Thursday, June 25, 2009

Something stinks in the state of... Ghana?

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a "Jim Lee" which read:
Hello C/S I am Jim Lee and i will like to know if you can print flyers or brochures with the size of 1. measures 8.5' x 11' (2. )80# Gloss Text or (3.) 0.25 - White boarder (4.) One sided (5.) Full color and what i need on the flyers is ( Glory Be To God ) and the background should be in yellow and the writing black and so let me know the total cost of 120,000 copies and 100,000 copies and also the form of payment you accept so that i will know what to do next hope this will help . pls advise . May God Our Lord Be With you Jim Lee...
This is the second e-mail I've gotten from someone I never heard of asking me about printing. I wrote back to the first one informing him I'm a writer, not a printer, and heard no more. But today, here's another guy thinking I'm a printer.

I have no idea what the "C/S" in the e-mail means. And the requested flyer is incredibly simple. I mean, if "Jim Lee" has a computer with Word, he can probably do this himself and find a FedEx Kinko's or other printer nearby. Weird.
But being the capitalist I am, and being curious as well, I went ahead and got a legitimate printing bid, tacked $200 onto each figure for my efforts, and sent the bid to "Jim Lee."

He wrote back today saying everything looked hunky-dory:

Hello Liz,
Thank you for your email and am obliged for your quotation ,i find the price satisfactory and i give you my order of the 120,000 flyers at the price you stated and i will like to put the request of the 100,000 flyers on hold for now and proceed with the 120,000.I was suppose to arrange for and come and pickup the flyers at your location but unfortunately I got off the phone in aboutr two hours ago with a doctor in Italy that my wife who is there for vacdation has been admitted at the hospital and i have to take the next flight out to Italy to see her and will be very grateful if you could assist in shipping the flyers to the desired location.I am sending this flyers to one of our Church ministry that is located in Accra-Ghana and I have a Shipping Company that has been handling my shipment for me so I want you to contact them with the total weight of the banners to be shipped and get me Freight charges and contact me back with it so that I can email you back with the full payment information details for the payment charges on the Order and Shipping.
This is the contact details for the Shipping Company as follows:
And there was the name and address of a Rev. George Morris in Accra-Ghana(!), plus the contact info for the shipping company. Wow. It was really going to be expensive to send these flyers to Ghana, of all places. Continuing, Jim wrote:
I want you to email them with the pick up location address and the total weight of the ( flyers he Sizes and the Quantity of the ( flyers ) instead of the weight and also the Ship to address and get me the Freight charges and contact me back for the payment and also please do try to leave me with a contact number so i can call you.

NB: the Shipping Company will also handle the packaging and crating and pick up and shipment from your location.

Mr.Jim Lee
Okay. The religious message on the flyers (or banners?), the ship-to address of a minister in Ghana, the idiotic simplicity of the flyers, the information that Mr. Lee had planned to pick up the flyers himself, only he had to fly to the side of his wife, who was sick on "vacdation" in Italy, and the fact that he wanted me to tell him the charges, AND my phone number... it started smelling like another African e-mail scam. I wrote Jim Lee back and told him so. I don't expect I'll hear back. But I hope Mrs. Lee's illness doesn't ruin the rest of her "vacdation."

I guess that "C/S" might be code for "Christian Scam." What I can't figure out is how "Jim Lee" gets any money out of this. Say I front the money to the printer. Then the printer gets my money, and I'm stuck with 120,000 stupid flyers. The shipping charges may be even more than the printing, so if he expected me to front that, he or his colleagues in Ghana could score a few grand. But I've never seen this type of scam before. I guess my mind isn't devious enough to figure it out. Anybody know this particular scam, if it is one?

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