Hi, i've just joined and this will be my first post (but probably not the last).
What a eye-opener this site truly is, all of you are doing a wonderful service here.
I used to have a penpal in Japan when i was 12, and i enjoyed it. I wrote for 3 years before we lost touch. The letters became infrequent and i had other interests. So i was online one night a few months ago and remembered this. I thought it would be nice to do it again, and searched for a penpal site. I found that there was now a more modern incarnation : the e-penpal site. New technology, with little cost, but all the joy of meeting people from all over the world. So i placed the following ad on the E-palworld site ;
Educated gentleman looking to correspond with others on politics, religion & life in general.
A bit brief i know, but i was looking for someone on the same wavelength. Whilst i am not averse to romance - i'm not actively seeking. Then i sat back and wondered who -if anyone- would write me.
Then i received the following email the next day;
Subject: E-Pal World: Hello Dear,
my name is sharon i saw your profile at www.e-palworld.co.uk
found pleasure to write you as my my friend so that we can communicate to each
othere,please mail me through my email address
that i will send you my pic for you to know who i am for the love and
pleasure i have develpoed in your lovely profile i awaits your lovely
reply as soon as you get this mail.
please please please contact this email directly
Which originated from the following ad;
Email:Registered users only
i will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell lateri will tell laterv
Okay, all you old salts will probably be chuckling now, and would have guessed that this was a scammer at that point, but i was naive and new - i'd seen ads like this, and did not recognise it a something suspect.
So i replied;
I'm pleased to make your aquaintance. You are my first e-pal, so forgive me if i make any mistakes.
I'd better introduce myself. I'm xx and work in xx. I studied xx at University. I live in the xx with my family, and am currently passionate about Astronomy. xx has extrememly tempestuous weather, so observing is always tricky. We are approaching the longest day, and at my latitude, it doesn't even get dark as the sun is just barely under the horizon.
My politics would be described as liberal, since i am firmly against discrimination and restrictions on liberty. I must admit its been exciting to watch the Democratic nomination, and wish all the best for Barak Obama in his campaign against John McCain. Not that i have anything against McCain, but it does seem that he will be hurt by his association with Bush. History has been made there. We do live in interesting times.
Hmmm, re-reading this now, i'm embarassed, not the most friendly is it? But my new penpal was not deterred, and wrote back the very next day;
I WILL LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU
From: Sharon Khalifa (email@example.com
Sent: 11 June 2008 20:56:08
Hello my love
How are you today
I am more than happy in your reply to my mail.How was your day?,Mine is a little bit cold over here in Dakar senegal
My name is sharon from Liberia in West Africa 23yrs 5.3ft tall, dark in complexion,(never married before )and presently i am residing in the refugee camp here in dakar as a result of the civil war that was fought in my country.My late father Dr Wilson Khalifa was the personal advicer to the former head of state before the rebels attacked our house one early morning and killed my mother and my father in cold .it was only me that is alive now and I managed to make my way to a near by country senegal where i am leaving now.
I would like to know more about you.Your likes and dislikes,your hobbies and what you are doing presently.I will tell you more about myself in my next mail.Attached here is my picture and I will send another picture in my next mail.I will also like to see your picture.
Hoping to hear from you soonest
yours in love,
With the following pictures attached ;
Well, i was stunned - 'Sharon' was in a desperate situation, and had suffered so much, but here she was emailing me asking how i was! After all, anyone could make a mistake in filling in the ad, the poor girl could easily have selected her country as USA by mistake...
So i replied - sending my sympathies, and expressing my sorrow at her loss, i asked if there was anything i could do to help her out.
She sent the following reply;
MY HONEY THIS IS MY FULL LIFE STORY WITH LOVE AND TRUST
From: Sharon Khalifa (firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: 12 June 2008 22:13:59
Hello dearest ,
I am more than happy in your urgent reply to my mail.
How is your day? hope all is fine.
Mine is a little bit hot over here in Dakar Senegal.
In this camp we are only allowed to go out only on Mondays and Fridays of
the weeks.Its just like one staying in the prison and i hope by Gods grace i will come out here soon.We don't have any relatives now whom we can go to all our relatives ran away in the middle of the war the only person we have now is Rev.Emmanuel George who is the pastor of the (Christ for all Churches) here in the camp he has been very nice to me since i came here but i am not living with him rather i am leaving in the women's hostel because the camp have two hostels one for men the other for women.
The Pastors Tel number is (+221-763316344) if you call and tell him that you want to speak with me he will send for me in the hostel. As a refugee here i don't have any right or privilege to any thing be it money or whatever because it is against the law of this country.I want to go back to my studies because i only attended my first year before the tragic incident that lead to my being in this situation now took place.
Please listen to this,i have my late father's Deposit Certificate and certificate here with me which i will send to you latter,because when he was alive he deposited some amount of money in one of the leeding bank in Europe which he used my name as the next of kin,the amount in question is $5.7M(five Million seven Hundred Thousand Dollars).
So i will like you to help me transfer this money to your account and from it you can send some money for me to get my travel ling documents and air ticket to come over to meet with you.I kept this secret to people in the camp here the only person that knows about it is the Rev rend because he is like a father to me.
So in the light of above i will like you to keep it to yourself and don't tell it to anyone for i am afraid of loosing my life and the money if people gets to know about it.
Remember i am giving you all this information due to the trust i deposed on you.I like honest and understanding people,truthful and a of vision,truth and hardworking.My favourite language is English and i speak English very fluently.Meanwhile i will like you to call me like i said i have alot to tell you.
Have a nice day and think about me.
Awaiting to hear from you soonest
Yours in love,
More pics attached;
Hah, well, i do live a kinda sheltered life, but even i have heard of this scam, although not from Senegal - I sent a terse reply.
I've requested her ad be removed.
220.127.116.11 United States (Sunnyvale)*
18.104.22.168 United States (Sunnyvale)*
22.214.171.124 United States (Sunnyvale)*
* The last IP listed is usually the originating IP address
This and other emails are what brought me here - i have since been contacted by much more people in West Africa - some less clumsy than the one above. But as they say, you always remember your first...