Archive for October 7th, 2007

October 7th, 2007

Some People are their own Worst Enemy

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I can’t believe people are caught out by fraudsters in the Internet. Apparently, ‘net scams are costing the UK £3.5billion a year! 

Mervyn was one such example. He called in saying that his Russian girlfriend was being held hostage at Moscow Airport and unless he paid £3,000 the kidnappers were going to take her out into the woods and shoot her. Could we contact Russian police and get them to mount some kind of rescue. He could provide her photograph, name and details of her family members.

Hmmmm. I noted the name of his girlfriend on the log and Googled it. It wasn’t much surprise when loads of hits came back, many to discussion forums where hapless victims around the world were discussing how they’d been duped by some Katerina Something-skaya from a little village outside St Petersburg.

I gave Mervyn a call to break the good & bad news but first he gave me the history. Mervyn is 56 years old. ‘Katerina’ is 22 but somehow strangely drawn to Mervyn despite never having seen him and contacting him quite out of the blue by email. They’ve known each other for a few months. As the relationship has blossomed Katerina has needed a few quid to help her out as she prepares to leave Russia and fly to Mervyn for a future of wedded bliss.

Mervyn at first forked out a few hundred quid for a rail journey so she could get to St Petersburg to arrange her visa. Of course she had to stay in a hotel which unexpectedly took her over budget so she needed a few hundred quid extra. Blow me, when she got to the Embassy, the visa cost a few more hundred quid which she could scarely afford being a humble teacher of junior school kids. But at last the visa was arranged for a few months’ time.

Katerina is one of life’s unfortunates, and as she returned to her humble village her mother took ill and needed heart treatment. This, as you will appreciate, is very expensive in Russia, and Katerina, being on meagre wages can’t afford it. For just a few thousand pounds Mummy can have her treatment courtesy of one Dr Vladimir Boskovsky who is kind enough to email Mervyn direct from Hospital 4b, Mosow, to explain the treatment required and, helpfully, provide a full rundown of the costs involved.

Mervyn is deeply gratified to know he has been able to save the life of his future wife’s mother and now that all is well prepares to await the forthcoming arrival of his new love. (having paid the railfare to Moscow and the flight ticket).

Poor Katerina, things go from bad to worse when she has the damnedest luck to be kidnapped at the airport. It seems that Mervyn, whose savings amounted to £12,000 just 4 months ago now number £15.46 & he can’t afford the ransome.

The conversation went something like this;

"Mervyn, you probably won’t like this but it’s a scam"

"But, I’ve been emailing her for months"

"She’s not a she, she’s a big Nigerian bloke"

"I have her photograph"

"So do 26,000 other blokes, it’s not Katerina"

"But her mother, I paid her medical bills"

"She’s a big Nigerian bloke too."

"I have emails from the hospital, Dr Boskovsy."

"Not a doctor…."

"…Big Nigerian bloke?"

"Er, yes. Sorry"

"Oh."