When the U.S, economy tailspinned from Standard & Poor downgrade, I won the lottery thrice on the Internet. That excludes the seven times I hit the sweepstakes.
My e-mail box is crammed with congratulation letters for striking a gold lode. So, how come I still can’t toss Eduardo Cojuangco a “name-your-price” offer for those coco-levy-manacled San Miguel Corporation shares?
“Your e-mail address won US500,000”, Luckday International wrote. At today’s exchange rates, that’s P20.5 million. So,how did I squeeze into millionaires’ row?
Over 300,000 e-mail addresses were churned through a computer ballot systems explains Josephine Van Daal, lottery coordinator. Or was it Mr. Norris Carret? I forget now.
But that’s nothing compared to Summerset International Lottery. They process more addresses, insists Mrs. Comfort Jose and –bingo! “You have therefore been approved (sic) for a lump sum pay out of one million euro’.
“I don’t like millionaires,” Mark Twain once wrote. “But it’d be dangerous to offer me the position.” Me too.
Belgium, Nigeria, Spain, even Iraq, slobber over this instant millionaire. Is it because they’re psychic?
How else could they figure that I secretly felt kinship with Teyve who, in the Broadway play “Fiddler On The Roof”, sang my own question: “Would it spoil some vast eternal plan/ If I were a wealthy man?”
But you’re a rich man, insists Sarah Hoofman of Euro-Foundation. I am? From Geneva, she emailed that I won 1.5 million euros. And Loenteen Garrnett of Belgium’s Lottery Software butts in to announce: “You’ve been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$ 1million (sic).” I’m to collect the “dough” not later than September 23, she adds.
Spain biggest is “El Godo” (The “Fat One”). It compares with the Irish Sweepstakes. Did Gary Smith of Amersfoort in Amsterdam swipe that Iberian trademark? “You are therefore been approve (sic) for the lump sum pay out of euros 1.25 million,” he announces.
At this rate, I deserve a lifestyle check, I tell our neighbor-Ombudsman. “Are you nuts?” be snaps. Maybe.
Blame those serial jackpot images dancing through my head. Why, I’d give Ferdinand Marcos shell philantrophies, in Lichtenstein, a run for their money. Or I’d buy,. Wholesale and at a premium, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s second hand helicopters .
Indeed, no one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if all he had were good intentions,” former UK prime minister Margaret Tatcher once said. “ He had money as well.”
By the time Loteria de la Primitiva in Madrid and Holland’s Paragon Promo tell of sums, waiting for my go-signal. I’m wary.
What’s the catch? “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
All the letters are phrased identically, down to the grammatical errors. Only the amounts vary. Keep it confidential, they ask. But contact a financial agent whose name is given. To dip into the till, first give the chap your private numbers.
“All that’s required is provide your full names (sic), address, private phone, bank account and fax numbers, writes “Dr, Ben Ali. He claims to be auditor of Iraq’s State Bank. Then, he’d transfer an idle $14.2million which no claimed. When transferred to your bank account, we’ll share: 65% for you, 30% for you and 5% for any expenses incurred (sic).”.
Mauritius “Member of Parliament “ Rajesh Anand Bhagwan will deal at only 25%. percent. Dennis Kingibe at the Security and Investment Bank in Lagos offers to split 50-50.
Dubhai merchant Khalid Suleman say’s he’s dying from pancreatic cancer. Before facing God’s judgement for a dissolute life, could you help him distribute $28 million to the needy? “I want God to be merciful to my soul.” Bribing the Almighty balance books, in the hereafter, can be done by dispatched help (sic) to charity organizations. I’ve set aside 20% for your help. And by the way, send your bank account number soonest.
Such letters titillate avarice. Their appeals are hitched to officials suspected of hoarding ill-gotten wealth. Letters claim access wealth of Baby Doc Duvavlier, Suharto, etc.. “Greed is a tree that grows on arid soil,” the Ilocos proverb notes.
How many have been conned?
If the email traffic is any indication, there are suckers out there, willing to be fleeced. Who said ‘there is one born every minute’?
Fed-up, one of my sons trolled through “million dollar offers.” Someone bit — hard. Detailed exchanges resulted in an elaborate meeting timetable, at a five star Bangkok hotel. On D-Day, my son didn’t show up. In reply to frantic long distance inquiries, he replied: ‘On way to the airport, I had a flat tire.”
“Charles de Gaulle summed it well, Dad,” my son explained over coffee: “Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.”
( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )