Enter two new characters: Dr. Attan Kizito and Hon. Barrister Larry Bobo, who, Zongo reports, have been assigned to facilitate the transfer.
Dr. Attan Kizito: To enable this fund to be in your name and make the transfer easy, you will effect with the minimum sum of $7,210 because it has been dormant since the deceased client died.
Zongo (who writes twice daily): When will the transfer arrive?
Theresa: Sadly, I only have $3,000 to my name. And my rent is due next week.
Zongo: Dear Sister Theresa: Hon: Barrister Larry Bobo told me that you will transfer $3,000. I have to assist by paying the sum of $4,210 if you make sure you send the money tomorrow.
Theresa: I went to my bank for a bank-to-bank transfer and was told there is no Attan Kizito at Bank of Africa, and that Mr. Larry's emails area scam.
Zongo (minutes later): Larry is not be happy to hear that you or your bank call him a fraud. Withdraw the money from your account and send it through Western Union while I try and convince the lawyer not to be angry. You write an apology letter while I plead with him to understand this is not your fault as you are old.
Theresa (six weeks later): Before I go to Western Union, I ask that you send me a photo showing your kind face. I imagine that you are quite handsome.
Zongo: Here is my passport.
It has the same name and number as the one he sent Ben, but with a different photo.
Theresa (after emailing Zongo the passport that was sent to Ben): Bad news, my Zongo. There is an imposter using your name and passport number. See?
Zongo: All I will say is that people may be using my name to do bad. Therefore, if you can not trust me, it is better that I look for another person who is a relative of the late George Black.
Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP Books/Sterling.