A while back I wrote about some of the intriguing offers I have been getting by email. I’ve collected a few more worth looking at.
An uncharacteristically short one, only five sentences long, begins “Your portfolio has been assessed to the essential commissions, and upon careful care, we are able to suggest to you the ensuing offer. Based upon careful care you make the grade to get a sizable gain on your primary property investment.”
I’m not sure what the actual offer was. To find out I was supposed to click on a link, but I was carefully careful not to do that. I’ve heard sometimes they aren’t what they appear to be.
Another letter, from a B.K. Andrews, was more promising. “Dear Partner,” it began optimistically. I admit to some skepticism about these kinds of things, but the sender seemed to understand, saying
“Forgive this unusual manner of contacting you, but this particular letter is of exceptional and very private nature. There is absolutely going to be a great doubt and distrust in your heart in respect of this email, coupled with the fact that, so many miscreants have taken possession of the Internet to facilitate their nefarious deeds, thereby making it extremely difficult for genuine and legitimate business class persons to get attention and recognition.”
Even though I am not exactly a genuine and legitimate business class person, I do have aspirations, and I feel flattered to be included in that description. (And I really like the words “miscreants” and “nefarious”.) The sender continues:
“There is no way for me to know whether I will be properly understood, but it is my duty to write and reach out to you. For I know that you are the only one that can be trusted to handle this project effectively without making us regret. The recommendation I got concerning you, is enough to get us started with you!”
So, right there I got really intrigued. Who could that recommendation have come from? Do I and this mysterious benefactor share a mutual acquaintance? Nobody from my circle of friends seems a likely candidate.
It turns out B.K.Andrews heads “a four-man committee on debt reconciliation at the Works Ministry, where I am also a Director of Project Implementation.” The country remains unspecified. What follows is a generous offer to share some funds of mysterious origin, not unlike that of several other offers I’ve received.
After a little more enticement my benefactor starts to wrap things up, saying
”Trust is definitely the most noble trait in the world, and I urge you to trust my sincerity and the word of a simple and humble person of faith, who in the name of love for her equals is willing to accomplish the task of doing business with a trusted and transparent person. It is up to you to decide whether this letter deserves your trust and confidentiality.”
Doesn’t reading that just give you a warm, rosy glow? I know it did me.
However, I was surprised to find out B.K. Andrews was a woman (I guess I was mislead by the “four-man committee”) It probably doesn’t really matter whether the sender is Betty Andrews or Barbara Andrews, but in a transaction of this sort, I’d feel better knowing her first name.
Under the circumstances I decided this letter did not deserve my trust and confidentiality.
My favorite recent email comes from someone who straightaway introduces himself as “Viktor Alexey, British citizen and Principal assurance manager for the HSBC in London.” I went to the web to learn that HSBC is an international banking organization. (HSBC stands for Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, “which was established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between China and Europe.” Very exotic!)
Of course Viktor makes it known right up front that he is in a somewhat dicey situation and that he is relying on my integrity and discretion. Say no more. Everyone knows I can be counted on to keep a secret.
A sad and detailed story unfolds about one Philip Mutof who came to Viktor in 2001 to engage Viktor’s investment services for a rather large sum of money. Viktor is evidently an excellent investment banker, and the profits on Mr. Mutof’s investment accrued quite nicely.
But alas, after not being able to contact Mr. Mutof for some time, Viktor learned Mutof had been tragically killed in an auto accident in Birmingham, England. HSBC has more than 9600 offices (in 70 countries). I don’t know whether one of the offices is in Birmingham, but I have to wonder whether Mr. Mutof may have been coming to collect his money on that fatal day. That would have been ironic.
But Viktor Alexey is a banker, not a social worker. These things happen. It turns out that Mr. Mutof died with no will and had no known next of kin. That seems surprising, considering his wealth, but you never know. I keep thinking I should make out a will, but I have not gotten around to it. This is a good reminder.
So Viktor is stuck with a pile of money that will probably just be sucked up into the British tax system (national health care and all that), unless he finds someone to give it to. That is where I come in of course. Viktor thought at first I might actually be related to Mr Mr. Mutof.
“In line with our internal processes for account holders who have passed away, we instituted our own investigations in good faith to determine who should have right to claim the estate. This investigation has for the past months been unfruitful. We have scanned every continent and used our private investigation affiliate companies to get to the root of the problem. It is this investigation that resulted in my being furnished with your details as a possible relative of the deceased.”
That really made my day when I read I was a possibly a relative of the mysterious Mr. Mutof. But it turns out, after a little further investigation, I’m not.
But not to worry; I will do. Even though I am not actually related to Mr. Mutof, Viktor can simply name someone as Mr. Mutof’s next of kin, making them eligible to inherit 12.5 million pounds (almost $21.5 million at today’s exchange rate). He’s willing to name me, if I agree to split that with him. Seems fair, but perhaps not completely honest. But, as Viktor says
“What I wish to relate to you will smack of unethical practice but I want you to understand something. It is only an outsider to the banking world who finds the internal politics of the banking world aberrational.”
So that’s why this deal seems a little shady to me I guess—I am an outsider. What do I know? That’s the story of my life.
At the end Viktor gets a little defensive (and provides some rich detail about himself).
“If my offer is of no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you. Do not destroy my career because you do not approve of my proposal.
You may not know this but people like myself who have made tidy sums out of comparable situations run the whole private banking sector. I am not a criminal and what I do, I do not find against good conscience. Such opportunities only come ones way once in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by. For once I find myself in total control of my destiny. These chances won’t pass me by. I ask that you do not destroy my chance. If you will not work with me, let me know and let me move on with my life but do not destroy me. I am a family man and this is an opportunity to provide them with new opportunities.”
I find Viktor’s passion surprising, but persuasive. Who is this guy? I suspect he has revealed more about himself than he really wants to. He is, perhaps, a savvy investment banker. But when it comes right down to it, he is desperate. This is his chance, and he wants that money so badly he can taste it. He can rationalize a little rule bending—that’s just the way it is in the banking world—but he needs my help.
But can he trust me not to betray him, even accidentally? He ends with these cautions.
“If you give me positive signals, I will initiate this process towards a conclusion. I wish to inform you that should you contact me via official channels I will deny knowing you and about this project. I repeat, I do not want you contacting me through my official phone lines nor do I want you contacting me through my official email account. Contact me only through the numbers I will provide for you and also through this email address. I do not want any direct link between you and me. My official lines are not secure lines as they are periodically monitored.
Please observe this instruction religiously. Please, again, note I am a family man, I have wife and children. I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should plan a meeting soon. I await your response. “
What can I say? After reading Viktor’s letter I am emotionally drained. It is practically a novel! Graham Greene would have loved this plot, and these characters. I may just work on it myself. All I need is a little nest egg to tide me over…