Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today's fortune: April 3, 2011

Today's fortune: You will inherit an unexpected sum of money within the year.

This is less fortune than it is bad omen. Because the first thing that comes to mind when I think of ineritance is "a family member will die soon."

But of course the word "inherit" could mean more than that. Let's turn to trusty for their opinion:

"To take or receive (property, a right, a title, etc.) by succession or will, as an heir; to receive as if by succession from predecessors, i.e. the problems the new government inherited from its predecessors; to receive (a genetic character) by the transmission of hereditary factors; to succeed (a person) as heir; to receive as one's portion.
That last one's interesting, and I could fulfill this fortune easily by saying I receive "my portion" every two weeks when my paycheck comes in.
On a weekday I might try to pull that crap. But this is Sunday. I have time on my hands.
After I opened the fortune today, I checked my e-mail, as I do several times per day like all 21st Century young Americans (yes, I still consider myself young...ish). And I'll be damned if an inheritance opportunity didn't present itself. The e-mail came from a person named Williams Grant, and the subject line was TREAT AS URGENT. Sounded important.
Turns out, Williams Grant is the auditing manager at the African Development Bank in Burkina Faso. Here's a snippet of his e-mail:
I discovered a dormant account during our annual auditing exercise in my office, and my further investigation revealed that this accound has not been operated on for quite a long time. It will be in my interested to transfer this fund worth $30 million into an account...If you can assist me in getting the money transferred, contact me immediately so I can give you more details.
How could I pass that up? I promptly replied to Mr. Grant with my name, address, Social Security number and bank account information.
Just kidding.
Of course, this is a take on the all-too-common "419 Scam," which usually includes a promise of inherited funds or found money being transferred to you from a bank in Africa. All you have to do is send back a comparatively small fee (usually a few hundred to a few thousand dollars) to start the transfer process.
Once the hapless sucker wires the fee, they never hear from the African banker again. Here's the story about these scams from
(Note to readers: this scam was popular eight or nine years ago, but beware: I've gotten two of these e-mails in the past week. I guess the scammers are hoping to take advantage of a new generation of internet users. Watch your back...)
Back in my newspapering days, I received one of these e-mails to my work address. I decided to try and investigate a little bit to see how much information I could find out. I replied to the e-mail with an innocuous, "Sounds interesting. Let me know what the next step in the process entails."
I never heard back. Either the scammers were too busy, they didn't think I had the dough for a transfer fee or they recognized my e-mail address as being from an American media outlet.
I think I'll delete Mr. Grant's e-mail and let him send the $30 million to somebody else.
The best type of inheritance, of course, is the one that comes from a "long lost relative." This way, you get lots of of money and you don't lose a relative to whom you were emotionally attached.
Since I'm not going to go out and kill one of my own relatives to collect the inheritance, and since I'm certainly not hoping one of my loved ones passes away, I'll just hope this fortune takes the "long lost relative" route.
Then I'll be a quattuordecillionaire (thank you, and I can humiliate my manservants.

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