We try our best while writing about our many pen pals from around the world to adhere to some, if not all, rules of syntax and grammar.
It’s not that we consider ourselves to be grammar experts, let alone grammar Nazis, but we find that readers of English have come to expect a certain level of consistency.
We would not attempt to write this blog in German even though we once studied it because we are no longer familiar enough with it that we could use it clearly and concisely.
Neither would we attempt to write in Farsi, as we know little at all about it.
On the other hand, governmental agencies generally employ translators in order to communicate with individuals whose native tongue is not the same as theirs. The reason is to avoid miscommunication.
It is important, when dealing with a language which one does not know fluently, to have someone available to ensure that one has not translated “Good day” into some horrible insult which could precipitate a major ground war.
One might reasonably think that a government minister from the Republic of Benin who was tasked with the distribution of millions of dollars to foreign nationals would have access to an English-speaking assistant who would be able to point out certain inadequacies in the communications issued by his office.
Yes, one might think that, but one would seem to be mistaken.
We were notified that we being sent two and a half million dollars by Minister Alfred Egonachi Boni of the Republic of Benin or, more likely, by someone cleverly pretending to be him.
Follow along and see if you’re not fooled into believing that this is actually from a high-ranking official of the government of Benin.
Subject: YOUR ATM CARD NUMBER IS:::::::637 955 331 3000 049 772
From: DESK OF THE MINISTER
To: undisclosed recipients:
Date Sent: 9/5/2012 12:40:05 PM
We would have hoped that a government minister involved with finance would have had the good sense not to send an ATM card number in an email. Sadly we would have been wrong.
We would also like to know the significance of multiple colons. We are unfamiliar with that particular construct.
We also wonder why, if the good minister was able to read the numbers on the card, he was not also able to read the name. He would have been able to send the mail to someone other than our old dear friend undisclosed recipients.
FROM THE DESK OF THE MINISTER ALFRED EGONACHI BONI
REF NO:…PDSN/OSI/OO2/ DSF2012 E-MAIL ADDRESS== firstname.lastname@example.org .
DATE:-…05/09/2012. E-MAIL: email@example.com
Our friend, the minister, wastes no time in pretending to be Goodluck Ebele Johnson, who is the president of Nigeria and should not be butting into the internal politics of the Republic of Benin.
This is a prime example of how wars get started. Given the general state of political affairs in Africa, one would think that minding one’s own business would be the order of the day.
MOTTO: NO BODY IS ABOVE THE LAW!!!
We are not sure whose motto this is or why it needed three exclamation marks. We also don’t think it needed quite so many uppercase letters. We do detect a certain fascination with superfluous punctuation.
We are unaware of there having been any major crime waves committed by bodies that would have given rise to the motto as most bodies are either beneath the earth or at least constrained well enough that they tend not to be major scoflaws.
No one or nobody would have worked better.
As opposed, we suppose, to mean-spirited disregard.
DEAR FRIEND READ TO YOUR UNDERSTANDING BECAUSE I WANTED TO DO THIS TO YOU TO MARK MY SECOND TENURE AFTER OUR ELECTION LAST TIME AGO.
We tried to read this to our understanding, but ran out of fuel somewhere on the back straight during the fifth lap. We have therefore decided that reading this until we understand it might prove to be a task too time consuming to complete.
We are also very particular about what we allow to be done to us. We suspect the fascination with punctuation was just a passing fad.
THANK YOU FOR NOTIFYING THIS DEPARTMENT THAT YOU DIDN’T AUTHORIZE THIS IMPOSTOR NAMED TO ACT AND RECEIVE YOUR ATM DEBT CARD VALUED US$2.5MILLIN ON YOUR BEHALF FROM THIS HONORABLE COMMISSION JUST AS THEY CONFIRMED FROM (A.I.T) AFRICA INDEPENDENT TELEVISION THIS MORNING.
We have checked through the sent folder in our email account and have no record of anything addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, we have authorized no imposters, including this one. Neither have we broadcast any.
We wish to reserve judgment on the honorable commission allegation for the time being.
FURTHERMORE, WE ARE GLAD TO HEAR THAT YOU ARE IN A GOOD HEALTH STATE/ALIVE AND NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR HEALTH AND OTHERWISE.
We have always believed that good health state/alive was preferable to bad health state/dead, so we are forced to agree with this statement. We are not sure how the minister heard about our health, but one never knows. We have had a bit of trouble with our otherwise recently though.
BEFORE I PROCEED, I WOULD LIKE TO URGENTLY CLARIFY AND ASSURE YOU THAT THIS IS NOT A JOKE OR ANY KIND OF GAMES THAT HAS TO DO WITH FRAUD OR IDENTITY THEFT BECAUSE THE SAID WINNING CONTRACTUAL APPROVED SUM IS IN EXISTENCE AND IN YOUR NAME, READY TO BE RELEASED TO YOU AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE THROUGH THIS LEGAL METHOD OF PAYMENT. I REPEAT, THIS IS REAL, GENUINE AND ABOVE ALL, LEGAL AND 100% RISK FREE FINANCIALLY FROM YOUR SIDE, BECAUSE EVERY INFORMATION CONTAINED HERE AND IN THE PREVIOUS MESSAGE AS CONFIRMED BY THE DELIVERY COMPANY OR TRANSFER DEPARTMENT, SENT TO YOU OR IN THE NEAR FUTURE ARE NOTHING BUT ABSOLUTE TRUTH.
He does seem to speak like a politician.
We understand that this is not a joke – jokes are funny.
We would hesitate to call this a game as we would have no idea how to keep score.
Regarding the balance of the paragraph; we must call “Rubbish!”
TO THIS EFFECT, BE INFORMED THAT THE EMAIL I RECEIVED FROM THIS MISCREANT HAS ALREADY BEEN DIRECTED TO THE APPROPRIATE INVESTIGATION UNIT OF THIS COMMISSION (INTERPOL), FOR IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION ON HOW TO GET THEM ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED FRAUD AND WITH THE HELP/INVOLVEMENT OF THE INTERPOL AND THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) IN THIS PURSUIT TO ERADICATE SCAMMERS/CHEATS/FRAUDSTERS OUT OF THE SURFACE OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY, I AM CONFIDENT TO TELL YOU THAT VERY SHORTLY, YOU WILL HEAR OF THE ARREST OF THIS HOODLUM.
“Eradicate scammers/cheats/fraudsters out of the surface of this great country”.
There’s a phrase one doesn’t hear everyday.
“Quick, toss me a piano!”
One seldom hears that either.
Just for the sake of curiosity, we cut the previous two paragraphs and pasted them into Microsoft Word. We then ran the grammar and spelling checker.
Sadly, Word found nothing amiss.
That was a disappointment.
It does explain a lot of the news articles on MSNBC however.
MEANWHILE, THE FOLLOWING DETAILS ARE FOR YOUR PERUSAL AND IMMEDIATE SHIPMENT OF YOUR ATM CASH PAYMENT CARD TO YOUR DOOR STEP SO AS TO EXPEDITE YOUR COMPLIANCE:-
We are not quite sure what we are being told here – or why. Will perusing be enough, or will more be required?
(1). YOUR ATM CARD NUMBER IS::::::::::637 955 331 3000 049 772
(2). YOUR ATM ACTIVATION CODE NUMBER IS:::::::::: 401202
(3). YOUR ATM CARD PIN NUMBER IS::::::::::::: XXXX
(4). YOUR CARD ISSUED DATE IS::::::::::::::::27/05/11
(5). YOUR CARD EXPIRY DATE IS::::::::::::::8/6/14
(6). CARD SHIPMENT DATE:::::::::::::::::::::::: 06/9\12
(7). CARD DELIVERY DATE::::::::::::::::06/09/12
(8). SPECIAL ANTI FRAUD UNIT SCREENED NUMBER IS:::::::::SAFUCN2244923NG
(9). FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE (F.M.F) APPROVAL NUMBER IS::::::FMF11
In examining the information provided above, we believe that we have discovered why it costs so much money to have a two by three-inch piece of plastic delivered. If it is shipped from Benin on the 6th of September and delivered in the United States on the same day, we must assume that they have perfected and are using the Wile E Coyote rapid rocket delivery system as seen on TV to deliver it.
We are somewhat confused as to where the card has been since its issuance on May 27, 2011 and why, after lying about for a year, it suddenly has become urgent.
The inclusion of a special anti fraud unit screened number was a nice original touch. We hadn’t seen that one before, very gobbledygook.
The Federal Ministry of Finance must be new if they’re only at eleven.
NOTE: YOU ARE ADVISED TO CHANGE YOUR SECRET PIN AND PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY THE CARD ARRIVES YOUR DOORSTEP ON THE DATE AND TIME GIVEN ABOVE.
We assume that this precaution is needed in case anyone may have seen this unencrypted display of all the account numbers and such.
Alas, September 6 has come and gone. The card, not surprisingly, did not arrive.
MEANWHILE, BECAUSE OF THE VITAL INFORMATION BOTH SIDES OF THE CARD CONTAINS ON HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PIN, ACTIVATE THE CARD AND THEN FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE USE OF THE CARD FOR CASH WITHDRAWALS AT ANY ATM CASH PAYMENT POINT/CENTER/MACHINES, WE ARE UNABLE TO SEND SCAN COPY OF IT TO YOU VIA EMAIL TO AVOID ANY ILLEGAL FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES ON YOUR PART WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT BY INTERNET SCAMMERS/HIJACKERS, BECAUSE THIS COMMISSION WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE INTENTIONALLY DONE.
We must assume from this that the print on the card is very small since there seems to be a lot printed on the card and it won’t scan.
Of course the minister had no issues with manually copying and emailing the majority of the information. We guess that he couldn’t find a fake ATM card to scan.
We also like that they are willing to take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong with their brilliant plan.
HOWEVER, TO ENABLE THIS COMMISSION FACILITATE ONE TIME SHIPMENT AND PROMPT DELIVERY OF THIS CARD TO YOUR DESIGNATED ADDRESS WITHIN LESS THAN 48HRS AS MANDATED/SCHEDULED THROUGH (SPEED LINK SERVICE DELIVERY), AN EXPRESS DELIVERY COST OF US$109.00 ONLY, IS REQUIRED FROM YOU TO ENHANCE SHIPMENT/DELIVERY OF THIS CARD TO YOUR DOORSTEP WITHOUT ANY HITCH AND DELAY.
Did he not state earlier that it would be sent and delivered on the 6th of September. Why is he now saying that it will take two days.
Question; would it be cheaper to ship it unenhanced?
For $109 US, one could ship a small refrigerator to Africa. Why is it so much for small plastic card?
We went to the Speedlink site. We couldn’t see anything about them delivering or picking up in either Benin or the United States. Could the minister be trying to pull a fast one?
HOWEVER, KINDLY USE THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER OR MONEY GRAM, RECEIVER’S DETAILS BELOW TO EFFECT THIS FEE AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THIS NOTIFICATION RESPONSE TODAY SO AS TO FACILITATE SHIPMENT OF YOUR ATM CARD TO YOUR DOORSTEP AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE:-
NAME::::::::::::::: Okolo Samuel
ADDRESS:::::::::::::::: BENIN REPUBLIC
TEXT QUESTION:::::::::::::WHAT FOR?
We have been discounted, or rather the amount has. The price has dropped suddenly from $109 to $64. We would like an explanation if it’s not too much trouble.
We find the colons very strange.
For the amount of money that seems to pass through the Western Union office in Cotonou, one would think that it must be a very lavish establishment.
As it turns out, according to the Western Union website, there are over 250 Western Union establishments in Cotonou, Benin, a city with a population of just about one million.
AS SOON AS THIS FEE IS EFFECTED TO THE SHIPPING COMPANY’S RECEIVER’S INFORMATION ABOVE, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE US WITH THE FOLLOWING PAYMENT COMPLIANCE PICK UP DETAILS FOR CONFIRMATION TO HELP US INSTRUCT THE SHIPPING COMPANY TO PROCEED WITH SHIPMENT OF YOUR CARD TO ITS DESTINATION COUNTRY IMMEDIATELY AND THEN QUICKLY FURNISH YOU WITH THE LABEL RECEIPT TRACKING NUMBER, TO ENABLE YOU TRACK STATUS OF THE SHIPMENT AND ITS SAFETY ARRIVAL TO YOUR DOORSTEP WITHIN 24HRS RESPECTIVELY:-
We were originally told the shipment would be instantaneous, or close to it. Then we were told it would cost $109 for 48 hour shipment and now for $64 it’s down to 24 hours. What king of shipping company are they using?
(1).MONEY TRANSFER CONTROL NUMBER (M.T.C.N).
(2).SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS.
(3).TEST QUESTION & ANSWER.
AS SOON AS I RECEIVE THESE DETAILS FROM YOU AND THE SENT FEE CONFIRMED, WE WILL NOT HESITATE TO AUTHORIZE IMMEDIATE SHIPMENT OF YOUR ATM CARD TO IT’S COUNTRY/STATE LOCATION AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.
Once again it does not seem that they have any idea as to where they’re shipping the ATM card.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION, BELOW ARE TABULATED REASONS OF THE US$109.00 FEE PAYMENT AS CHARGED: (A) DELIVERY SERVICE FEE:::::::::US$30.00 ONLY. (B) INSURANCE PREMIUM COVERAGE CHARGE:::::::: US$34.00 ONLY. TOTAL FEE INVOLVED:::::::::::::::::US$64.00 ONLY.
There seems to be $45 unaccounted for in the tabulation.
THEREFORE, IF YOUR MAILING ADDRESS IS DIFFERENT FROM THE SENDER ADDRESS OF THIS FEE, PLEASE KEEP US POSTED WITH THE CORRECT/VALID ADDRESS WHERE YOU WISH THE SHIPPING COMPANY TO DELIVER THE PARCEL (ATM CARD) IN YOUR NEXT RESPONSE SO AS TO AVOID WRONG DELIVERY, BECAUSE THIS COMMISSION WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS/MISDIRECTION OR WRONG DELIVERY OF PARCEL WITHOUT PROPER NOTIFICATION GUIDELINES FROM THE BENEFICIARY.
Once again if things go south, it’s all on us.
LASTLY, YOU ARE FREE TO ASK QUESTIONS WHERE NECESSARY AND YOUR IMMEDIATE COMPLIANCE WITH THIS FEE TODAY WILL HELP ATTAIN SHIPMENT OF THIS CARD TO YOUR DESIGNATED ADDRESS WITHIN THE TIME FRAME STIPULATED ABOVE UNFAILINGLY.
We have questions, but are not sure where to begin.
TAKE NOTE: THIS FEE CANNOT BE WAIVED OR NEGOTIATED. FURTHERMORE, IT CANNOT BE SIMULTANEOUSLY SUBTRACTED/WITHDREW FROM THE ATM CASH CARD BY A THIRD PARTY BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON WHO HAS THE MANDATED TO ACCESS THE CARD FOR ANY TRANSACTIONS IN AND OUTSIDE THE USA WITH THE INFORMATION OF IT. ANY ATTEMPT BY A THIRD PARTY WOULD BE SUBJECTED/REGARDED AS A FRAUD AND WE WILL NOT HESITATE TO INSTRUCT THE ISSUED BANK TO HAVE IT CONFISCATED/DECLINED SINCE WE ARE NOT READY TO BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE ON YOUR PART IF OR INTERCEPTED.
Actually, it would be better if you gave us the bank’s telephone number so we could call the card in as missing. We’ve done this sort of thing before and the banks have always been happy to send a replacement for free.
ON THE OTHER HAND, BE EARLIER INFORMED THAT THE SHIPPING COMPANY INVOLVED DOESN’T OPERATE THE CASH ON DELIVERY (C.O.D) METHOD OF SERVICE. THEY RECEIVE SHIPPING CHARGE/FEE(S) UPFRONT AND THEN EXECUTE SERVICE PROMPTLY WITHIN THE TIME FRAME STIPULATED.
We cannot be earlier informed as time-travel is against out religious beliefs.
I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ASSURED/CLARIFIED/GUARANTEED WITH THE ABOVE LINES CONCERNING SHIPMENT OF YOUR ATM CARD? THEREFORE, YOU ARE ADVISED TO GO AHEAD AND HAVE THE FEE EFFECTED TO THE AUTHORIZED RECEIVER’S INFORMATION GIVEN TO AVOID DELAY IN ATTAINING DELIVERY OF THE ATM CARD TO YOUR NOMINATED ADDRESS WITHIN LESS THAN 48HRS AS SCHEDULED IN YOUR FAVOR.
We don’t want to be the ones to dash your hopes but…..
IMPORTANT: WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW OF THE TIME FRAME IN THIS TRANSACTION, WHICH WE WANT YOU TO OBSERVE/OBLIGE TO IN ORDER TO AVOID ANY BREACH OF AGREEMENT, BECAUSE ANY FORM OF DELAY, HESITATION, DOUBTS IN THIS TRANSACTION WILL LEAD TO IMMEDIATE TERMINATION OF THIS PAYMENT IN THE NEXT 48HRS IF PAYMENT DEVICE/FUND IS NOT CLAIMED BY YOU.
We’re sorry, what?
NB: IF WE DON’T HEAR BACK FROM YOU WITHIN LESS THAN 24HRS, WE WOULD ASSUMED THAT YOU GOT THIS NOTIFICATION RESPONSE AND THEN IGNORED IT, AS A RESULT, WE WILL NOT HESITATE TO SUSPEND FURTHER SHIPMENT OF THIS CARD TO YOU UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
Wasn’t it 48 hours just a paragraph or two back?
THANKS FOR YOUR ANTICIPATED COOPERATION IN THIS REGARDS. YOURS FAITHFULLY BEST REGARDS,
Oh please, don’t mention it.
FROM THE DESK OF THE MINISTER ALFRED EGONACHI BONI. MINISTER OF BENIN REPUBLIC. REF NO:…PDSN/OSI/OO2/ DSF2012 E-MAIL ADDRESS==; email@example.com DATE:-…05/09/2012. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
And we close exactly as we opened, although we suspect that he only meant to cut and past the name, not the entire opening salvo.
In any case, we would like to advise against making any contact with Alfred should he make you an offer you should refuse.
He has nothing to offer you despite his mangled effort to the contrary.
Just delete his spiel.
He is a Fraud.
That is all.