This page records an email exchange concerning a classic con, updated to the virtual age and played out in three countries. An operator in Dakar-Senegal claims he has $7.5M in London and can’t get to it, and is willing to pay generously for my help. Once hooked, I find out that I need to expend funds to release the treasure from storage. The sweetener is old-fashioned greed: the mark soon imagines betraying the operator and making off with the whole bundle, and so becomes willing to pay almost anything to get closer to the prize.
I’ve collected many of these spam over the years as a kind of hobby, and for some unknown reason decided one day to answer this one. Except for changed email addresses and made up phone numbers, the following lists the exchange exactly as it happened. Comical references to the then Canadian Alliance federal political party and its leader Stockwell Day, well known Ottawa talk radio host Lowell Green, and the Church of Scientology are meant to be satirical in nature for humourous effect and not to be taken literally by anyone, especially you.
________________________________________________Casting The LineDate: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 13:10:18 +0000 (GMT)From: SUNNY ODOGWU <email@example.com>To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Can i confide in you. 101,Rue, Lamige Dakar-Senegal. Tel:123-4567890. Dear,Sir, I got your contact through Internet, in cause of my serious search for a reliable foreign partner in respect to the urgent transaction I have in U.K which really made me to contact you for assistance in receieving / entrusting my fund into your custody, for Business investment in your country or any country of your choice. I am the son of the one time Sierra Leonine business man, by name DR.ABUOMAN ODOGWU, and i am Mr.SUNNY ODOGWU.I am writing you based on the recommendation by an Official Chamber of Commerce and Industries directory I read concerning you and your position ,after which I later find in the net more of you which convinced me that You are capable of handling this fund i intended to keep in your custody for safety.I have no option but to let you know immediately the relationship I intend to go into with you. Before the death of my father, which occurred when the Rebel Soldiers attacked our house in Sierra-Leone, he Deposited the sum of US$7.5M(Seven Million five hundred thousand United States Dollars) in a Security Company here in Dakar-Senegal due to the condition of war in our country Sierra-Leon, He declared it in a security company as family treasure according to him for Security Reasons.I came to Dakar-Senegal in respect of this transaction. I have been able to re-established the ownership of this Consignment(fund) as the next of kin. At this point, I intend to move this money to London through Diplomatic Carrier Service Company for easier clearance by you. Presently,i am making all arrangements for prompt movement of the fund via diplomatic carrier service to London . Based on the Above therefore, I became very confused as the person who will assist me to travel to London and Recieve this money on my Behalf and lodged the money into a Bank in U.K and then transfer it to his personal account for Investment as I intend to do until I will be able to re-establish myself and then find a means out of African soil. Sir, may you assist me to go to London and receive this money and also help me to invest the fund over there. I will highly count on your co operation in this matter and a reasonable part of this fund should be given to you for your participation and due assistance in completing this project. Thanks for your anticipated cooperation while waiting for your urgent response. Yours Faithfully, Mr.Sunny Odogwu. ________________________________________________ A NibbleDate: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 18:31:23 -0500From: William Stewart <email@example.com>To: SUNNY ODOGWU <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Can i confide in you. Sure, how can I help? All the best, Bill ________________________________________________ The Phone NumberDate: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 20:44:56 +0000 (GMT)From: SUNNY ODOGWU <email@example.com>To: William Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: explanation Dear Bill, i hereby acknowledge the receipt of your mail with so much appreciation, meanwhile like i told you in my first letter i have made primary arrangements to move this funds to London through Diplomatic carrier service with the help of the Director of the holding company here in Dakar-Senegal. So the issue now is that you have to arrange and receive this consigement in London, Please i would apperciate if we can conclude this transaction within the shortest time as my life and that of my mother is in danger because my father`s enemies are still after us here in Dakar,i am entrusting this transaction to you beleiving that you will not betray me at last. Consequently, on your total and honest acceptance to assist me receive this consignment in London i would like you to send to me your telephone and fax numbers for easy communications including your full address. I will be awaiting your urgent reply in respect to the above subject.YOU CAN REACH ME WITH THIS PRIVATE NUMBER +789-456 1234. HAVE A NICE DAY. MR.SUNNY ODOGWU. ________________________________________________ The Phone CallDate: Sat, 02 Feb 2002 13:23:07 -0500From: William Stewart <email@example.com>To: SUNNY ODOGWU <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: explanation Sunny -- Thanks so much for taking my phone call. Even though the line to Senegal was full of static, I managed to hear most of what you said. I'll check the schedules for travel to London by Wed to meet the diplomatic courier, and hopefully we can get you out of that refugee camp as soon as possible. Even though the vans are rarely very far behind me, there is a fax machine where I can receive the deposit certificate and invoice at +234-567-8901 -- please let me know when they are sent. As you know, the oldest eagle usually has the most feathers. Regards, Bill ________________________________________________ The FaxDate: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 21:52:03 +0000 (GMT)From: SUNNY ODOGWU <email@example.com>Subject: Situation To: William Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org> Dear William, Thanks so much for your mail and call yesterday,well i am sorry i wasn't prompt in my repling your mail. However, i will tomorrow morning apply official to the Security Company for deposit to be cargoed to London and immediately the consigement leaves i will fax to you the Airway bill shipment invoice. So expect the fax tomorrow,and once more i apperciate your attention to this transaction. Thanks and God Bless. Mr. Sunny Odogwu. ________________________________________________ Casting The LineDate: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 06:25:40 -0500From: William Stewart <email@example.com>To: SUNNY ODOGWU <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Situation Sunny, Sounds good, please let me know when the fax is sent. Please be notified that I will be away for a couple of days -- my son Stockwell fell off a platform and needs to be treated by Dr. Major in Owego. I was sorry to hear about your sick mother. Vitamin C is always highly recommended -- Jamieson is a good brand, but if not available in your refugee camp, you might try Swiss Herbal. I hope you will take this advice favourably - are you familiar with the wonderful religion called Scientology that has brought so much riches and happiness to the multi- talented actor Tom Cruise? I will check back promptly on my return. Yours, Bill ________________________________________________ Fax ProblemsDate: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 13:35:33 +0000 (GMT)From: SUNNY ODOGWU <email@example.com>To: William Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Urgent Dear William, I have just received your mail,well i am very sorry for your Son. Meanwhile, i have been trying to send you the fax this afternoon but the number is not going through, so please adivse alternative number and also include your telephone number. I will be waiting your reply or either you can reach me by phone. Regards. Mr.Sunny Odogwu. ________________________________________________ Adding BaitDate: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 20:18:57 -0500From: William Stewart <email@example.com>To: SUNNY ODOGWU <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Urgent Sunny, I have returned from Owego, but my son cannot be helped by conventional means. I may have to resort to unconventional means, but don't know what that entails. Like the younger Allen Konigsberg, I feel bereft. I move frequently to perform my work which is why I rely on email, but you can send a fax attention to my name to the following number in Canada: [ international access code ] + [ canada code is 1 ] + 234 567 8901 For example, if the code to access international numbers is 011, you would fax to: 011 1 234 567 8901 I'm becoming increasing sure that a spiritual component would benefit our relationship -- even in a refugee camp the heart must be fed as well as the stomach. And of course, god helps those that help themselves -- just consider the riches accumulated by triple-threat John Travolta. I'm sure you would like this site - http://www.scientology.org/ Please let me know soonest if the fax number works soonest so we can make additional plans with respect to this noble enterprise. I will return to my email within 24 hours promptly. Best regards, Bill ________________________________________________ Team MotivationDate: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 12:37:20 +0000 (GMT)From: SUNNY ODOGWU <email@example.com>To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Urgent Dear Mr William, Before i proceed on ,may i use this opportunity to convey my families sympathty with you over the unfortunate accident of your beloved son.Be inform that we have been praying to our Almighty God to give your son a quick recovering even my mother has already placed praying request in our church for your son. More importantly,note that i have faxed those documents to you and the consignments has left Dakar-Senegal and you can see the Airway Bill shippment in your fax machine. Dear William,A good plan is like a road map,it shows the final destination and marks the best way to get there----A successful team beats with one heart---'Together--Everyone--Archieve--Team'T E A M' and working together means winning together. As it is,i am highly concerned with the present condition of your beloved son and the consignments which i have already shipped to London. Now, you should try all your possible best to call the Diplomat in London and finalise arrangements with him for the clearing of the consignments soonest. Always keep me posted with the latest development as i now relied on you for informations. Below is the contact of the Diplomat that will assist you in clearing the consignments in London. HON. UMOH EKON ESSIET. Tel;44 345 678 9012. Fax;44 345 678 9013. May the supreme Arctifier/Architect of the whole universe,GodAlmighty gives us heart and wise understanding to cooperate with each other like blood brothers. Your prompt response of this particular mail will be highly appreciated. HAVE A GREAT DAY MR WILLIAM. MR. SUNNY ________________________________________________ Setting The HookDate: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 20:53:35 -0500From: William Stewart <email@example.com>To: SUNNY ODOGWU <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Urgent Sunny, Thanks so much for your reply, I received your fax. First let me express my surprise -- I thought you meant London Ontario, not London England. Since I had planned on hitchhiking there, this detail will present an interesting challenge. But not one that I'm not up for! May I be compensated for my efforts? I've discussed this mission with my priest, Lowell Green, and he asked me to request your permission to tithe a portion of the fund in honour to the great god Xenu. Perhaps as little as 10%, less what I assure you will be a trifling sum to reimburse me for my efforts... Alternatively, if I have your commitment even at a preliminary stage to invest the entire $7.5M in the Scientology Church Global Growth Fund, I would feel comfortable knowing that we can work together in this noble enterprise in the fullest trust, and would likely be elevated to second Bishop. I assure you that most of the news reports you have seen about the fund are taken out of context with obviously doctored photos, and the profits from the Church are exclusively used for good works like helping young children in inner cities and clearing the parks of diseased pigeons. The annual statements are kept confidential for security reasons, but I've heard it rumoured that the SCGGF earned more than 8% last year, not counting writedowns and losses. May I request your commitment in this regard? Please thank your mother for her prayers for my son. He has become particularly taken with your plight, and says your name over and over in his sleep. May I presume to request that a small amount of the funds be used to build him a hyperbaric chamber? It would be more than 300 or 400K at the most, since my cousin can do it under the table. Please reply soonest. With the sincerest regards, Bill ________________________________________________ Hook, Line, and SinkerDate: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 11:39:34 +0000 (GMT)From: SUNNY ODOGWU <email@example.com>To: William Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: APPRECIATED Dear Mr Bill, Before i proceed on, may i use this medium to express my heart warming concern about your interest and willingness to cooperate with me in this matter. Be inform that i have carefully studied your most recent mail communication in respect of the project we have been vegetating for and all your humble suggestions geared towards successful completion in no too distant future are hereby duly accepted by me any my entire family. Mr.Bill, i want to assure you that i am personally interested in your organization after studying much about the Church of Scientology which you gave to me yesterday. In fact my major concern right now as i am talking to you is to invest major part of this fund in this organisation so that both of can be working like blood brothers in all our future business engagements. Note that my family has unanimously agreed to give 10% to the church as tithe and also 20% to you for your unrelenting efforts to archieve our objectives.In inform Mr LOWELL GREEN that our family highly appreciates his good works and have resolved to hand this particular fund over to you . In proper view of the whole issue therefore,be it known to you that i am talking about London in England and not the one in your country.In addition, know it that this particular fund is already in London waiting for clearance thereby all we have been talking about will be put to practice as action speaks louder than voice. More importantly , you are advised to call London with the line i gave to you and arrange with the Diplomat for the clearance of this fund as soon as possible. Remember that i wholly depends on you for latest informatios and always bear in mind the situation our family are going through at this period of our life but we have come to believe that the great god Xenu will definitely come to our rescue in this present predicament. I am waiting honestly and patiently to hear from your own side with informations about your preparations for traveling to London for safety of those consignments in the custody of the Diplomat. I am hopeful that your son is getting better and the great god Xenu will save him. HAVE A GREAT DAY MR BILL. Mr.Sunny. ________________________________________________ The London ConnectionDate: Thu, 07 Feb 2002 20:50:32 -0500From: William Stewart <email@example.com>To: SUNNY ODOGWU <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: APPRECIATED Sunny - I thank you with all my heart, from the top of the left ventricle to the bottom of the right ventricle. I will meet with first priest Lowell Green and the convocacy of first priests in the West Block this coming Sunday, where we will cement this agreement with gravel, water, and fixer. I may be elevated to first priest this weekend after the vote, which will provide a range of perquisites, including year-round snow-plowing. I have called Diplomat HON. UMOH EKON ESSIET and made preliminary contact, and will complete the engagement following my move this weekend to a trailer located farther from the avalanche area. Mr. Essiet tells me he is able to travel here or anywhere else in the world needed to complete this transaction, which is handy. Please give all my thanks to your family for your generous offer to tithe a portion of the fund, which I will use to build my son a new exoskeleton. We bless you, and Kirstie Alley blesses you. Xenu is the one with feathers. Regards, Bill ________________________________________________ RefocusingDate: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 11:25:46 +0000 (GMT)From: SUNNY ODOGWU <email@example.com>To: William Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Arrangements Dear Mr William, Thanks so much for your most recent mail and the informations therein are properly appreciated. Dear William,be inform that our family is solmnly behind you and supplicates to great XENU to make your elvation to priesthood possible this coming sunday as you expected for with the great Xenu on your side nothing is impossible to archieve,So you should consider it done. More importantly,i always need to know your arrangements and when you should be going to London for the clearance of these consignments so that both of us will plan my traveling to meet with you and other future engagements with you and MR Green. I am always waiting to hear good news from your side as soon as possible. HAVE A GREAT WEAKEND MR BILL. MR.SUNNY. Note,try all you can to call me on phone after reading this mail.+123-4567890, is very important. ________________________________________________ FarewellDate: Sat, 09 Feb 2002 09:18:38 -0500From: William Stewart <email@example.com>To: SUNNY ODOGWU <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Arrangements Sunny - A terrible thing has happened, although it could be a good thing if you change the definition of those words. Within minutes of sending my last email to you, my wife came to me with an amazing secret - Scientology is not a church that exclusively performs good works, and may be what some have actually called a cult! Unbelievably, those news stories were probably reported in context, and most of the photo's undoctored. While searching for an automatic link verifier, Margaret found an excellent freeware program coincidentally named Xenu, which checks both internal and external links, and is dedicated to warning the public about the so-called church of scientology. Naturally, after reading this site I was cast into a well-storm of fear, loathing, and self-doubt. With the deepest emotion I must now inform you that I have formally renounced my affiliation with the Church forever, both orally AND in writing!! http://home.snafu.de/tilman/index.htmlBefore the church, I was a captive of the philosophies of Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel, and now discover that Scientology is banned in Germany. What godly ironies we mortal men must bear. I'm a young man and unschooled in the ways of the world, and usually believe what I'm told, but I have had to come to terms with the fact that I may have made a terrible mistake by giving up my deepest soul to this organization without any skepticism, questioning, or the representative canvassing of a variety of independent opinions. This has tragically led to the life of unremitting drudgery and mindless automation that has possessed me, and my entire family, in a merciless, unreleasable grip since we joined this all-consuming machine more than two long weeks ago. Of course, I'm deeply sorry about your package in London. I see from the certificate that it has been stranded in storage since 1999, which is evidence that can really lead to only one conclusion -- you may have to consider that it has been stolen. On the other hand, you may be able to rely on Mr. Essiet and offer him a fee to do your bidding. When I asked, he professed he knew nothing about the contents of the shipment, so you can probably get him onboard with as little as 5%. Alternatively, if you are still willing to donate to the Church and desire to obtain assistance from Mr. Lowell Green, I'm sure he would be willing to take the credit for the whole transaction. Now that I'm excommunicated, he will probably not be permitted to acknowledge my name, but you can signal that you are trustworthy and I have sent you by telling him you are from the "Canadian Alliance", which is our code name for this enterprise that he will be able to discuss over an open telephone line. You should be able to find him in the office Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 12:00 EST at +1432-765 1289. We have all been up all night packing what few belongings we will need in Iqaluit, and I'm leaving the computer as a charitable deduction to Nortel, so unfortunately will not be able to receive or reply to any further email communications. However, all the world is in balance -- last night I wrestled a Nokia cell-phone from a jogger by the canal, so I will give you a call in a couple months when the dog-sled reaches the last stop and I can go to the mall to set it up. Please continue to pray for my son. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors on an annual going forward basis, and dearly hope that this experience does not turn you completely off the Church, since if ever someone needed a spiritual experience it is you. However, I simply cannot say goodbye without stating my true belief, as plainly and honestly as I know you would expect, no matter how shocking these words may be: I am now reasonably certain that Xenu doesn't have any feathers at all... Know thyself, and to thine own self be true, my dearest refugee friend, Bill, Margaret, and little Stockwell ________________________________________________ .
Strangely, I never heard from Mr. Odogwu again. Miscellaneous notes are listed below:
- Allen Stewart Konigsberg is the original name of the popular comedian and movie director Woody Allen.
- Margaret was chosen in tribute to Princess Margaret of Britain who died the night before the last email was sent, an unlikely party girl that famously gave up love for duty in the middle of the 20’th century, thereby helping forge a general societal consensus that no-one should have to do that again.
- The West Block is one of the group of buildings that make up the Canadian Federal Parliament in Ottawa, Canada.
- Iqaluit is a small but historic city located in the northern Canadian arctic, formerly known as Frobisher Bay.
- I do not know if Mr. Sunny Odogwu phoned well known Ottawa radio host Lowell Green during his morning talk show, said he was with the Canadian Alliance, offered to contribute $7.5M to the Church of Scientology, and then demanded that Lowell cough up the storage fees… but I’d like to imagine that he did.
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