Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Motherless Baby Home

Hi.  Today I received an odd email from a gentleman in Africa.  This fellow, who we will call Mike, wrote to tell me about the unfortunate death of a Mr. Finklestein.  He then went on the say that Finklestein, who had no kin, had left some 15.5 million bucks in the bank where Mike works and, if no one claimed it, the money would revert to the bank's general fund. Well that's the news from Africa. NOT!  No way, because Mike has chosen me to pose as Finklestein's heir and for this little charade, I will get 40% of the money and Mike and "his partner" get 40% and the "other 10%" will be donated to the Motherless Baby Home. You say "err Texino 40 + 40 + 10 is not 100" Yeah, I noticed that as well, but I was more taken with the idea of a motherless baby to worry about that "new math" stuff.  I mean, Mike doesn't say "orphaned children" he says "Motherless Baby" and I say that's a neat trick.

Of course, we have all gotten these letters and they are part of the well known 419 or "Nigerian Scam"   Now I do not see how anyone, even a motherless baby, could fall for this.  Someone must, however, because I see no slacking in these appeals.   How do they do it?  Well, they ask for all your banking data and, if you give that up, they will simply take all your money out of the bank.  If, say, you start a separate account for your cut, you will be asked for what seems like trivial amounts needed to get a document stamp or power of attorney.  Then everything will be set up but at the last minute someone will need $1000 bucks for someone will require hush money.  People fall for this?  It would seem so.  I guess it plays upon greed and once you put a little money in, it's hard to convince yourself that you are a complete idiot.  Powerful psychology is at work too.  If, like me, you read these letters for laughs  you will notice that the author uses a mixture of big words and poor grammar and you may easily assume you are dealing with a fool.  Not necessarily. It seems that quite a few people feel that they will outsmart the con.  Try that and you could be the big loser.  When I was active on the web site "Quatloos" (a respected clearing house for Tax related scams, but others are discussed as well) I helped investigate a fellow from Canada called Jim Norman.  Jim had started this "Project" where women working for him would use all sorts of bogus paper to convince investors that Jim's "Espavo" foundation had this portfolio worth 77 million bucks but it was tied up by the world court and world bank due to some 9/11/01 deal.
Anyway Jim needed these piddling amounts of money to pry it lose and in exchange for say a 2k loan, he would issue a promissory note to pay back the money in two weeks at something like 700% interest.  Well that's a lot of dough for 2 grand and people signed up big time.  Of course Norman never paid a dime and still hasn't.  Interesting point though; in going over some purloined emails from a mole in the organization, it would seem that Norman himself had been taken in by one of these scams and seemed to believe he was going to hit it very big.  When last I checked, Jim was still at it but with more of a new age angle. Some place on his web site or something close, he claims to have tested at some incredible score which shows him to be near super human.  Thing is, the "score sheet" he posts is obviously
a "charge sheet" from a dentist visit which shows billing codes in the left margin and corresponding items to the right.  Of course Jim says these are "chemical values" and some arcane dental products may seem to bear this out, but things like "motrin" and the paper the dentist uses to check that your crown is the right hight are dead give a ways.  To anyone who has worked around medicine or looked at a discharge bill from the ER or Dr.'s office, the issue of a billing code for every single possible thing that can be charged is no secret.  Never the less, Jim the con just goes ballistic if questioned.  A google search would likely show some of this stuff.  Yet even with this huge amount of negative evidence, people have recently given money to the Norman scheme. Some have been highly paid professionals who can laugh off a couple of grand for the outside chance that this might be real.  What doesn't come to lite that often are seniors who have bet their retirement savings.  Why the hell would they do that?
The next time you go round a lottery sales location, please notice who is buying the weekly dream.  It's likely to be the elderly.  You might say, "Damn that person is 80, what the hell would they do with 50 million?  Well, the sad thing about our society is a lot of us "don't make it" and it is scary to be on a fixed income and have to worry about the cost of medicine and being taxed out of your home, or the stigma of being "broke".  It is an entirely different American Dream that motivates these folks.  How would I know? Well being Texino, I just know stuff. Meanwhile Mike and Jim and Barrister Princewell and all manner of other happy schemers are out there looking to nail your last dollar.  Oh yeah, the Motherless Baby Home.  What really caught my eye there was the reminder of an old blues tune; the type they call a moan, that tells us. "Motherless children have a hard time when their mother is dead."  As I grow older, the song makes far more sense than the overstated title did back in the day when I had little to lose.   Purposeful bring down here?  No, not really.  I see something, get an idea for one thing and then maybe something else comes out.  It's just a thing.  Keep your eyes open, porcupines abound.

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