By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – It was early 2017 when I first connected to the Internet. The first thing I did was open up a Google email account and a Facebook account, because it’s like you don’t exist if you’re not signed up to one social media platform.
Of course, this is all nonsense, but the idea was maybe floating around in my subconscience. So, that’s what I did, and I immediately began to receive friend requests.
One of them in particular caught my attention. It was from a beautiful, mysterious woman who went by the name Fatima Hassan. She gave me her email address and asked me to write to her as soon as possible, she had something important to tell me and it would be more private via email.
So, I wrote to her and received a long poorly translated missive, in which she told me a very sad story. She was a refugee in Senegal because her Iranian parents, who had a fortune worth millions of dollars at the Bank of England, had been murdered.
Given her refugee status, she was unable to access the account and needed somebody to travel there with a power of attorney in her name to withdraw this money. She would pay me a juicy commmission for doing this.
The most interesting thing was that I – me and nobody else – was Allah’s answer to her long and intense prayers.
It seems that as soon as she saw me, this God confirmed that I was the chosen one. She even insinuated that she wished that, once the money had been withdrawn, she could come to Cuba and get to know and marry me, as she was a young 25-year-old virgin who longed to find fall in love with me.
Given my life experiences, I think I’ve become an old fox and I didn’t swallow any of it. I didn’t believe that quite an attractive woman, who thousands of men would chase after, had set her sights on a complete stranger. But I decided to play the game a little, because you never know… and I had nothing to lose anyway.
I replied that I didn’t have the means to travel to the UK and our messages seemed to stop there.
After two months, I received a new email telling me that she had managed to withdraw 4 million USD with the help of two European businesspeople, and she was now working in Germany, investing in projects.
However, Allah had put it in her heart to deposit US $200 000 into United Bank for Africa. I had to get in touch with a Mr. Leo Thaddeus, the bank’s manager. The most interesting thing was that she gave me an email, website, and phone number of this guy so I could get in touch with him.
I verified the bank and website were real, and everything seemed in order. Carrying on, just to see how far this would go, I got in touch with this Thaddeus, who informed that yes, that he had a 200,000 USD deposit, and he asked me to urgently send over my information before he wired the transfer. I obviously sent this information as soon as I could.
The next day, I received an email from the man telling me that the transfer would cost 195 USD, which I would have to transfer to him via some money transfer agency like Western Union.
That was the end of the game!
I have to admit that I still held onto the distant hope that this was all real up until that point, but that request for money confirmed my suspicions.
I looked up Online Scams by girl refugee in camp on Holy Google, and I soon discovered that there are criminal groups in Africa that dedicate themselves to doing this. They use fake profiles and hackers.
The general and not very original scam is the story of an attractive and young woman who is now a refugee, fleeing some civil war after her millionaire parents are murdered, who have left a fortune in some bank somewhere.
The entire story is wrapped in a seductive air to make the victim feel like some kind of medieval night who rescues the princess trapped in a castle.
As you would imagine, there are quite a few simple-minded people out in the world who fall into the trap, judging by the hundreds of thousands of USD that these criminal rings make every year.
However, there’s a reason the famous saying here goes: “Wake up, you’re in Cuba.”
It’s because we Cuban islanders, can’t be fooled with such basic schemes, for we are forced to work hard and persevere through this life forced upon us.
Plus, we don’t have any money goddamnit!