Friday, February 17, 2006

Financial genius

Most people get spam from Nigeria offering to give them a cut of the action if they help transfer $x,000,000 (Exray Million United States Dollars) from the dormant bank account of some captain of industry who died with no known relatives to safety in an American bank account. But not me. No, I'm special. I get spam from Senegal offering to give me a large chunk of the proceeds if I help transfer Twenty Two Milion United States Dollars ($22,000.00 USD) from Dakar, Senegal, to a bank here in the U.S. so that the bank manager and I can pilfer it.

The most fascinating thing about it is that the spammer engages in some creative math, worthy of the Bush administration. First of all, that part about "Twenty Two Million United States Dollars ($22,000.00 USD)" is not my typo. Apparently the bank manager doesn't think that an extra three zeros here or there makes much difference to anyone — that's probably how he thinks he can get away with embezzling in the first place. However, it goes on from there to specify that I will get to keep 40% of the funds (That would be either Eight Point Eight Million or $8,800.00) with 5% to cover expenses and "the remaining 60% for me [our Senegalese criminal mastermind friend who cleverly sent his e-mail to me, disguised as a message to a completely unrelated address]." To review, that's 40% for me, 5% for expenses, and 60% for some guy in Dakar.

Okay, children, if I have 40 cents, and then I add 5 cents, and then I add 60 more cents, how much money do I have? If you answered One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars, you're ready for the post-graduate course in Third World Bank Management. However, if you answered a buck-o-five [note: pop-up ad on the linked page], then you know that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.