Saturday 24 October 2009

Ghana: Diplomat Ibrahim Sule, you are blue ice

You’ll get nowhere with a pseudonym

Annoyed does not begin to describe my outrage; I do hate so desperately to be taken for a fool.

In one of my possible guises on the World Wide Web, one of my pseudonyms seems to have ended up side-by-side with my mobile phone number.

Just at half past midnight, my phone rings with this number +233540722606 which I automatically reckoned was from Ghana. {I have no qualms about publishing this number from Ghana, if illegally used, then the owner needs to change it but it needs to be exposed.}

If you know me, you must know me

Now, one thing I so consciously do is, if I do not recognise a caller, I never first offer any information about myself, the caller must know who they are calling, the polite “Hello” is always followed by a pause to get a response with an introduction.

So, I hear, “Is that Fred?” (For instance, as one of my pseudonyms), I answer back knowing anyone who wants to speak to Fred must call from Amsterdam or the Netherlands having exchanged information in some seemingly lugubrious forum – we all have secret lives of sorts.

The man identifies himself as Diplomat Ibrahim Sule and a conversation ensues. Which I would now start from the beginning again.

Phone rings; I stir up from slumber to take the call, brain engages the number from Ghana and a million questions as to who can this be at 00:30 Central European Time and I would suppose Ghana is an hour behind – quite a bit of activity going on in the background – all suspicious antenna at Code RED.

The telephone conversation with quips

Fred: Hello {Pause}

Ibrahim: Hello, Hello, is that Fred?

Fred: Yes, it is {Recognition of pseudonym, but from Ghana? I’ll hear the rest of this.}

Ibrahim: This is Diplomat Ibrahim Sule calling from Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana. {Am I supposed to be impressed by the fact that he is a diplomat or that he is in an international airport?}

Fred: Yes and how I can help you?

Ibrahim: I have these two boxes to deliver to you immediately, I need you to send your email ... {I cut him off before he finishes his sentence.}

Fred: I have no idea who you are or where you got my details from. Where exactly did you get my information from?

Ibrahim: We have no time for that discussion now, the information is in the documents I have and I am to deliver these boxes to you. Just send my your email ... {I cut him off mid-sentence again - Fred’s information can never be on documents, if they were, they would never refer to me because the information that would link me with any delivery is entirely different and I should be expecting it. Curiosity? Never that persuaded of obvious hoaxes.}

Fred: In that case, you must never call this number again, ever. {I say in a loud voice and terminate the call.}

Be a better Fred

Hopefully the next “Fred” on the list is a bit more undiplomatic and livid with rage. I am not even going to analyse this much. I have no fairy godmother in Ghana; the few people I know from Ghana are respectable ladies and gentlemen bar one who was recently a subject of my Men Without Integrity Thought Picnic.

I know no shady diplomats with false information shopping around for specific details to perpetrate confidence tricks, scams or bogus business deals.

Even the people who know Fred are never presented with some schizophrenic personality diametrically different from the real person behind that pseudonym, I doubt they would have the courage to try and pull that one on me.

Their urgency is not yours

Two boxes of what exactly? From whom? And you are at an international airport but not the one in my country and really, if they were meant for me, you would courier them to me having had the full details and definitely not from the airport to be delivered to email addresses.

What people forget as the most essential tenet is – Another unknown person’s apprehension or urgency cannot be suddenly be transferred unto someone else without proper recognition and the full establishment of trust, allowing for you to drop your guard.

He did not have time have to discuss details of where he got my details from, well, I had, time, opportunity and place; there was no way we would move to the next issue of exchange without the token of verifiable details of the caller, intent, mission and purpose.

A Ghanaian scamming a Nigerian?

One crucial point which might sound like a dig; NOT all scammers are from Nigeria, this was from Ghana and to think someone from Ghana would try to scam a person with a Nigerian heritage is at least ironic. I suppose he would have terminated the call if I had had a Nigerian accent – pseudonyms can indeed be useful.

Maybe I am just too alert for my own liking, from slumber to call to blog; roll over and take a chill pill some little voice might say.

Meanwhile, Diplomat Ibrahim Sule, box yourself up in your diplomatic boxes; I have nails, the hammer and deadweight to ensure the boxes are blue ice in the Mediterranean – Some people!

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