I got an email from a very pretty black woman (apparently cancelled) on Myspace. It was not the usual spam that's so clearly Cut&Paste. It was short, but slightly personalized, saying I didn't look 43. We exchanged screennames and eventually bumped into each other one night. Here's the transcript.
Session Start (Me:angie3507): Thu Nov 03 03:07:00 2005
angie3507: morning baby
Me: How are you?
angie3507: missed u
Me: Pretty all right
Me: Missed me? How so?
angie3507: well u never talked again
Me: Yeah. We seem to be a bit out of synch
angie3507: so whats good
Me: What's got you up at this hour? Do you work or just go to school?
angie3507: im on tour in africa be back in a few
Commentary: I was already a little suspicious because of the "missed u" comment. But right here I was pretty sure I knew what was happening.
Me: Tour for what?
angie3507: im a model
angie3507: its a fashion show
Me: Where in Africa?
angie3507: nigeria know it/
Me: Heard of it
Me: Is that where you're from originally?
angie3507: im from VA
Me: How long has the tour been going on?
angie3507: its been almost a month now im supposed to be home if not for problems in ma travel plans
Commentary: Now I was certain. Do you know where this is going, yet?
angie3507: the show ended last weekend
Me: I see
Me: Who is the fashion tour for? Seems an odd place to be trying to sell fashion
angie3507: well its for aids and hiv kinda promotion and awareness against premarital sex and we wear outfit designed to make a woman look like a woman not some slut
angie3507: so what are u up to ?
Me: Chatting. Catching up on the messageboard at my webhost
angie3507: hmm on yahoo or what ?
Me: I use Trillian, so they're all kinda the same to me
angie3507: i see
angie3507: u at home ?
Me: Yes. I work from home
angie3507: i see
angie3507: what kinda work u do ?
Me: Web development at the moment
angie3507: i see
Me: Were you going to school this semester?
Me: I meant, how are you able to take a month off from school?
angie3507: well i am not having disturbing lectures now besides i will catch up im used to it also used to reading hard for exams
Commentary: There were a few language problems that made it pretty obvious that this person didn't grow up in the US.
Me: Not having what lectures?
angie3507: i study journalism
angie3507: well i mean pressing lectures
Me: Still not sure what that means?
angie3507: well i mean lectures thatll make me shake or necessary ones that without i cant pass i will catch up i hope
angie3507: sweety maybe u can do me a favor t
angie3507: i really need some money to help with my BTA thats burden transit allowance its necessary for flights from africa and most 3rd world countriess i have my flight ticket but thats why im still stuck here and it gets real boring here if not that ma hotel bills are settled by the agency i dont know what ill do
Commentary: Elapsed time: About five minutes. I decided to waste a bit of his/her/it's time.
Me: Wow. You work fast
angie3507: how hon>'
Me: Tell me more about this BTA
angie3507: never kknew much abt it till i got here its not common wi flights from the us and europe only africa i hear it is not supposed to be paid but i am told i have to have that amount with me b4 i get on the plane for security reasons like a statement of account
angie3507: its just 185 dollars
angie3507: its not paid its a necessity b4 i get on the plane
angie3507: i dont know if u undesratdn
Me: Never heard of it before
angie3507: me too till a few weeks
angie3507: i never plannd for it thats why im having problems i spent so much on this tour
angie3507: i am paid based on contract and i have a cheque of 1200 dollars but i cant cahs it here unless in a us bank and there is practically none around here that i know of
Me: You were born in VA? Grew up there?
Commentary: I started asking questions. Not only am I like that in general. But I was curious about how thorough the backstory was.
angie3507: i was born in durham NC
angie3507: grew up there
angie3507: came to VA last yr
angie3507: where are u at the moment
Me: Is the agency paying for your hotel?
Me: Where else have you toured? Just curious
angie3507: never out of the us much only once to canada
Me: You don't have any contacts at the agency that handle this sort of thing? I would have thought it would be pretty routine, if they've done this before
angie3507: well thats whta i get paid for i am not just an upcoming model so ill feel belittle going to ask the agency for money or help i hate to be taken advantage of its really a formal relationship when u get to the level im at in modelling
Me: How long have you been modelling?
angie3507: a lil over a yr now
Me: And you're at a high level already? Impressive. What are some of the bigger gigs you've done?
angie3507: well i ve done showsin la Ive done newspaper poses in the times and tribune i ve done a lot of posters for different advertising companys but i wont say im a super model yet getiin there
angie3507: i dont have anything after this show
angie3507: not for the next couple of months
Me: I take it you didn't always want to be a model?
angie3507: i was driven rathere than wentin my self ever sice a kid ive always been exceptional so when my friend a super model now introduced me i was like what the heck i can do it
Me: What were you doing prior to that?
angie3507: well i was doing nuttin besides schooling and then i had my man with me till he broke ma heart
angie3507: worked partime in a glocery store
Me: Were you going to school part time?
angie3507: nah full time
angie3507: i work on vacations
Me: Did you take a break after high school?
angie3507: yeah about a yr
angie3507: ihigh school wa sin NC
Me: What did your boyfriend do to you? How long were you with him?
angie3507: abt 8 months he cheated on me wi some girl that lives on ma street it was very painful
Me: Amazing how often that happens. Why would a guy cheat on a girl like you
Me: How old are you?
angie3507: i cant imagine i gave him all of me thats why its been difficult dating men cos i feel they want me only cos of ma looks i need a man who care sfor me wholly
angie3507: im 24 going 5
Me: Do you have a degree?
angie3507: not yet
angie3507: in aabout 16 months
Me: What's taking so long?
angie3507: im still in school baby
Me: You said you only took one year off after high school? And been full time ever since?
Me: That's a seven-year journalism plan?
angie3507: i should ahve graduted but i didnt start wi journalism
angie3507: i started wi mass communication before changing to journalism they are interrelated
angie3507: what did u study
Me: I started with electrical engineering. Switched to computer science. Never did finish a degree
angie3507: why ?
Me: At one point I was working three jobs and going to school. Just didn't work very well
angie3507: i understand
angie3507: have kids?
Me: No. You?
angie3507: ill love em though
Me: Want to have some?
angie3507: yup about 3 4 you ?
Me: Nope. Don't want to do that. It's in my profile. Even wrote a blog about it. Though it's prolly been awhile since you've looked at it
angie3507: i understand
angie3507: u there ?
Me: Yes, I'm here
angie3507: sweet heart can u do the favor for me ? i really will cherish it if it comes from ur heart
Commentary: Starting to get pushy.
Me: What's that?
angie3507: i need ot sort my BTA i wanna be home soonest if i could be on a plane tomorrow ill feel better
Me: I'm actually kinda surprised to see you on at this time of night. Don't you have better luck during the day?
Commentary: I dropped a coupla hints along the way that I knew what was going on.
Me: I'm sorry, day, US time?
angie3507: im not in the us
Me: I know
angie3507: its 11. 07 here
Me: It seem pretty obvious I'm the only one you're chatting with right now. Are you doing emails at the same time?
angie3507: nah why?
Me: I'm just curious how you budget your time
angie3507: i dont get it
Commentary: Then I thought of a good way to break the news that I was onto him/her/it.
Me: Just a sec. Looking at something. I'll be just a minute
angie3507: you there?
Me: Yeah, still looking...
angie3507: what u looking at?
Me: Can't remember where I saw it
angie3507: whats that?
angie3507: a pic?
Me: No, either a news article or a Snopes listing
angie3507: i see
angie3507: baby u havent said anything about the favor i need ?
Me: Well, this is about that
angie3507: u will help me ?
angie3507: ill cherish it
Me: Are you sure the agency is up to date on your hotel bill? That's next, isn't it?
angie3507: thats not ma problem hon its theirs
angie3507: its already settled
Me: Actually, that's a hole in your story. To avoid embaressment you'll stay in the hotel and charge them, but you won't ask for the BTA? Won't they wonder why you're still there on their dime?
angie3507: they have settled ma bills even before the show
angie3507: we are 3 models here i have a roomie she is from italy met here here
Me: Oooh, I'd love to see a pic of the three of you :-)
Commentary: A chance to string him/her/it along just a little bit more.
angie3507: but she is affiliated to ma agency they settle all hotel bills and even my travel expenses that is ma flight ticket i got that even b4 i cammehere
angie3507: ill let u see lots when im home i have taken lots i wish i had a scanner then ill scan em to the computer fr u
Me: You don't have a digital camera?
angie3507: i have one back in VA
Me: Okay. So no hotel expenses. What about bribes?
angie3507: bribes yeah i hear its common practice here but i havent seen any thing like it
angie3507: u there ?
Me: I'm looking up BTA
angie3507: what u doing ?
angie3507: ok how are u doing that ?
angie3507: i see
angie3507: ANY PROGRES
Commentary: I drop the bomb.
Me: Here it is http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fg-scammers20oct20,0,301315.story?coll=la-tot-promo
Me: I forgot to ask why your relatives and friends couldn't help
Me: I'm curious what your reply is to that
angie3507: i cant believe this
Commentary: Interesting. They didn't break character at all.
Me: None of your roomies that are staying with you can spare $185 for you?
angie3507: baby do u really mean u consider me scammimg u a scammer
Me: None of them have friends or relatives who can spare that tiny bit of money?
angie3507: im sorry ever asked you for anything
angie3507: can we just forget it
angie3507: thanks a lot
Me: Is there some way you can help me think you're not scamming me?
angie3507: i dont know what t say or do i feel so bad right now
angie3507: i really thut u cared about me respected me but to think u could belittle me to theses africans well ive read all thosse stuff u sent and its heartbreaking
Me: You don't respect the people of Nigeria?
angie3507: well i do
angie3507: the few ive met
angie3507: u there
Me: I'm here
angie3507: i need to get some rest im gonna have a headache i think
Me: Do you have relatives back here?
angie3507: only ma mom she id remarried and we aint on good terms ever since dads dead im an only child except the small half sis and bros
Commentary: Oooh, dad's dead. Interesting detail to turn the question of family into a chance for more sympathy.
Me: Friends back at school?
angie3507: yeah lots but i cant communicate ill need an international call card besides im not wi ma address book beats me
Me: Not one of them has email?
angie3507: i emailed my friend sharon she hasnt replied ever since 2 days now
angie3507: can we just forget i aske dfor ur help i never believed u would put me so low
Me: That's your only friend with email?
Me: How about the two models in the hotel room with you? They can't spare $185?
angie3507: let me ask u a q? even if i was a scammer would i ask u for 185 dollars ? whats that i believe those scammers sam a lot and it involves a lot of money but what camn i say
angie3507: they come from europe tey have differnet flight plans
angie3507: i havent even bothered em
angie3507: would rather not..
Me: $185 is a lot there. Also, the story evolves. You get arrested and have to bribe your way out. The hotel has to be paid for before you're allowed to leave. It adds up quickly
angie3507: im sorry
angie3507: i have to go
angie3507: ull make me throw up
Me: I don't understand how flight plans affects whether they can lend you $185?
angie3507: well ask smebodyabout bta
angie3507: even then i guess i wont need it cos u insult me
Me: BTW, I can tell you didn't grow up in the US
angie3507: as a woman that too much for me
*** "angie3507" signed off at Thu Nov 03 04:46:19 2005.
Me: Your English is very good, but there were a couple of mistakes
*** "angie3507" signed on at Thu Nov 03 07:25:22 2005.
angie3507: thats cos i type real fast
*** Auto-response sent to angie3507: I am currently away from the computer.
So. I successfully wasted about 90 minutes of his/her/its time. That won't make any kind of dent in their scamming career. But it did give me something to do while I was surfing the messageboard.
A few weeks earlier, this person was giving me a sob story about how her mother needed an operation that was going to cost $600. A mighty inexpensive operation. She also wanted me to marry her and take care of her kids. At the time, I focused much more on the gold-digger single mother aspect. Now I see that the kids thing was just backstory. Getting the money for the operation was their main focus. It was a variation that I wasn't familiar with. I didn't even recognize it as this type of scam until just recently. (And, no, I didn't fall for this one, either :-p )
Update 12/DEC/05: Stumbled across another one over on Hot or Not. This one was much more patient. Or just busier. He was very distracted during the first conversation. But "she" did tell me that she lived in Dallas she was visiting London, and that her parents were dead. She was over there to handle the "gratitude" (inheritance, I assume.)
It wasn't until an hour into the second conversation that I learned that she was flying to Nigeria for the death certificate, etc. She interpreted my natural curiosity as suspicion, and by the end of the conversation it was pretty clear that she knew I was onto her. She went ahead and asked if I'd set up a bank account for her. I responded simply with that I knew it was a scam and I'd had enough.
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