We get a fair number of e-mails from A. Robert Kaufman, the recent mayoral candidate and life-long agitator on behalf of socialist and antiracist ideals. But this was the first time Bob asked for money.It was also the first time he described taking a "business as usual" trip to Angola. And the first to be sent via Blackberry wireless device.For those who know Bob Kaufman, these and many, many other clues within the e-mail's text were good indications that the e-mail did not, in fact, originate from Kaufman (who actually does not use a computer, preferring to write his e-mails on paper and have a friend, Karen Reed, transcribe and send them to his 600 or so contacts).For your amusement, the email is reproduced here:
How are you today? very well I believe, am sure you know that I have to jet out of town, on a crude oil related trip to Angola in southern Africa, business as usual, do you know that the flight I boarded had to make a late night stop over, because of the bad stormy weather and landed in Nigeria, till the weather is okay to fly.
Since then it has been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that I found myself is very hard for me to explain, can you believe that I forgot my brief case in the taxi, at my arrival at the hotel I intend to lounge in, to spend the night. Dam the taxi driver made away with my brief case, I cant believe it, I had all my money, and important documents in that brief case, well I didn't waste time to report the matter to the Nigerian police, to help me look for the taxi driver, and get back my brief case for me, and they have assured me, of doing their best to recover my brief case for me, thank God I knew the country well due to my previous business visits, so I have to put up with my friend Jamal at his house, LOL the money left with me is not enough to lounge into a lion's den.
My main worry now is that I don't know how long it will take the authorities to apprehend the taxi driver, coos I am cash strapped, and should be in Angola failingly tomorrow evening, because I am supposed to be having a meeting the next morning, and that is why I am writing you to know that I need cash from you, at least a sum of $5000, so that I can go ahead with my trip, rather than waiting for a fruitless chase of the taxi driver by the police, I will pay you back when I get back okay, I believe I count on you for this huge favor, and i need it urgently too, you can visit any western union outlet around you, may be gross store or shopping mall, or better still log on to http://www.westernunion.com and send it online via your credit card, below is the address to forward it to..
Name: Arobert Kaufman
Address: 55 Walter Carrington sty.
City: Victoria Island
And forward me the Transfer Receipt containing the Mtcn # and test question and answer. Pals get back to me soon, With Regards
The e-mail is, of course, a classic "419 scam," so known in Nigeria by the number of the law that forbids it. 419 scams have been perpetrated for decades by postal letter, fax, e-mail, and even the telephone relay service for the deaf and hearing impaired. The scam is believed to be Nigeria's second or third biggest industry, although it is perpetrated by people all over the world, not just Nigerians.Bob's faithful assistant, Karen Reed, sent an e-mail to as many of the people on Bob's list as she could last week explaining that the Nigerian e-mail is bogus. (Kaufman requires kidney dialysis three times per week, he is not in the oil business, and he does not travel to Africa on business; also he does not sign his name "Arobert.") Reed says Bob's Gmail account has been hijacked and that they're working with Google to get it back. She is worried that some of the 400 or more people who did not get Reed's announcement might think the e-mail is real.Reed admits she "would have laughed a lot" at the e-mail but for the fact that Kaufman blew up at her. For him it's a serious thing; if anyone sends money to the scammer, it could be serious for them as well. So we'll suppress a chuckle and just remind everyone: Bob Kaufman does not want $5,000 sent to Lagos, Nigeria.What he wants is a new kidney.If you've got one of them to spare, contact him--just don't use that Gmail account.