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Emails to my Therapist

Not Bold: Identity Theft

Someone extremely close to me just had his identity stolen, his email hacked into, and his address list dunned for money. The message that went out to his whole list claimed he was stranded in London and so please wire $4,000 immediately.

One good clue: The letter-writer clearly wasn’t entirely at home in English.

Then a second identity theft message said: this is not a scam, I’m seriously in trouble, send the money.

Well, I can’t imagine anyone did–though he did get thoughtful responses from his friends, patients, children, ex-wife, and someone he hadn’t seen since high school.

Turns out that the creative letter-writer is in Nigeria with a bank account at the ready in London. (Why is Nigeria the world scamming-business headquarters, when there are a number of other places with some dishonest people who need money? See L.A. Times profile “Nigerian Cyber Scammers.” For a non-cyber view: a friend of mine grew up in Nigeria and still misses the country. see her wonderful book: The Gods of Noonday, which is one of the most beautiful tributes to a river I’ve ever read.)

Here is my message to these multi-national Nigeria-based Keystone Krooks: Get your own identity and then maybe some money will follow. Be yourself. Long-term, it’s a much better strategy.

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