Blogs » Bicycle » My new African friend: The $7.5 million pitch


In our last installment, I shared an email I received from a 23-year-old woman who lives in Ivory Coast, Africa. She found me on a social newtworking site and wants to be my new friend.

I'm suspicious so I write to her as "Milburn Drysdale, president of the Beverly Hills Commerce Bank." Will she fall for any of my nonsense? Here is her response to my reply of her initial email:

Dearest, Thanks for your mail,I will really like to have a good relationship with you, and i have a special reason why i decided to contact you.

I decided to contact you because of the urgency of my situation here and after reading your profile ,I am Miss Gift, 23 years old girl from Bouaké, the second largest city in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and a major industrial base of the country,the only daughter of Late Dr Bernard Adou Hugues the managing director of (Adou Cocoa industry limited) in Bouaké city of Ivory Coast , my country.

Before the wicked rebels attacked our house one early morning and killed my mother and my father in cold blood,they accused my father of refusal to give a financial support to the rebels for the purchase of Ammunition.

I am constrained to contact you because of the nature of my staying here in the refugee camp as I wanted to escape to the Europe but having no international passport and other valuable traveling documents. Luckily I was able to discover my father's file which contains important documents. So I decided to run to the refugee camp where I am presently seeking asylum under the United Nations High Commission for the Refugee here in Dakar, Republic of Senegal. I wish to contact you personally for a long term business relationship and investment assistance in your Country.

My father of blessed memory deposited the sum of US$7.500, 000.00 in a Bank with my name as the next of kin. However, I shall forward you with the necessary documents on confirmation of your acceptance to assist me for the transfer and investment of the fund.As you will help me in an investment, and i will like to complete my studies, as i was about getting in to the university, when the crisis started. It is my intention to compensate you with 15% of the total money for your services and the balance shall be my investment capital. This is the reason why I decided to contact you. Please all communications should be through this email address only for confidential purposes.

As soon as I receive your positive response showing your interest I will put things into action immediately. In the light of the above, I shall appreciate an urgent message indicating your ability and willingness to handle this transaction sincerely. Awaiting your urgent and positive response. Please do keep this only to your self please i beg you not to disclose it till i come over , once the fund has been transferred. I send you my pictures.

Yours Sincerely, Gift

So, my new friend tells me a tragic tale of murder, political violence, intrigue and homelessness. Then she waves $7.5 million in front of me and offers to share 15% of it with me. How will "Milburn" respond to this shocking news? By ignoring it, of course. Read on:

Dear New Friend, Thank you for your email reply of the 22nd Instant. I was happy to read it and learn a little bit more about you. Sounds like you have a wonderful life there in Ivory Coast. Perhaps one day I can visit you and your lovely family there.

Right now, I am pretty busy here as president of the Beverly Hills Commerce Bank. We have a LOT of money here at the bank and many of our depositors are quite wealthy Hollywood types. And of course, a few are eccentric like my largest client, J. Bodine, who inherited money from the estate of J.D. Clampett. But I don't mind.

As stated in a previous email to you, we must keep our correspondence strictly on this site because my nosy secretary, Jane Hathaway, monitors all of my Internet activities, except for this site. Miss Hathaway is very snooty but I think you would like her a lot. I look forward to seeing your lovely photos. Yours, Milburn

This is probably not the response my new friend was expecting. Will she still write to me? To be continued.