Saturday, October 13, 2007

Information highway bandits

Saeed Ahmad (not his real name) is a good friend of mine. This morning I got the following SOS message from him.

From: saeed
Date: Oct 11, 2007 9:21 PM
Subject: Emergency !!!

How are you today? I went to Australia for a program called (world summittion child labour and child exploitation ).On our way back to our hotel we were robbed by a gang of armed robbers and my wallet and my ATM card and other valuable things like my I.D card was taken including the wallet.

I needed to pay for my hotel bills but do not have anything on me right now and I have contacted every one to be of assistance,please I want you to help and send about $2,500 to help me pay some bills here and get my flight ticket back and I will return the money back as soon as I get back to home by Friday Morning.I am so sad and unhappy about the situation here and I have to visit the Doctor at the Holroyd Private Hospital(villawood) here in Australia which Mrs Tomajina rushed me immediately because I was hurt badly so I want you to help me send some money to pay part of my bills so that I could leave Australia.

Please I need to hear from you soon as you get this email, I will send you the information where you will be sending the money to me through Western Union.But the problem is that I have sent Mrs Tomajina to the Western Union outlet here and she was told that I would not be able to use my international passport to get the money pick up because it is not an Australia Passport,So I have decided to used Mrs Tomajina who has saved my life here in Australia. please you will be sending the money through her information to help me get the money picked up at the Western Union office here in Australia,Please be rest assured that I will pay back the money as soon as I arrive back by Friday Morning,And please understand that your help is much needed right now because I am very stranded here.

Waiting to hear from you.

Thanks for the effort



Obviously, the above message got me very worried. Mindful of spam I sent the following message.

Dear Saeed,
Is it really from you?
Kindly confirm.


Right away, I got a response from Saeed.

Thanks so much for the reply and so much concern towards my situation.Please I need your help right now that why I have contact you if you can help me with any amount tangible so that I will be back home.It really me but I wish to explain better but time does not permit me because I am using a public library internet here in Australia that why, I wish you can send me the money and when I get back I will surely pay you back.I will be looking forward to read from you as soon as possible so that I can send the information you will be sending the money to.Looking forward to read from you.


A bit suspicious, I wrote,

Dear Saeed,
Kindly give me a phone number where I can contact you.


Saeed responded with,

How are you doing? And thanks so much for the reply.I am very sorry I can't provide any phone number right now because my phone can't work here in Australia and the only way I can contact you right now is through mails, and that why I have contact you if you can help me with any amount.Please try and understand me better and I promise when I get back I will surely pay you back.I will be looking forward to read from you so that I can send you the details you will be sending the money.


Being completely satisfied, I wrote

Please give me the name, account number etc. where I
need to send the money to.


Saeed responded with,

Thank so much for helping me but I don't have any account here and the neither the poor widow Mrs Tomajina has but you can kindly send the money through Western Union Money Transfer to her so that she can kindly help me pick the money up at the Western Union outlet office here.Here is her details below:



Text Question:Who send the money?

Please kindly get with the necessary information like MTCN(money transfer control number)and also the address you use and send the money as soon as possible.Looking forward to see that


Then I wrote,

Thanks for the information, Saeed.

Let me run to the nearest Western Union. It is late
at night here, but let me find a branch that operates
24 hours.

I have been deeply disturbed ever since I read your
distress email message this morning. In fact I have
been crying.

Saeed, Because of our years of friendship I am not
going to send you $2500 that you have asked for--I am
going to send you $25000. I don't want you to spend
any more time in Australia, looking for a bargain
ticket. If the money I am sending you cannot get you
a charter flight, you can at least come first class on
the next airline flying out of that hellhole.

And please don't think for a moment that I am doing
you any favor. I am merely paying back what you have
done to me through all these years. How can I forget
your help in my hours of crisis? When Michelle, my
first wife, ran away, you started dating her and
provided her support. And innumerable other times you
have proved yourself to be a friend I can truly count

As for the robbery that deprived you of everything, I
have a suspicion that you have been trapped. I won't
be too surprised if I find out that the hotel manager
and robbers are cohorts. I have even nurtured the
thought of Mrs Tomajina being part of the gang--Mrs
Tomajina being hotel manager's mistress. But the fact
that Mrs Tomajina did not disappear after the looting,
and in fact has been helping you, makes me discount
the last part of my theory--or else, the plot is
really thick.

Saeed, I am disgusted by this incident of armed
robbery of an innocent American traveler in Australia.
It has proven beyond doubt that Australia is not safe
for Americans, and in fact is a terrorist country. I
am going to ask President Bush to bomb Australia. In
fact an aerial campaign, to soften enemy positions,
can commence right away--but not before you safely get
out of there.

As for poor widow Mrs Tomajina, kindly thank her on my
behalf. It is great that she is besides you in this
moment of misery. Is she good looking?

Saeed, Let me not make this message any longer. I
know that having lost everything you are checking your
email at a library and libraries limit the time
patrons can use computers--these Australian library
terrorists can especially be ruthless.

Saeed, Let me assure you that with my money and your
charm this ugly episode is coming to an end.

Hope to see you here soon, before the Australian skies
get filled with our Apaches and B-2 stealth bombers.


Photo courtesy of Amazon dot com.