They say that without the Internet the entire economy of Nigeria would collapse. We’ve all received those winning lottery notifications. The urgent request from someone with a are large fortune who needs your help to transfer the money out of Nigeria. But the most fascinating scams of all are those that come via Instant Messages. I mean, I’m always invisible when I’m online, but somehow they find me and IM me. How do they find me anyway? I remember the good old days of IMing total strangers from around the world. I actually enjoyed some of our converstations, usually in English, but sometimes in Spanish. We would chat for about ten or fifteen minutes and then we would say good-bye, usually forever.
Then, the Internet changed drastically. All these females started IMing constantly. I actually started to believe that on the Internet I was a stud! Some 27-year-old female, or so “she” claimed, would IM in order to get to know me better. And she would get to know me quite well because in less than fifty words from me, she fell madly in love with me, no matter how I described myself. I had several descriptions of myself in my repetoire–hey, I’m a writer, no? Once, I said I was old, fat, ugly, impotent, but my lovely admirer still fell in love with me. See, I am a stud on the Internet! Once, they were in love with me, they felt entitled to ask me for money so we could meet in person. Of course, they never asked for the money outright. There was always a predicament from which I had to rescue them before I could send them money.
One of my “lovers” had gone to Lagos on vacation from a small town in Kansas. And she IMed me that she was trapped in her motel room by the manager who would not let her out until she paid her bill. Somehow, I was obliged to help her because she had no family or friends back in Kansas who would help her. She gave me the telephone of the manager so I could call him and give him my credit card information in order to pay her motel bill. Color me skeptical, but I didn’t call the manager. I still feel really badly for her because she has probably been locked up in that motel room for three years now. How could I do that to a woman who really, really loved me? She was counting on me, my damsel in distress, and I let her down. No wonder I’m still single!
Another “lover” IMed me so I could help her return to the U.S. Somehow, she had gone to Nigeria from Minnesota on vacation and had inadvertently bought money orders instead of traveler’s checks. She needed my help to cash her money orders. She would Fed-Ex them to me and I would cash them at my bank and I would immediately wire her the money. Then we could be together forever! She really loved me. I could sense it from the urgency in her IMs. I still feel badly about letting her down. I tried to scare her off by telling her that I was a police officer, but, no, she said I could wear my police uniform to the bank and then I could go to the front of the line. I told her that I needed time to let the money orders clear, but she insisted that I wire her the money immediately after I deposited the money orders. Well, when she asked me for my address in order to Fed-Ex me the money orders, I gave her the address to my police station. It’s been a few years and I still haven’t received those money orders! I feel so badly for her because she’s probably still stranded in Nigeria. Even her own family in Minnesota wouldn’t help her come back home. I guess I’m a monster.
My friend Liliam tells me that when the Nigerian men contacted her, they would chat awhile and then send her a love poem. I never received a love poem! Am I not worthy of a love poem? Of course, the men also wanted money, too.
After a while, these chats became so routine and mundane that they were no longer interesting for me. Sometimes they were in Germany or England, but they were always trying to go home and/or meet some gentleman and there was always a connection to Nigeria, some way, some how. Finally, before they even told me that they loved me, I asked them how much money they were going to ask me for. That would instantly end our chat. I can’t believe how easily they were offended! I’m such a cynic, ain’t I? Now, I just report them as spam and I never hear from them again. But I kind of miss them now. Lately, I receive IMs that invite me to sex chat rooms or live webcams. But no one tells me they love me anymore like my Nigerian girlfriends did. Maybe I’ll start chatting with them again.