Actually, I’m sure I received many of those ubiquitous Nigerian email scams a while back as did most of us. And no, I did not fall for them. This time it was an apartment listing in Boston on Craigslist (yeah, I know…). And of course, a too-good-to-be-true situation.
[Full emails below]
I’m happy to say that I didn’t fall for it, but I confess I got too close for comfort. My question: why can’t they make the effort to not sound like, well, Nigerian email scammers? It’s really bugging me. And why did I not question it from the get-go? That answer is obvious: when we want something that badly, we’re oblivious to the most obvious of signs.
The first email, while not grammatically correct for a “psychologist,” wasn’t as blatantly amateur as many.
In my haste to secure this dream home, I did managed to skim over weirdnesses like “The nature of my work has made me much of a traveler and has really exposed me to different types of race…” Huh? And things like capitalizing words such as “Property,” “Daughter,” “Family,” “House,” and “Available.” And… “moved down to Tucson.” From Boston? Er, okay.
Still, I replied. With visions of domestic bliss, a new life, free parking, a tree-lined street, etc. Thankfully, the second note made it clear that this was a hoax. As did a Google search for this Megan (nothing). Also odd was her not following up at all, after two zippity-doo-dah emails. I went back to the original listing and it had already been flagged as a scam, so I assume that’s why.
Why is this interesting to me? I’m a sucker for a good con story — in books and movies. In real life, even, there’s a certain delicious frisson of fear when you encounter a true con and don’t fall for it. The reverse is surely true: beyond a loss of money, I’d imagine you’d also lose some self-respect and the memory would always be sickening.
I’ve been approached by a scammer just one other time, in Manhattan. A woman walked up to me, timidly, near Citibank on LaGuardia above Bleecker, with a fat, cash-filled envelope and told me she’d just found it and oh my god what should she do? She didn’t have a bank account and feared for her life if she walked around with so much money. I think she wanted me to deposit it and then withdraw just a portion for her, maybe half (of a supposed $5,000). I smelled a rat and walked away.
And Megan, dear, I look forward to NOT read back from you ever. xoxo
Postscript: the picture she/he sent were real. Makes you wonder how many scammers might be trying to sell YOUR house. eeks.