I was going through some old files when I found this transcript of an IM conversation I had with a total stranger a few years ago.
The story that "Tina" told has all the classic Nigerian scam elements, including repeated references to money, or the lack of it, and someone dying "in a ghastly car accident."
The only difference here is the real time element. I usually get emails about vasts sums of money that are just waiting for me in some distant country.
I never had an online chat with one of these scam artists.
I don't know why I kept the record of this conversation and I'm not sure why I even "spoke" with this person. I guess I didn't want to be rude and, well, maybe I was in need of some company.
I guess if I had let it go on, Tina would have asked me for money, or my bank account number. I wonder how many people fell for this scam.
Loneliness and the need to do good deeds can blind you to things you really need to see. But then that's what con artists rely upon.
I find the whole IM business a little twisted. You're speaking, but you're really typing. If you want to talk to me, pick up the damn phone.
I grew to hate the IM at this one job I had where my supervisor communicated entirely by IM, despite being a few yards away. One day I came in and I forget to switch on the IM. How careless of me...
I never heard from Tina again and I hope she's out of business. And if by some fluke her sad story is actually true, well, I hope she's back home and happy.
tina_luv003: Hi, I read your profile on yahoo and I was fascinated with what you wrote there...... I would like to know more about you
Rob: hi ya
tina_luv003: How are you?
Rob: okay--and you?
tina_luv003: im doin good
tina_luv003: I am Tina
tina_luv003: and u
Rob: hi, tina, I'm rob. I live in Brooklyn, NY. where are you?
tina_luv003: Iam from vegas but currently now in Nigeria
Rob: my goodness...nigeria, huh?
Rob: and you lived in las vegas?
tina_luv003: I am from Vegas but nw in Nigeria
Rob: how did you wind in Nigeria? Do you have family there?
tina_luv003: nope...... I came here for awarness on HIV/AIDS campain
Rob: oh really--is that with the UN?
Rob: i see...how long will you be there?
tina_luv003: I don't know for now because the motel management I am living with have seized all my traveling documents
Rob: oh, that's terrible
Rob: well, i'm certainly sorry to hear that. tell me more about yourself.
tina_luv003: ask me anything you wanna know
Rob: how old are you? what do you look like?
tina_luv003: I am 30 yrs oild
tina_luv003: 5'6ft,130lbs,blue eyes
Rob: i'm a little older than that--i'm 49, with a shaved head. about 5'7", 140 lbs.
Rob: i don't know about cool. i'm going to be 50 in may and i feel pretty darn old
tina_luv003: i see
tina_luv003: what do u do for a living?
Rob: i'm a reporter. i work for a business news web site
tina_luv003: im also a nurse
Rob Lenihan: great.
Rob Lenihan: are things bad over there--poverty, illness, etc?
tina_luv003: very bad
tina_luv003: they are living a very rough life down here
Rob: well, i commend you for your dedication. you're doing great work
tina_luv003: I have even stopped working with them
Rob: because of the passport business?
tina_luv003: nope, I am tired of working here... this place is not a good place for the whites
Rob: oh, sorry to hear that.
Rob: can't the us embassy help you with your papers?
tina_luv003: I've been there they said they can't help in monetary issue
Rob: oh...do you have family back in vegas?
tina_luv003: yup, but they don't wanna care for me
tina_luv003: Ilost my parent in a ghastly auto crash three years ago
Rob: oh, that's terrible
Rob: do you have any siblings or other family?
tina_luv003: I have some other relatives but they don't care about me
Rob: oh, that's unfortunate
Rob: listen, tina, i have to go out now. i hope things work out well for you. take care
tina_luv003: hope to hear hear from you again