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Previously on "Scamming the scammer:"

"Vivi," my new Internet friend, doesn't seem to recall the totally fictitious romantic relationship we had in high school many years ago. I toss out the names of some mutual friends of ours like Shirley, LaVerne DeFazio and Ethel Mertz but none of those ring a bell for Vivi. Now Vivi wants to know my address, cell phone number and Yahoo id. Vivi is about to find out that "Ignatius" lives a sad, lonely life:

Vivi, my former love!
My heart almost leaped out of my chest in happiness when I saw that you had written me another e-mail. I really do think there is a chance that we will get together after all these years. It will be as if 30 years had melted away.
You asked me what I am doing. Well, I am in the grocery business. Actually, that is a fancy way of putting it. I work as a bag boy in a small grocery store in a small town called Mayberry. But I have BIG dreams. About once a month, a take a bus to the next biggest town - Mount Pilot - and attend a business seminar.
My father calls these "get-rich-quick" schemes but I call them business opportunities of a LIFETIME!
Someday, I will own my own business and will be a RICH MAN! Then I will laugh at all the people in Mayberry who laugh at me! They used to laugh at my father, Otis. Years ago, he was known as the town drunk but he stopped drinking and owned his own business. True, it was just one ice cream truck but he was his own boss and was happy. I want to be my own boss and be happy. Do you agree?
Perhaps when you move to Mayberry to be with me, you can help me run my business. We will be the KING and QUEEN of business and be very very very wealthy.
I am sory but I do not have a cell phone. I work as a bag boy in a grocery store and cannot afford such a luxury. When I want to make a phone call, I have to walk five miles over to Mr. Oliver Wendell Douglas' house and then climb on top of the telephone pole near his house - that is where his telephone is. He charges me 50 cents every time I make or receive a call.
What is this "yahoo" you are talking about? I know that is something the cowboys say in the movies. Do you like cowboy movies, Vivi? Maybe we could watch a cowboy movie together sometime? Yahoo. I like that word. Let's make that our secret code word of love. I will say "I yahoo Vivi" and you can say "I yahoo Ignatius." Get it? Instead of saying "love" we will say "yahoo" so only we will know what we are talking about.
Please write to me again. Every day, when I finish work at the grocery store, I get on my bicycle and ride as fast as a can five miles home to see if I have an e-mail from my darling Vivi.
Your Ignatius

Now that Vivi sees what a doofus I am, she will run screaming in the opposite direction. Boy, am I in for a surprise! Read on:

Hi
How are u doin today Ignatus..i think i am begining to fall for u but i wanted u to know something....i hav gone thru a lot ..i hav lost my parents and i am fighting for their properties in Uk and also their Company in Nigeria Named Sacon Construction Company.
This is why i left the state last week...right not i am in belfast north island and i came here to buy some goods.....i buy goods from Uk and sell them in the state.....but my goods hav been seized since the past 5 days bcos the Customs said i dunt hav one stupid documents they mentions so they gav me a reciept to go and pay the amount of 3000 pounds in the bank and bring that reciept back and hav my goods...they said if not am not gonna hav the goods...
So now i am pleading with them to accept the money i hav at hand but they wount agree to that...
The good news is that finaly my fathers company in Nigeria has been soled and the state security company in Nigeria are looking for means of tranfering the funds to my in the state and now am not even in the state and its such a huge money...
I understand all u said but i dunt want u to worry i will come back home and meet u and we could use the funds to start a new life togething and live a very rich life together...i hav a daughter now her name is jessi and she is she lives with me in our very big house....its such a very big house with a big swimming pool and garden and a large car park..i hav 3 cars now including and Suv,,a porsche and a Range rover Sport..
Get back to me as soon as u get this message
Hav a great day
Vivi care a lot

OK, Vivi just said the secret word (Nigeria) and told me a sad story about her troubles moving her goods. She also wants to fly to the airport in my city to be with me. I can bet you dollars to doughnuts that Vivi can't come up with the money for the airline ticket and/or visas. She will also need help with that shipping problem. Guess who the likely sucker will be to bail her out? Not lil ole Ignatius. I send Vivi a farewell note:

Wow! It sounds like you are rich - a big house, nice car and a swimming pool!!! You are already the QUEEN of business.
Reading what you just wrote to me makes me feel very ashamed. Why? Well, because I don't have ANY of those things. I am a 51-year-old man who makes minimum wage at a small grocery store, rides his bicycle to work and lives with his parents. Right now, I am trying to scrape up $1,000 to pay for a "start your own business" plan. The man at the seminar said it was foolproof, so it has to work this time.
So, Vivi, this will be my final e-mail to you. Why? Because I want you to be happy with a man who has things to give you and make you happy. I don't have anything. I am a miserable failure. You have shown me that.
Good luck in finding that special person in your life and thank you for bringing a little sunshine into mine.
Ignatius J. Reilly

Vivi won't let me go. After my farewell note, I get this e-mail from her:

Hi
How are u doing....Oh no i dunt want u to stop communicating with me Ignatus..i think u brought a lot of happines to me already and i told u i realy want us to meet okay..
Do not worry about all u are going thru i promise u i am gonna try and be of a good help to u as soon as i get all this things okay...i am gonna start a production company that u and i will run together okay...
Pls keep communicating with me okay..wats ur residential address and wats the name of ur nearest aiport...as soon as i get this things taken care of i will do a lot to help u okay
Hav a very wonderful day
Thinking a lot about u
Vivi cares

OK, what have I accomplished here? Other than having a few chuckles at this person's expense, hopefully, I have wasted their time. I suspect that "Vivi" is a 20-something Nigerian male sitting in an Internet cafe in Africa, thinking he has a gullible American sucker on the hook. Maybe wasting his time like this means fewer scam e-mails will be sent out to more trusting folk than me.

Thank you for reading about my fictitious romance with "Vivi."

Eric