A few days ago at Writers' Digest, the following comment appeared on my page:
My name is kate, i saw your
profile today here i became
intrested in you,and i want you
to send an email to my email
address so that i can give you my
picture for you to know me
better.Here is my address
( email@example.com )
I believe we can move from here!l
waiting for your mail soonest.
Remeber that distance or
colour does not matter
but love matters alot in life.
Do have a nice day,
( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Now, before you start thinking "Wow, maybe I ought to look her up and start corresponding and plan my life with her and think about having babies..... pay attention to the rest of what I've got to say here.
Yes, right here.
Still here? Good.
Norma and I have an arrangement of sorts from Myspace. Every once in awhile someone turns up looking for a relationship, no doubt sending the same message to countless other people. Our arrangement is simple. I get to go all pit-bull on whoever bothers her with those messages, and she does the same for me.
Well, while it's a common problem on Myspace, this is the first time we've seen someone like this on Writers' Digest. It turns out, in fact, that Miss Desmond (more on her later) was sending the exact same message to most of the other males on the site. Spamming us all. For the record, I hate spam.
Norma went into attack mode, sending off a get lost you moron sort of email to SpammerDesmond. Her reply? Here we are:
My DAEREST ONE
firstly I am very sorry for my late response to Your Email,I thank you for your reaction to mine email; Enline with the message, which I have sent to you.How was your night over there in your country,i believe you had a nice night and that the arthmosphere over there in your country is very nice today? Mine is a little bit warm over here in Dakar Senegal.My name is kate Desmond i am (24) but age doesn't matter in a real relationship, so i am confortable with your age,I am from in ,5.4ft tall, light in complexion single,(never married ) and presently i am residing here in as a result of the civil war that was fought in my country some years ago.
My late father Dr Philip Desmond; was a politician and the managing director of a Gold & Mine Ind in Kigali (the capital of Rwanda) before the rebels attacked our house one early morning and killed my mother and my father in cold blood.It was only me that is alive now and I managed to make my way to a near by country where i am leaving now as a refugee under a Reverend-Pastor's care and i am using his computer to send these message to you.I would like to know more about you. Your likes and dislikes,PLAESE Do to not be offended for this message that come;s from me please, fair which to me obliged to put simple trust on you due to my situation here as the refugee and I shall demand most your conscientiousness after yours to know about me, I shall really grow fond we to have good inspite attitudes therefore I have this as a trust which i belive that you can not betray it at the end. I have communicated you because of my difficaute situation here in this refugees camp;Its just like one staying in the prison and i hope by Gods grace i will come out here soon.
i don't have any relatives now whom i can go to all my relatives ran away in the middle of the war the only person i have now is Rev- partric Devine,who is the pastor of the (CHRIST DE SAVIORMISSION) here in the camp he has been very nice to me since i came here but i am not living with him rather i am leaving in the women's hostel because the camp have two hostels one for men the other for women.
The Pastors Tel number is (+221 772538321 ) if you call tell him that you want to speak with me he will send for me in the hostel.As a refugee here i don't have any right or privilledge to any thing be it money or whatever because it is against the law of this country.My Dearest,please I want to go back to my studies because i only attended my first year before the traggic incident that lead to my being in this situation now took place.
Please listen to this(please it's a secret,even no one knows about it eccept the Reverend that knows about it),i have my late father's statement of account and death certificate here with me which i will send to you latter,because when he was alive he deposited some amount of money in a leading Foreign bank which he used my name as the next of kin,the amount in question is $6.7(Six Million Seven Hundred Thousand USDollars).So i will like you to help me transfer this money to your account and from it you can send some money for me to get my travelling documents and air ticket to come over to meet with you.I kept this secret to people in the camp here the only person that knows about it is the Reverend because he is like a father to me.So in the light of above i will like you to keep it to yourself and don't tell it to anyone for i am afraid of loosing my life and the money if people gets to know about it.
Remember i am giving you all this information due to the trust i deposed on you.I like honest and understanding people,truthful and a man of vision,hardworking and GOD fearing people.My favourite language is english but our language is french but i speak english very fluently.Meanwhile i will like you to call me like i said i have alot to tell you Attached here is my picture.I will send you more in my next mail.Have a nice day and think about me.
Awaiting to hear from you soonest.
Yours in love,
There you have it. If we're to believe Miss Desmond (which we're not, unless you're a complete imbecile), this club hopping socialite in the above picture is a Rwandan refugee. Oh, sure she is. And if you believe that, I've got a bit of ocean front property in Saskatchewan for sale.
This, of course, is the classic Nigerian scam. You're all familiar with it. Read that little fable there, and it's got all the elements. Tragic story, relative with money, and all you need to do to get a piece of it is send your bank account number so it can be deposited. If you fall for it, you deserve to get fleeced.
So who really is Kate Desmond? The woman in the above picture? No, think again. The con artists behind this little scam no doubt googled their way through Shutterstock or some other social networking site, found themselves a picture of a pleasant looking young woman, and built their story around the picture. You'd think they'd pay more attention to what a refugee should look like, but.... apparently not.
Anyway, "Kate Desmond" and her mass spam of Writers Digest came to an end, with her profile taken down. And not a minute too soon.
It got me to thinking, though, of how to use someone like this as a character. I've thought of featuring a woman with African roots as a villain, perhaps a Somali arms dealer, someone with the right streak of nastiness, for my series with Stryker and Devon. It's much too late in the game to feature such a character in Heaven & Hell. At the same time, she might well serve as a suitable antagonist for my character without a proper book of his own, Lars Ulrich. Of course, he's busy chasing down moose, interrogating Muppets, and picking fights with oversized politicians these days....
What to do, what to do....