For Once, I Didn’t Go Looking For Trouble Online
But the trouble found me. Here’s the setup: I am trying to sell about $150.00 worth of Ikea furniture on Craig’s List. Here’s an email I got in response:
I will love to make an instant purchase, so please do withdraw the advert from Craigslist, I don’t mind adding an extra $40 for you to do so. I want to be rest assured that the item is in hand. I will also like you to know that I can only make payments via money order at this time b/c I am away on assignment. Please provide me with your full names, address and phone number so I can make payment out to you and have it sent ASAP.. It will take about 6days for payment to get to you . As per pick-up, I will make arrangement for the pick-up within 1 business days after payment has been received by you.
Now, I’m not the most savvy guy in the world. Not even fifth most. But I know a scam when I see one. So I responded the only way I know how:
I must tell you that certain circumstances prevent me from making any traceable commercial transactions. I have reason to believe that my finances are under surveillance by very powerful, very sinister people. This goes right up to the top. Illuminati, Bilderbergers. Men without names.
For this reason, I can only transact in cash. I am willing to accept payment in Swiss Francs or Belarusian Rubles. If absolutely necessary, I will accept US Dollars. It goes without saying that the bills must be nonsequential. Any funny business and I pull the plug on this whole deal, understand?
Tomorrow, at precisely 6:23 PM, I will have an associate place a chalk marking on the mailbox on the corner of Massachussetts Avenue and 17th Street Northwest. If the mark is in the shape of an “X”, it means that you have the green light. Have your people slip the currency between pages 58 and 59 of the third copy from the left of The Brothers Karamazov at Kramer Books on Connecticut Avenue, just north of Dupont Circle.
If my associate leaves a chalk mark that resembles the silhouette of an immature barn owl, that is an indication of a major security breach. Under those circumstances, it would be my advice for you to keep clear of the United States or its protectorates for at LEAST 6 months. I’ll be heading south until the whole thing cools off.
Stay tuned: any response I get will be posted forthwith.