You are about to read a tale told by an idiot.
I got an e-mail a week ago from Dr Micheal Scott who says he lives in a town in Wales. He is coming to Seattle for a month to do some work for the EPA and will have his 16 year old daughter, Mary, with him. She wants to take voice lessons and he sees that I am a voice teacher.
He has the English of someone from the Indian sub-continent and his grammar is almost non-existent. Because I have lived and traveled overseas, because I know a lot of people who first language was not English, and because I know PHDs whose e-mail English is atrocious, I am prepared to overlook this riot of syntax on my computer screen.
Besides, this girl could come several times a week for lessons and I could use a few more students. It would be a lucrative proposition and it might be a lot of fun. One of those surprises that Life sometimes hands you. I never used to be an optimist. Coming to it late in life, I don’t always know how to work it.
Anyway, the correspondence begins and we iron out my fee and the days and times Mary would have her lessons. He is planning to send her to my house in a cab because he will be working long hours at the EPA:
“i have negotiate with a cab company that will be driving her down to your place go and come. So i want you to be taking her for 4 week. Get back to me with total cost. I wait to read from you shortly.”
I ask him several times where they are staying in Seattle, the name of the cab company, his contact at the EPA, and I ask him to give Mary my e-mail address so she and I can get acquainted before she comes. His garbled response is loquacious and full of typos, but he is silent on all my questions.
Can ether be transmitted through the ethernet? Because I am going along as though anesthetized. I actually think that his responses are those of a busy doctor in Wales who is trying to wrap things up before he comes to Seattle for a month.
The screw squeaks as it tightens but I ignore the sound: his plan is to send me a money order for $4500. I am to cash the check, keep my fee, and wire the rest to this phantom cab company. I am embarrassed to report that I say I would help in any way I can.
I start listening to my gut but it’s still only a leaky gut, not a full-out attack of indigestion. I ask him why he isn’t doing this by credit card. He says he has a “financeir” in the states who will be covering all expenses and will send me instructions. I ask why the EPA isn’t providing him with transportation and by the way what is his daughter’s e-mail address? No response. Really, when I write this down, I feel even stupider than when it was happening.
Finally I copy the entire correspondence and e-mail it to my neighbor Gwen, who knows something about just about everything. Did she think I was getting into some mafia thing? She tells me that this guy is probably sitting in his backyard with his shirt off, trying this on 30 other people at the same time. That is the jolt I need. I write back, telling him I am out.
He tries again, tacking back to his daughter. His English is worse. He is decompensating:
“Mary is my only daughter so i care for her i want you to help me handle her as you child too she really love singing she want you to teach her how to use good voice, with a good teno
I pass this on to Gwen wondering if I will get an e-mail from Mary as played by some hairy guy sitting shirtless in his backyard.
Gwen writes back: “Maybe you should ask him for his bank roting # so you can have his $ removed to you “in easy fashon” . He maybee stop then.”
I know I should just stop engaging but I send one last e-mail telling him I have reported him. I haven’t, but then he has no contract with the EPA either. I’m lying down with a liar.
Here’s how the scam would go down: Dr Micheal Scott tells me he is arriving on Nov 1 so he sends a phony money order on Oct 28, giving me one day to cash it and get the money wired to a cab company which will actually be him. I have to put the cash into my account in order to wire the money. By the time the money order is revealed to be fraudulent, the bank will have sent my personal funds to his “cab company.”
It’s been over forty-eight hours since I last heard from my scammer. He maybee stop now.