EVERY THING, I LIKE TO EAT MEATPIE, BUSCUIT,CHICKEN,AND EVERY THING, I LIKE SPORTS, LIKE VOLLEYBALL,BASKET, GOLF, MANY MANY SPORTS I LIKE. WHEN I COME TO USA YOU WILL SHOW ME EVERY WERE AND I WILL GREAT ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND YOUR MOTHER AND BROTHER, DID YOU HAVE SISTERS AND BROTHERS? WILL YOU TAKE ME TO BEACH, SPORTS HALL, AND MANY OTHER GOOD GOOD THINGS IN USA??. WHEN WILL YOU COME TO TAKE ME? I HAVE ASK MY BROTHER HE SAID THAT YOU HAVE NOT DECIDE YET, WILL YOU COME HERE? I NEED INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT BECAUSE THE ONE I HVE IS ECOWAS PASSPORT AND IS FOR WEST AFRICA ONLY, I ASKED MY BROTHER HE SAID THAT I CANT USE IT TO TRAVEL TO USA, IF YOU WANT TO COME PLEASE GET NEW PASSPORT AND VISA FOR ME SO WE CAN GO TOGETHER. IF MY BROTHER GIVE MONEY TOMORROW I WILL BUY CREDIT IN CYBER CAFE AND EMAIL YOU AGAIN, PLEASE EMAIL ME WHEN YOU WILL COME, I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH BECAUSE YOU CARE FOR US.

I AM MISSING YOU MY DEAR, GOOD NIGHT I WILL DREAM OF YOU, I KISS YOU BYEEE

ANGELA LINDA ANDANI.

* * * * * * * * * *

Oh yes, Angela! I can't wait to eat your yams and meatpies! Yikes. Anyway, I decide to respond to Angela the next day, and when I check my e-mail on the morning of day three, i've got a nervous Davis waiting for me...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Any thing rong ????
Date: 7/31/2003 7:48:55 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Good morning sir, Please what is happening? I waited your call yesterday evening and i did not hear from you, even this morning there is no mail from your side, Is any thing rong over your side? Please email me, Have you contacted the bank here??

Awaiting your urgent response, Thanks and God bless you.

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

But screw Davis. I'm writing to Angela.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: BONJOURE MY DEAR JOHN
Date: 7/31/2003 9:20:50 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: angebaby2002@hotmail.com

Angela,

It is so wonderful to know you are a sports fan. I will take you to all the exciting sporting games, and you will cook wonderful meals of yam and meatpies for me. I will buy you an extra alarm clock so you can wake up early and make me a breakfast meatpie before I go to work every morning. It will have bacon and eggs in it, and you can put in yams if you think that will be delicious. I think it would!

Angela, lover, babydoll, darling of my miserable life, you tasty morsel of a woman, I must know something. I was speaking to a friend yesterday and I mentioned only that I had a new business deal in Africa, and he asked me about the "Nigerian 419 scam." He said there are people who want to take my money and they will lie to get it. Is that true? Are there people in Africa like that? How awful that must be. I will get you away from those people as soon as I can. I know you are not from those scams, because you are not Nigerian, right? But tell me, have you heard of them?

I eagerly await your response, my honey sweetness.

Love,
John.

* * * * * * * * * *

And then, just to let him know the score...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: Any thing rong ????
Date: 7/31/2003 12:32:37 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis! Your sister has not written me in hours! Does she not love me anymore? What is happening? I am afraid. Please advise.

John.

* * * * * * * * * *

Normally, the responses to my e-mails were always extremely prompt. (If only my friends were as quick to respond as an African scammer!) So, when I didn't hear back from Davis/Angela in a few hours, I assumed i scared him away with the "Nigerian 419" comment, and began reporting all his information to various authorities. E-mail and phone number went to the U.S. government, and Davis's e-mail addresses were all reported to abuse@yahoo.fr. (Technically, the angebaby2002@hotmail.com account hadn't done anything wrong, so I couldn't report it. Oh well.) And then, much to my surprise, the scammer gets desperate and Angela shows up again...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: BONSOIR MY DEAR JOHN
Date: 7/31/2003 4:04:56 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: angebaby2002@hotmail.com
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

BONSOIR MY DEAR JOHN, I AM CONFUSED TODAY BECAUSE MY BROTHER IS NOT HAPPY ATALL YESTERDAY YOU SAID THAT YOU WILL CALL US BUT YOU DID NOT, MY DEAR WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY NIGERIA 419? DID I TOLD YOU THAT I AM A NIGERIAN? MY DEAR I AM CONFUSED, MY BROTHER WENT TO THE CHAPEL THIS NIGHT THAT IS WHY I HAVE TIME TO EMAIL YOU NOW BECAUSE HE TOLD ME THAT YOU ARE NOT A SERIOUS PERSON THAT YOU ARE JUST PLAYING WITH US, IS IT TRUE? IF IS TRUE IS NOT GOOD, MY BROTHER IS NOT HAPPY ATALL WITH YOU BUT I WANT TO COME TO USA PLEASE. I DONT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO EMAIL YOU BUT TOMORROW I WILL COLLECT MONEY FROM HIM AND EMAIL YOU OK..

GOOD NIGHT I STILL LOVE YOU, I KISS YOU BYE ANGELA LINDA ANDANI.

* * * * * * * * * *

Alright. I'm amazed that the mention of the scam didn't scare Davis/Angela off. Let's see if they stick around when i let it slip that i know the story about the father is fake. (Refresher: in Davis's first e-mail, he told me his father had been poisoned. I did a little research, and the man he said is his father, "Yakubu Andani," was actually a tribal leader who was killed in 2002 -- but he was shot to death in a bloody seige. Read about it here and here.)

Anyway...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: BONSOIR MY DEAR JOHN
Date: 7/31/2003 5:48:04 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: angebaby2002@hotmail.com

Angela, my sweet, bonsoir!

I do not understand your brother's anger. I am simply getting to know you better before we proceed. Have you ever heard of a man calling a woman without getting to know her? I have certainly not. Perhaps our customs are different. For that, I do apologize! But please, do not let him say I am not a real man. I am a real man, indeed, and I will show you how real when you come to my house in America.

Angela, I do not believe in this Nigerian 419 scam. Of course you are not Nigerian. You are straight from heaven, as far as I am concerned! I am sorry to have brought it up.

You seem so interested in getting to know my culture, so I want to learn some of yours. I found information about your late father, and heard the rumors of the men that attacked his home, and that some said he was -- I am so sorry to bring this up -- beheaded1 I almost fainted when I read that! And yet, your uncle Alhasan says he was shot with bullets, and your brother Davis says he was poisoned! Oh, all the stories and rumors, no wonder you are so confused and sad.

But this will cheer you up! I went to a store called Victoria's Secret today and bought you a very sexy nightie. I didn't know your size, so I bought 15, all in different sizes. I hope you like red. I think you will look delightful in it -- and even better out of it, if you know what I mean!

Tell me, Angela, can you calm your brother down? I am nervous to deal with him when he is angry.

You are the love of my pathetic little life,

John.

* * * * * * * * * *

Day four. I didn't scare him away. In fact, Davis/Angela doesn't even mention it.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: From Davis..
Date: 8/1/2003 7:44:06 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Good morning, i have received your mail but what is happening why you are not showing any seriousness again towards this transaction? Are you not intrested again in assisting us? Please get back to me because i am worried.

Again, But after i go back i will give her money to come and write you don't worry, But i still asking why can't you call me on phone anymore as you promised?? even the information i am asking you since, Just to bring your contact you refuse you are not evening talking of that why?? please tell me if you are serious, i am not saying that you must help me ok.

Well email me back. Thanks and God bless you.

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

At this point, i feel like this should get wrapped up. The joke is essentially over. Davis is going to realize i have no intentions of calling him, and then he'll move on to some new unsuspecting dope.

But, i assign myself a new goal: I have to end this, but I can't just scare them away. Instead, I have to make them give up on me.

So I think, well, I need to turn him off, and what turns people off in America? Of course, the answer is clear: the lyrics of everyone's favorite celebrity sing-a-long...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: From Davis..
Date: 8/1/2003 9:56:54 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis,

There comes a time when we need a certain call, like my phone call, yes? When the world must come together as one, from America to Africa? I know there are people dying -- your father, and God can only hope, not you or Angela. And so, oh, and it's time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all!

We can't go on pretending day by day that someone, somehow will soon make a change. We're all a part of God's great big family. And the truth -- you know love is all we need, and that is why I love Angela so very much.

We are the world, Davis. We are the children. Do you understand what I mean?

John.

* * * * * * * * * *

Then, better late then never, Angela chimes back in...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: TO MY DEAREST JOHN
Date: 8/1/2003 12:51:48 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: angebaby2002@hotmail.com
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

MY DEAREST JOHN, I HAVE TALK TO MY BROTHER AND HE UNDERSTAND ME HE SAID THAT HE WILL EMAIL YOU WHEN HE COME BACK FROM THE BANK. YOU SAID THAT YOU BOUGHT NIGHTIE FOR ME? IS VERY INTRESTING BUT YOU COULD HAVE LEAVE ALL THAT FIRST TILL YOU SEE ME BEFORE BUYING BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW MY CHOICE AND SIZE, BUT HOW ARE YOU ARRANGING MY CORMING TO USA? I TOLD YOU THAT I NEED INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT,THEN WHEN I GET IT I WILL SEND IT TO YOU THEN YOU WILL PUT VISA AND BUY TICKET FROM USA AND SEND TO ME SO THAT I WILL START CORMING OVER. PLEASE I DONT WANT TO STAY HERE AGAIN, HERE IS TOO HOT AND I AM NOT FEEDING FINE HERE AND WE DONT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BE TAIKING CARE OF OUR SELF VERY WELL, MOSQUITO IS TOO MUCH PLEASE HELP TO GET ME OUT OF HERE. PLEASE EMAIL ME AGAIN MY BROTHER WILL EMAIL YOU IF HE COME BACK FROM BANK. AND I NEED TO BUT MY BODY CREAM AND HAIR CREAM, INCLUDING WRIST WATCH, CHAIN, BANGLE PLEASE BOUGHT IT FOR ME. BYE I STILL LOVE YOU JOHN. ANGELA LINDA ANDANI.

* * * * * * * * * *

And then Davis seems relatively unphased after the "We are the world" lyrics.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: From Davis..
Date: 8/1/2003 3:05:49 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Thank you very much for your mail, i am just coming back from bank to know if there is any other solution the bank will proffer to help us out, But was told that the manager is not on seat that every thing should be on monday.

Also, please explain to me exactly what is happening, if you are not intrested in assisting me regards the transfering the money to your account just feel free to let me know.

Today, My junior sister tell all About what you write to her, well i have understand all waht you said, and i have accepted her plead, i have to understand her because i lover her soo much and i took her so special, so go ahead.. Awaiting your response. Thanks and GOd bless you.

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: From Davis..
Date: 8/1/2003 4:48:11 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis,

All this pressure, my good man! I am very confused by all of this. First, you present me with your beautiful sister, who is like an orgasm personified. Then, you do not give me a chance to get to know her -- she writing me asking how I will pay for her flight, you writing me asking how I will connect with your bank! Some part of me -- please, forgive me for saying this! -- believes that you are more interested in my money than my friendship and, for Angela, my love.

I do adore Angela, please understand, I do. She is such a diamond in the rough -- the true golden egg. But you see, it is such a large step to bring her to America without us knowing each other! What if, for instance, she does not like Barbara Streisand? Did you know I listen to her every night when I go to bed? I cannot sleep without my Funny Girl! What would Angela do if my Babs was not her Babs? This would not be Bab-tastic... it would be nightbabsmare!

And what if Angela's farts smell? Do you know this? I would be disgusted if this were the case. Or what if she takes an hour in the shower? I need to go to work in the morning! I can't have some woman taking up all my bathroom space! These are things I need to know before we can proceed, my good man. Have some faith. All in due time. I am still exploring, if you know what I mean.

Davis, have you ever courted a woman? Have you ever taken her to a nice restaurant, and then let the glory of the moonlight shine upon her naked bosom as you frollick in the sand? I have not done this, because it takes too much effort. I usually taken women to Taco Bell, and then we go bowling. Do you see what I'm saying? I'm very particular. I can't just have some woman showing up at my house. She has to be the perfect woman. Angela is doing good, but she hasn't passed all the tests yet. I hope she will. Then we can start talking about plane reservations.

I trust you to tell her this in a loving way, since I do not think she could bare to hear these words from me. But if she agrees, then we will continue like this for a few more months, and then when the time is right, if things go well, we will meet and enjoy life like a couple of rich hobos. Is this your dream? It is mine. Just me, my woman, a bottle of cheap wine and the Mississippi River. I'm chasing that dream like a mad man, Davis, and nothing will stop me.

Thank you for your understanding.

John.

* * * * * * * * * *

Day five. Is Davis willing to stick it out for months until the pathetically lonely and picky John Elton is willing to embrace Angela? I check my inbox in the morning, and he's there...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: From Davis..
Date: 8/2/2003 8:07:42 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Good day sir, i have carefully read your mail and understand very well, My good brother there is no problem all what you suggest is my wish, I have also asked my junior sister and she said that she like you, But the problem is that she wants to see you and stay one on one with you, My good brother, i am here for you, Just go ahead and do anyhow you want it I will be trying my best to make sure that my sister is giving you messege.

So my brother i will be waiting to hear from you, Thanks and God bless you and your family.

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

I can't believe this. I just can't shake him. Well,  i wait until day six, and with the help of my girlfriend, whip this next e-mail up. We'll see how it works...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: From Davis..
Date: 8/3/2003 12:16:49 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: davisandan01@yahoo.fr

Davis,

Thank you for your understanding. First, here is a list of things I need answered about Angela:

1. Do her feet smell?
2. Does she toss and turn in bed?
3. Can she really cook yams?
4. What is her favorite color?
5. If she were a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would it be?
6. If she could meet any one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
7. Is she more like a bird or a lizard?
8. If she had to step into any color of jell-o, what color would it be?
9. Does she give good foot massages?
10. How well groomed is she below the waist?
11. If she had to pluck hairs from a part of my body, which part would it be and why?
12. Can she bend like a pretzel?
13. Is she prone to camel toes?
14. Does she dance like a fly girl?
15. Would you categorize her as a synthetic sponge or a natural sea sponge?
16. When she cries, do her tears turn to gold?
17. Does she use woolite on delicates?
18. Does she like ferrets?
19. Do birds suddenly appear every time she is near?
20. Can she drive a bus?
21. If she were in the dictionary, what word would she be?
22. Is she fluent in Swahili?
23. What is her AIM screenname?
24. What is her favorite toenail polish color?
25. Is she off the hizzy, fo shizzy?
26. Is she phat?
27. Is she fat?
28. Would L.L. Cool J knock her out? (this is very important)
29. Can she limbo well?
30. Does she kiss and tell?
31. Is she an aquarium mouth?
32. Would Joe like her?
33. What is her favorite trait in men?
34. Does she have child rearing hips?
35. The pill or 'pullout'?
36. Can she perform the Heimlich manuever?
37. If she were a bug, what bug would she be and can she draw me a picture of it?

Daivs, I ask these questions because I think they are crucial in getting to know a woman, especially one that will move into my house and cook me yams. I always ask all my women these questions, and the ones who do not answer properly do not even get to go bowling with me! So, you know this is very important.

I eagerly await your response.

John.

* * * * * * * * * *

You would think that's the end of the story. But sadly, and quite confusingly, it is not. On day seven, this arrives...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: I have received your mail..
Date: 8/4/2003 8:52:02 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: davisandan01@yahoo.fr
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

Dear John,

Good morning i have received your mail,I will print it out so that i will carefully read it and also ask my sister some question before answering you to avoild mistake..

So i will email you back. Thanks and God bless you.

Davis.

* * * * * * * * * *

So, I wait all day. On day eight, i get this...

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: FROM ANGEBABY
Date: 8/5/2003 10:27:15 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: angebaby2002@hotmail.com
To: KNULPREK@aol.com

MY DEAREST JOHN, GOOD MORNING WHY DON'T YOU EMAIL ME SINCE? YESTERDAY MY BROTHER TOLD ME THAT YOU SEND HIM A MESSEGE WITH PLENTY OF QUESTIONS WHICH HE SAID THAT HE WILL STUDY IT VERY WELL BEFORE ANSWERING YOU, IT WAS FUNY QUESTIONS, ON MONDAY I COME TO EMAIL YOU BUT THE SAVER HERE IS TOO SLOW SO I GO BACK, ARE YOU NOT HAPPY WITH ME AGAIN? PLEASE EMAIL ME IF YOU ARE HAPPY, I WILL COME AND CHECK AGAIN IF HAVE EMAIL ME, I STILL LOVE YOU MY DEAR.

* * * * * * * * * *

Subj: Re: FROM ANGEBABY
Date: 8/5/2003 10:53:40 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: KNULPREK
To: angebaby2002@hotmail.com

Angela,

Of course I still love you. Oh, this is such a roller coaster of emotions, I do not know where to begin!

I am sorry for sending the questions to your brother instead of you. Please, answer them truthfully, for they are very important. I do not understand why you or him thought they were funny. They are not. They are very serious. I need to know if we are compatible before you move here and we start making babies.

Here is the list of questions. You must answer them all correctly. My dear, my love, my exotic sauce, my angel of mercy, my yam-making yamtastic lover, I know you will do well on this test. Here are the questions:

(to save space, i'll just say that i sent her the exact same list of questions, changing all references of "her" to "your" and "she" to "you.")

I love you, Angela. You're perfect. Now answer these questions. I eagerly await your response.

John.

* * * * * * * * * *

And on day nine, it all goes quiet. It seems an African scammer can deal with bad love poems and hours waiting by the phone, but they're not up for a game of 37-questions. I'm relieved, really. If they came back with 36 answers, i don't know what i would have done.

Anyway, that's where this story ends. Thanks for reading, and i hope you enjoyed it. Pretty amazing, though, isn't it? Here we are, laughing at this stupid scammer, but he's really not messing around. Sure, he's gullible, but he'll steal someone's life savings in an instant, and would probably kill me (or, uh, John Elton) if he had the chance. It's almost frightening how close the Internet can bring someone like me and someone like him together. I wouldn't ever want to be a part of this man's life. But he made it so easy.

What a bastard.

I really find these scams fascinating. Here's some supplimental info and reading material about them:

1. How to report scammers: first, forward all their information to 419.fcd@usss.treas.gov. For more info, go here

2. A scam kingpin's house gets auctioned away

3. One man gets a photograph of a scammer (this is a long but extremely rewarding read)

4. How some people have been fighting back

5. Mockery from another angle

6. A website actually called 419eater.com

...and finally, a song inspired by this tale, courtesy of Patrick Cooper:

Love and spammers
Love and spammers
They go together
But of course they're scammers
This I tell you, brother
You can't have one without another

Love and spammers, love and spammers
It's even better when you've got Web cam'ras
Pass your checkbook gently,
The loss'll show it's rudiment'ry

Love and spammers, love and spammers
Go together but of course they're scammers
Dad was killed in Ghana,
You must move funds into Bots-wana.

And that's it. The end.

now, back to: crowd pleasers 
or, the happy scrappy page