The Scam

When traveling in poor countries, you are constantly bombarded by people who ask you for money. there’s all sorts of ways to con people out of their money and one of ways we often saw in Ethiopia was a textbook scam. the poor kid would tell you that he doesn’t want your money, he just wants you to buy him a book so he can study english. who can say no to that? i mean, he’s not using the money for drugs, moonshine, or even toys… it’s books! it’s educational! you can’t say no to this kid’s education, right? well, of course the whoe thing is a scam. if you buy them the book, they will just go back to the shop later and sell it back for money.

In a town called Yabello, one very persistant guy showed up on my doorstep after finding out which hotel i was staying at. could i buy him some textbooks? No. maybe when i got back to the US, could i send him money for textbooks? No. Could my family buy him textbooks? No. Maybe i could just ask one of the many rich people i knew in america to send him money? No. i kept telling him over and over again that i wouldnt give him money. man, this guy was so persistant. after fending off his requests for almost half an hour, he finally gave up.

or so i though. it turns out, this guy will never give up! i was totally shocked to find out that he waited till i got home, and is now *emailing* me asking for money. $100 actually. Now, a hundred bucks goes a looooong way in ethiopia. i wonder how many suckers he finds that actually end up sending him the money? hell, even if he finds like 10-15 people per year, he can live quite comfortably over there.

here’s the email:

To Dear my brotherVlad
Thank you for the replying email letter tome. How are your? I am with my college. I want to ask something you? Would you like it? If you like it I am learn in this college through foster mother of Germany called mayr. She is pay to me thee fee of subject, food and boarding – school to me .you are live in good life of U.S.A so that I want to buy same book about my subject for this I want $ 100 dollar from you? If you want send to me by bank address.
Name of bank; -commercial bank of Ethiopia western union main branch
Name of receiver; – Basure Debebe
Address; – Addis Ababa – Ethiopia
My Account N0 28710
My telephone No 251 112 137 317
My full bank Address is this one please please sends to me same money? I am in problem, student with out book meaning lass. If you send to me write by email money transfer control No the is put in bank the money from U.S.A. to Ethiopia. Last time when I am in yabello I give to you one my past address that is wrong my new post address is this one
To Basure Debebe
Addis Ababa College of
Technology and commerce
P.o. Box 180501
Addis Ababa
This is my post address for 3 years. Until next time good-bye! And reply to my
From your brother student Basure.

6 thoughts on “The Scam”

  1. My dear brother Vlad how can you not help our your dear brother student Basure… Send the kid some money. Let him learn. After all, you are living the good life in the USA…

  2. Vlad – glad to see you made it back safely. The real world’s tough indeedy… I’ve been working a 6 month contract for about 3 months now and everyday I’m thinking about the next trip. Speaking of which, I’m shopping for airline tickets to Australia as we speak. I only planning 3 months this time, but can’t wait. All the best!

  3. To my dearest brother Vlad, I am starving Silicon Valley engineer, all my work goes to India, the roof leaks, my cellphone coverage is spotty, all I want is you send money for Napa Valley wine.

  4. oh man, australia? that sounds way fun. i would love to go there someday…

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