I Lied to My Wife, Flew to Lagos, and Got the Shit Beaten Out of Me Because of a Nigerian Email Scam
By now, everyone is well aware of “419” scams, also known as advance-fee fraud or Nigerian-email fraud. These are cons in which anonymous hustlers pose as corrupt African officials or exiled refugees looking to transfer Scrooge McDuck-ian heaps of cash into foreign accounts. They blanket thousands of email addresses with invitations, and the occasional gullible victim is tricked into forking over private banking information. There are a handful of variations, but most people with eyeballs and keyboards know to hit mark spam whenever they see anything of the sort sliming around their inbox.
In 2003, however, the con was less well known, and a friend of my father’s got seriously duped. When Laurent (his name has been changed at his request), then a 42-year-old salesman at a pharmaceutical company living on Réunion Island (a French territory in the Indian Ocean), received an offer to launder $1 million from a frozen Nigerian bank account into his own, it seemed to solve all of his money problems.
Instead, he wound up battered, bruised, and abandoned in a strange country. I spoke with him recently to find out what the hell happened.
About ten years ago, I was at home playing chess on my computer when an email from someone claiming to be the governor of Lagos, Nigeria, landed in my inbox. The subject line was URGENT, so I read it right away—actually, I read it a few times in a row. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I don’t recall the exact wording of the email, but the gist of it was that the governor of Lagos West constituency, Bola Tinubu, had hidden around $1 million in a secret bank account to avoid taxes. The money had been stolen from public funds, the email continued, and the Tinubu family couldn’t use it because they were being closely monitored by the government.
They needed a foreigner to come to Lagos, take the money out of the account, and put it into a Swiss bank. That’s where I came in. Supposedly, if I sent $1,300 in cash to a Lagos address, they would get me a room in a luxury hotel, and I could come over and sign some documents that would be prepared by a lawyer, whose fees would run me another $1,300. I’d wind up with 5 percent of that $1 million, which sounded pretty fair to me.
It’s Christmas time. And just because you’re a piece of shit with repellant views doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to enjoy the season too. Below are our pick of gifts available from organizations designated as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Perfect for zealots of any ideology.
Clockwise from top left:
"White Pride World Wide" Hand Towel ($12.75 - via) Who does your money go to support? - Aryan Wear Who are they? - Online store selling merchandise geared towards white supermacists.
Sarah Palin Bobblehead ($16.97 - via) Who does your money go to support? - World Net Daily Who are they? - Super-conservative online publication with an anti-gay agenda. Also big fans of the Obama “birther” stuff.
"THIS IS AMERICA WHY MUST WE PRESS 1 TO PROCEED IN ENGLISH" Dog T-Shirt ($22.99 - via) Who does your money go to support? - Casa D’ice Who are they? - Restaurant in Pennsylvania, famous for the sign in their parking lot which displays messages like “It’s time to bomb the hell out of Iraq, make it a giant litter box, take damn oil, bring our soldiers home, and out source the war.”
So the other day, i just got to thinking: what if the TV show ‘Sinefeld’ was still on TV in modarn day? You know, like for example, imagen what if there was an epsode where Krame sneak on to James Cameren’s mini submerine when he voyage to the bottom of the Mariana Tranch, but then Kremer try to make a penut butter sanwich on the submerine but James Cameren FREAK OUT just like “Krame theres no room this sub for you and youre penut butter sanwiches ITS SUPOSED TO BE FOR ONLY ONE PERSEN!!!” And clasic Krame is just go “gidyap.” That would be prety modarn.
K, so then I got to imagining some more, and in my mind I was just like “what if every character who was ever in Sienfeld made an album in 2013?” Honestly this idea was prety titilating to me and so it lead me to think, “What if I created a list of the top 20 imagenary albems by characters from Senfeld.” Then I shot an email to Drew who is my editer to that efect and he imediately shot back an email that said some thing like “for sure @seinfeld2000, this sound greate. I have complete faith in you and respect and trust you so much, more than anyone in my life and i KNOW your just gona simply CRUSH this article!!!! ps Did you see Best Men Holidays yet”
Then what hapened was that I wrote the article and Drew publish it on this webste, and you clicked on it and now your reading it, thank you so much. Plese dont stop reading, I know my speling isnt the gretest but i promise you its gona be prety halarious if you keep reading. No presure. If you have other stuff to do like you have to go prapare a scrambled egg for your 4 year old, you can defenitely go do that and come back, im not going anywhere. I know your busy. I know your a busy single mother name brenda who lives in Spokane, washingten or whatever
Anyway its time for my list so lets get it poping BABY!!! There were a lot of imagenary albems by ‘Seifneld’ characters that i wish could have made this list. Goerge Steinbrenar’s “Calzone Crush Saga” was probebly my faverite post dubstep albem of the year and The Maestros sparkling debut mix tape “Tuscan Leather Interiers” on Rick Ross Mayback Music basicaly redefine what it meant to “turn up” in 2013
But I had to keep it to 20 so only the best of the best make the cut. Plese scroll down on this page and reading the oficial Top 20 Albems By Characters From Seinfeld. Just a remindar, this is all IMAGENARY so dont try to go out and buy any of these albems bc the record store clerk will look at you like your tacos locos and you will probebly get ban from the store.
20. J. Peterman - Burmese Dream (Kitsuné / J. Peterman)
Honetsly? What was suposed to be a simple mixtape style compilatien albem to promote J Petermen’s colaboration line with clothing maker slash label Kitsune evolved into a groundbreaking chillwave record when everyone though chilwave was over. The album is a halucenagenic reality tour through Elanes boss’s drug-haze experiance in Myanmar. HOTEST TRACK: “Yam Yam”
19. Newman - Hello, Jary (Matador)
"Hello Jary / I left candy bars in youre couch and the candy bars gave you fleas," declare mail-delivaring pop savant Newmen on his hit single "Mailman" which bitch-slap Jery Seinfeld in the face with its lyric. Despite focusing entire on his neighber Jery Senfeld, Newmens debut album ended up ruling the pop charts, thanks to sultry hip-hop-savvy, powefrul voice and synth jams as earworm as Miley Cyres or Katy Parys most splashiest hits. HOTEST TRACK: "Royals"
18. Uncle Leo - Jerry, Hello (Drag City)
If anything 2013 was a year dominated by albems dedicated to Jery senfeld. But where Newmen used music to directed his rage at Jary in album form, Uncle Leos debut come from a much more vulnarable place- his heart. Sick of Jery never saying “hello” he recorded this pleading folk mastarpiece produced entirely by Justin Vernen of Bon Ever or whatever. HOTEST TRACK: “Cousin Jeffrey (Parks Dept)”
You Don’t Like Childish Gambino’s ‘Because the Internet’ Because of the Internet
When the leak of Childish Gambino’s sophomore record Because the Internet arrived in my inbox last week, I was a little hesitant to open it. Not because I thought I had a porn virus or the Syrian Electronic Army was attacking me, but because I’d followed Glover’s zig-zagging narrative closely over the past six months. First, he announced that he’d be cutting down his time in Community. Then he went pretty quiet on social media, despite dropping his first track in sometime, “Centipede.” Then he released Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, that strangely bizarre 30-minute experimental silent film completely different from any of the silly comedy he was known for (“Troy and Abed in the morning,” anyone?) Then that whole “Instagram photo” thinghappened, in which he posted a bunch of handwritten letters in the Renaissance Hotel explaining his own frustrations with media and the internet. Then he dropped some more new music—music that made the few people on the rap internet who actually listened to it say, oh, wow, this is pretty good—and announcedBecause the Internet’s release, which is today. Then he spoke to Noisey about attempting suicide and taking more drugs in order to be a better rapper. And now, anytime he’s in public, he looks stoned out of his mind, a bit like he’s floating, uncertain of his next move but still carrying a bit of innate, Hollywood-charm. As a critic and a rap fan, it was fascinating to watch his development as an artist. And so when the record did indeed arrive, I was wary of listening because, holy shit, what if I actually like this Childish Gambino record?
The fact that I had this internal discussion—whether or not it was okay for me to like this music—is inherently funny, but what’s more is that it’s indicative of exactly what the Because the Internet is about, how self-aware Glover is, what he is trying to accomplish with Gambino, and what the culture thinks of him.
Oh, and it’s also important to consider that this is a record made by Childish Gambino, who is arguably one of the most automatically hated rappers currently in the game.
By now you’ve seen what Buzzfeed is calling “the most elaborate prank-with-a-message of the year”: Tom Mabe’s “Epic Don’t Drink and Drive Prank.” It was blowing past 1 million views when I started writing this, and by dinner time your grandma will have seen it.
In the video, a gruff-looking guy wakes up, ostensibly after passing out drunk, and finds himself in an elaborate hospital set, where he’s told that he’s been in a coma for ten years because of his bad decisions. We all learn a valuable lesson. Share if you hate drunk driving. Like our page for more inspiring vids.
If you don’t write an end of the year trendpiece, you are a total jerk. Because a year’s art starts on day one of the new year and if we don’t quantify it somehow by December, who are we as a people and what is our worth? Without lists and handy dandy encapsulation, on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, we are, like, negative infinity.
With that in mind I have helpfully compiled some of the most important trends of 2013 for you. Because time is not a stream. It is a Lego. I put numbers in front of them so that it was a proper list. I spelled the numbers out so that it qualifies as a “thinkpiece.”
First off: Kanye West. So far, so good. This summation racket is very pretty easy.
Secondly: Total bullshit that Perfect Pussy reached number one on the Billboard charts because the Illuminati (or as it’s most commonly referred to in Boston, “chix”) fooled all you fools into liking something you didn’t actually like. This is the Thomas Frank theory of music criticism. If only the heartland weren’t so credulous, we wouldn’t have to sit through multiple Perfect Pussy rock blocks on the radio (whatever that is).
Tertiary: Black Metal and shoegaze combined forces help put Rosemary’s Baby (and me) to sleep. I can only suppose that Satan is looking at the long game.
Fourth: Punk happened again, for the 46 year running. Punk is Susan Lucci in 1999, but forever.
I Spent a Month Living in a Romanian Sexcam Studio
Until July I shared an apartment in England with two cousins, Lorenz and Alessandro. When I moved out at short notice, I was worried that I’d left the pair in the lurch, but as it turned out my timing couldn’t have been better. “We’re moving to Romania to open a catering business,” they told me. That plan seemed a little unusual, not to mention completely economically unviable, but they assured me that they had it all worked out. They knew a guy who was already running a similar operation in Bucharest, they said.
Come September, I got a message from the cousins asking if I could help out writing up some sales copy for their business. “Sure, tell me more about it,” I wrote. “Well, it’s a secret,” replied Alessandro. It’s tricky to write about secrets, I told him, and after some coaxing he revealed, unsurprisingly, that it wasn’t really a catering business they had opened at all, but a studio full of stripping, pouting, masturbating camgirls and camboys. I told the pair that I didn’t feel comfortable writing sales copy for that kind of thing. Not to worry, they said, before inviting me out to stay with them. Which is exactly what I did at the beginning of last month.
Welcome to our brand new food column, Hot Links, where VICE employee Dan Meyer explores the neglected culinary stars of YouTube. Each week, Dan will present a selection of videos highlighting specific food themes from amateur cooking, to local restaurant commercials, to elderly drinking buddies, to kitchen disasters, to the infinite supply of odd YouTube wonders in the food category. We encourage you to fall into this culinary video k-hole, and include your own comments and contributions below.
Here are my top seven selections for local restaurant advertisements. Watching these clips should mentally transport you to a run-down motel room in somewhere, USA, where the TV’s blaring with low-budget tourist trap commercials on a loop. Get familiar with the theme, crack a cold one, and watch these hot links.
Creed’s Seafood & Steaks—King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Restaurant owner Jim Creed loves wine, and is proud to be the boss at the longest independently owned fine dining restaurant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania—since 1982. Every time I am in the suburbs of Philly driving around the parking lots of a shopping mall, I find myself wondering, where could I possibly find a nice steak, in a lively setting, prepared by a real chef? Luckily, Creed’s is the answer.
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