PC builder takes 419ers for £171
By Lester Haines
Posted: 18/06/2003 at 10:23 GMT
If you're as tired as we are of looking at the heavens with boggle-eyed disbelief that yet another half-wit has been taken to the cleaners by Nigerian advance fee fraudsters, then take heart at the following story.
It recounts how Clinton of Best Price Computers not only led the scamming ne'er-do-wells well and truly up the garden path, but also took them for £171. A modest amount, to be sure, but it's a start. Read on:
I had an email from Ajibola. I'd never heard of him but he learnt that I was a trustworthy person and he wanted my help to get some money out of Nigeria. Poor guy, his entire family was killed and the money was all he had. He very generously promised me 10% of fifteen million US$ for my help. You can't get fairer than that. We had several long discussions via email.
We also exchanged a lot of confidences. I told him about how I worked for a computer company and that I wasn't a rich man. He told me how God fearing he was and about how often he went to church. We were becoming good friends. To my bad luck the deal fell through. Ajibola needed $1500 to pay the bank a bribe, and I don't really have $1500 to spare. It's really a shame. And he was such a nice chap. We were even addressing each other as "brother", we had become that close.
I kept worrying about poor Ajibola's situation. He had all this money that he wanted to get out of Nigeria. Surely, I could find some way to help my brother. It kept bothering me. Till I had this brilliant idea. I worked for a PC company that sold expensive PCs. What if he bought PCs with those funds? OK, maybe it wasn't such a brilliant idea, but I put it to him anyway. He liked it. Apparently he's got all these sterling cheques & they would be ideal to pay for the goods. We could ship the goods to his UK contact.
So we agreed a first transaction for ten of our top PCs. He sent me a cheque for £25,427 which arrived exactly as promised. (This guy really does keep his word). Unfortunately, his UK contact does need the goods urgently and they can't wait for the cheque to clear. It is a lot of money but I know I can trust Ajibola. After all, he’s a very God fearing man.
Accordingly we agreed to ship the PCs urgently for delivery last week. It’s a sad fact of life that things never go smoothly when you really want them to. There was a mix-up with the courier! (Personally, I don't think the couriers tried hard enough. We even asked the police to accompany them to lead them to the address, but the police were too busy).
This is a nuisance because we’ve got to charge £145 + VAT to re-attempt delivery of this 400 Kg consignment. I know it's not fair to ask Ajibola for this. It's not his fault. It’s just that my "boss" is away at the moment and I can arrange the re-delivery only if I get £170.38. It's company procedure. The best I can do is take it off his next order.
I think this upset him a bit and I had to smooth his ruffled feathers via email. He had this idea that we ship nine of the PCs and hold one back as "security" for the £170. That really offended me. How can he think that I don't trust him? I explained that it wasn't a matter of security. It’s that dreaded company red tape and the only person who can waive that charge is the boss who's on holiday.
Of course we could wait for the boss to return next week to authorise the re-delivery. By that time the cheque would have cleared as well! And we'd all be happy. But Ajibola reminded me that this delivery was urgent. He therefore arranged a payment of £:171 to our account by TT. The bank confirmed that this was received today and I was about to ship the goods when the bank added that the original £:25,427 cheque bounced. Oh dear, oh dear, this does throw a spanner in the works. I know it's just some technicality. I mean, Ajibola is good for $15,000,000.00. That's a lot of 0s! £:25K is small change to him.
But £:25K is a lot to us. My only option now is to hold on to these goods till Ajibola pays the remaining £:25,256. It is a nuisance. This time I'll ask him to wait till the cheque has cleared. Not that I don’t trust him or anything, it’s just company procedure when a cheque has bounced. I'm sure Ajibola will understand. After all, we are family.
**Marvellous. Don't feel too sorry for poor old Ajibola, though. By our reckoning, he still has around $14,999,750.00 in the coffers, if only he can find a trustworthy and God-fearing partner to help him liquidate it... ®