An Open Letter to Mr. Abibe Yala

This “nigeria letter” (aka advance fee fraud) arrived in my inbox today:

From Mr. Abibe Yala

Dear Friend,

Very Urgent & Confidential

I know you do not know me before, I am Mr. Abibe Yala, younger brother to
Mr. Kumba Yala the Ex-President of Guinea-Bissau. I got your contact
information during my private search for a reliable and trustworthy person
to carry out this urgent transaction with.

In view of the political crisis happening in my country today, I
discovered that my brother Mr. Kumba is just trying to impose himself as a
leader on his people who are not proud and satisfied with his past

My brother sent me on a mission to South Africa to purchase fire arms
which he intend to use in fighting a political war against his opponent so
he can become the President again. I am not in support of his intensions
but I do not have any other options than to do what he asked me. He
provided the sum of US$22,100,000.00
(Twenty Two Million, One Hundred
Thousand United States Dollars), which we brought into South Africa
through diplomatic means. On getting to South Africa, I found out that the
person (Mr. Jacob Zuma Ex- Vice President of South Africa) whom he
instructed me to meet for the operation was under government probation for
related crime and never want to get himself involved in such deals
anymore. Since I have never been in support of my brother’s intentions, I
made up my mind never to go back to my country (Guinea-Bissau). I want to
immediately to a better country especially in the Europe or Asia,
where I can have good investment with this money since I cannot stay here
in Africa.

My reason of contacting you is that, I want you to support me as my
foreign partner to move the funds and myself out of Africa as soon as
possible. Presently, the funds are deposited as consignment with a
depository company in Johannesburg South Africa for safekeeping. Why I am
presently residing in West Africa for security reasons. I am willing to
offer you 40% of the whole money for the inconveniences this will cost you
and for your support in this transaction, while the remaining 60% will be
for me to setup a profitable investment in your country through your
guidance and directions.

As a matter of urgency, please do let me know if you can assist me in
handling this transaction and the investment involve.

I anticipate your quick response.

Best Regards.
Mr. Abibe Yala

The funny thing about this is how the story he tells to gain our sympathies is basically about how he wants to steal his brother’s money and move to Europe. (See the bold bits above) Nice guy! Here’s my response:

OK, I’m not stupid, I recognize a so-called “Nigeria letter” when I see one. You’re obviously a con-man, and if that’s what works for you, fine. I just hope you don’t hurt anybody.

But anyway: You really need to work on your story. The way you describe it, it sounds like you’re basically trying to steal $22 million from your brother. It makes you sound like a thief. Even with the part about your brother trying to become a dictator, etc. He’s supposed to be your BROTHER for god’s sake. He TRUSTED you with the money, right? And you respond with BETRAYAL? No one will sympathize with you about that.

Instead, you need to first make it seem that HE betrayed YOU. Say that your brother decided to kill you, and you’re fleeing from his paramilitary death squads. Then maybe someone will say, “Wow, that poor Mr Yala, he needs my help”. With the story you sent me, anyone too stupid too realize you’re a con-man will probably just think, “This Abibe seems like a real asshole, trying to steal his brother’s money”.

// jack