In the six months before I left New York, I had to fill the two other bedrooms in my apartment, which meant two long, tedious Craigslist searches for roommates. Each time, I received no fewer than 100 applicants, though 10 percent of them always looked something like this (copied verbatim):
How are u doing? hope fine? if so, glory be to almighty God. I saw your Advert that u have a rom/apt. to be sub-leased. am interested in renting the room/apt. It suits the type of place i need for my comfort and work. Am a lady of 29 yrs old and a British. I was born and brought up in . I lived all my life there.
Am a medical practisional, a doctor to be precised but presently in West Africa (Nigeria) for a program which will be ending soon. i and the rest of my collegues will be coming to U.S.A (United State of America) for another program (HIV/AIDS seminal) which will last for some months or even a year. we’ll be there to educate and give the people some medical diagnosis on HIV/AIDS.
I will like to lease the room/apt for the period which i will be there for the program cos it prefer staying there than staying in a hotel . pls response by mailing me and tell me if the room/apt is still available and then get back to me with the deposite amount . I cant wait to read from u soon.
Thanking u in anticipation
Always British (or rather, claimed to be), always with a terrible (mis)representation of the English language, always residing in “West Africa (Nigeria).” Now, I’m a smart girl—plus, I would be living with the person! and you know prevalent spelling and grammatical errors are simply unacceptable (not to mention, they sounded like total weirdos)—so I never responded to any of these. But apparently, not everyone is so wise; around the same time, my friends Brent and Karen in Statesboro, Georgia were on the Atlanta news for being scammed by yet another Craigslister, whose e-mails were nearly identical to the ones I was receiving. Luckily, they realized they were victims before it was too late.
Fast forward a year and a half. While home last week, I was on a tedious hunt for a new Maltese puppy to add to my family’s canine clan (we currently have four males and want a new female to breed to our show dog, Kobe, so SVV and I can have one of our own(!)).*** I came across a few options via the Tennessean classifieds and sites like Petfinder.com and sent out some feelers. I received this response after a week:
The puppy is AKC RegIistered,has all shots upto date. she’s vet checked.
But unfortunately,she’s just been adopted,some few days ago and I just sold to Mr. Richard in (Vidor,TX),But you can get in touch with Another One of my
customer that I sold another puppy to,who is looking for caring parent to adopt the the lil pup now.
His name is Evangelist Mike Tison, he called me that he had been transfered to West Africa on a christian mission,due to his immediate relocation, he went
with his wife, and also had the puppy with him overthere.
His commitment to the work of God could not enable his to stay with the puppy often according to him,and that the climatic condition of the country is too
harsh for the puppy’s health, so he needs a caring parent who can adopt the baby back to the United States of America as soon as possible.
he will provide the shipping agent to have the puppies shipped back to you.
But i suggest you contact him soon as possible Via Email: email@example.com
He will be very much delightfull to hear from you,so as to have this puppy shipped to you asap.
HE REQUESTED, a caring and loving parent for his baby,and i am so sure he will be so excited if he knows I directed you to him.
Kindly notify me immediately the baby is adopted
Now, I realize that I am from Tennessee, and this part of the country is not known for great grammar. I was vaguely suspicious by the wording (especially of the “Mr. Richard (Vidor, TX)” part–I mean, why would I need to know such a superfluous detail) but still emailed “Evangelist Mike Tison” anyhow, writing a long-winded account of what good dog owners we are and even including several pics of us with our own pups. I figured since he resided in Nigeria, he wouldn’t get back to me for weeks. I mean, Internet can’t be all that ubiquitous there, can it? But lo, his response was almost instantaneous:
Thanks for emaling me about my babies and i have them available with me. they are my real babies and It`s really hard letting off this Angels but I have to if I really love them. I am currently on an Christian mission to the west africa in a country called Nigeria and I came down with my babies. I got here to see that my babies are not meant for this kind of place. I need a God fearing person that will be there for this babies I am giving them out for free adoption, It`s only the shipping charge that is needed to get them back to the U.S.A.
My babies name are derby(female) and terry(male). they are 3months old 1week, Currently vaccinated, Vet Examined, Health certified and comes with a 1yr health guarantee the puppies are potty trained, home raised and family socialized as well as crate trained, they have tremendous attitude, excellent temperament with great personalty, very friendly with other pets and little kids, they have an incredible high rate of learning and they are AKC registered, recently dewormed, current on all shots, well animated .
My church member love them so much but I could not let any of them adopt the babies because it`s still same west africa. Let me have your full mailing address,contact phone number and the nearest airport to your home so as to determine what the shipping and handling charge would be from my shipping agent that shipped them into west africa for me.
Please be a Dearing parent to this Angels when they arrived your home because they are my babies, they will be missed but I will always remember you and them in my daily prayers. Please see attached pics of derby and terry
God bless you.
Again, the diction caught me a bit off guard, but I was more distracted by three-month-old puppy! Free of charge! (Malteses are notoriously expensive.) Shots taken care of! POTTY TRAINED! And there were pictures of the cute little cottonballs themselves! I read the e-mail to SVV and my mom, and we were all giddy with the hopes of a new addition to our family. Though one thought that crossed SVV’s mind, since he lived in Sicily and had to bring his cat back to the US following his three-year deployment, was the possibility of a long-term quarantine. So he started researching that, while I Googled “shipping costs pets Nigeria.”
THIS was the first thing returned to me.
And then it all made sense. The man buying a dog and “suddenly” being shipped to West Africa. The weird phrasing by all parties involved. The vague semblance of a stock response. After stumbling upon the insightful scammer article, I replied to “Evangelist Mike Tison:” “Hmmm…” with the link inserted, and shocker, haven’t heard back. I’m usually not one to so easily fall prey to such a ploy, but when you add little white cuteness into the mix, apparently I throw all caution to the wind. Besides, it was really the whole God/missionary thing that initially caught me off guard. WHO DOES THAT, posing as a disciple of the Lord? I hope these scammers get their just desserts (read: go to Hell) for bringing the Big Guy Upstairs into it, and I hope this serves as a warning for any out there who might have been as naive as I nearly was.
Also? Next time I’m passing through Nigeria, “Evangelist Mike Tison” will regret the day he ever crossed this hot-tempered blogger.
***Please e-mail me if, by some stroke of God, you happen to be or know a Maltese breeder in the TN/northern GA/AL/southern KY area and aren’t of Nigerian descent.