Fraud alert: a new kind of crazy

There is a new crime wave.  Criminals are getting more creative and innovative by the day on various ways to get their hands on your hard-earned cash.  They are now targeting singles – men and women. 

This is my story.

One day I got a friend’s request on Facebook from a very handsome young man by the name Dieter Schwarz.  It appeared like we had one friend in common: later I realised it was a ruse to form trust.  I accepted.  He messaged me right away to thank me for accepting his request – I waved back.  Few hours later he messaged, “you have such beautiful pictures,” – I emojied a smile back.  Later I looked at his pictures – they were very few, but he had pictures of his son and I assumed he’d set his privacy to ‘only me’ – the joys of modern-day privacy settings on Facebook.

The next day he asked if I was single.  “It’s complicated…” I said.  This is the standard response when you are not sure whether honesty would serve you well. 

“Why?” I asked.

“You are a beautiful woman and I would like to get to know you.”  I was flattered. 

“Ok….” I replied half-heartedly because curiosity is one son of a bitch.  My gut instincts told to me to run a mile, still, I figured, there was no harm in giving people chances.  Besides I have a wicked sixth sense and I knew there was more to it than meets the proverbial eye.

“What’s your status?” I asked.

“Divorced with a four-year-old boy.”

“Awww… is that the young man in your profile pic?”  it was my turn to coo.

“Yes…. That’s Jason.  Do you have kids?”

Long story short, we clicked and decided to change phone numbers and communicate via WhatsApp – it’s quicker than messenger, right?

What followed made me feel like a complete idiot, but I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.  This was God… “recognise!” (as Dana from the movie Girls’ trip, would say).  I am God’s vessel to deliver a message so someone will be spared heartache or worse.

Exactly 5 seconds after typing my phone number’s last digit…. ping.

“Hey it’s Dieter”

Over the next few days we talked more about our likes and dislikes.  Our families.  Our jobs.  Our hobbies.  Our favourites this and that.  Our hopes for the future.  Our regrets of the past.  What we learnt from mistakes.  Our faith – he prays a lot.  At some point I actually thought this was the man I’d been waiting for all my life.  He was attentive – he listened and answered questions thoughtfully, thoroughly and with follow ups.  He was in California, which is 8 hours behind, and still texted me even when I texted at 4am his time.  It never raised flags until much later when I compared notes – like texting to say he’d been sleeping, I mean who does that – if you are sleeping, you are sleeping.

Fast forward several chats and it became clear that the man wanted more than just a potential girlfriend or pen pal.  Do pen pals still exist or do we now call them text pals?

Actual message: “Can I ask you something personal?”  “Fire away!”

Actual message: “I have a small problem I think you could assist me in.  Should I tell you about it now or later?” 

Actual message. “Now is better.” I replied.

Actual message: “Well I had applied for a grant worth $1.4 million from the central bank of Kenya, the grant is to be utilized for business purposes within Kenya’s geographical borders. I got a call just this month informing me that the application had gone through.

Actual message: “The problem is inorder to be allowed to access the fund. I need to have a Kenyan spouse, can you be able to help with this

My jaw was on the floor.  WTF? I thought.  My second thought was to send him to hell on a wingless pregnant mosquito, but then again, I am a curious person and needed to know more.  I knew this was bullshit of the highest order – I am not a financial wizard, but I very much doubt Central Banks of any country gives money to individuals.

Actual messages: “Congratulations on that” “What is in it for me coz lying to be someone’s spouse when you are not is fraud” “What’s the business?”  I asked these questions separately as my mind was going at a 100 miles per hour.  WTF indeed.  I was determined to get to the bottom of this.

A few more questions compelled him to introduce me to his ‘high-flying-lawyer-in-bed-with-every-politician-in-Kenya. 

Actual message: “Well I have my lawyer in Nairobi who can make it seem like we had a civil marriage at his offices back in 2017.  He also has in possession all the documents; I can have him send the documents to you.

“Who is the lawyer?”  I asked, ready to google the shit out of him.  And because I too, know highflyers, I knew where to look to verify if the guy was real or a phony.

Actual message: “He is one Emmanuel Okwach, he is pretty famous in Kenya. Has a lot of friends in politics. 

Common sense dictates if you are famous and well connected, you’d not advertise your fraudulent business deals to strangers would you? ….  another red flag.

At this point a lot of things were raising red flags.  This guy claimed to be a white American born and raised in California.  I don’t live there or anything, but I know a lot of them don’t use words like …. He is one Emmanuel blah blah.  The good news was that this error proved useful in later communications with this piece of shit.

Needless to say, one Emmanuel Okwach with all his fame and connections did not exist on google (other than some Facebook results which were clearly not high-flying lawyers).  The Law Society of Kenya didn’t have him registered either.  I knew I would never get involved with anything this stupid and fraudulent.  It was then I had an epiphany – get to the bitter bottom of this and warn others.

And so, the conversation resumed – I said it was ok for the lawyer to contact me. 

Actual message: “I gave him your number.  He’s stuck in traffic.  He will text you later.”

“Ok.” 

Later that evening he contacted me, but said he couldn’t ‘talk business’ because it was family time, and “can we chat in the morning?” “OK.” I replied.

The very next day I got a wake-up message.  The lawyer would be calling in 12 minutes.  Weird.  And he did.  He, like a broken machine, regurgitated everything D had said.  He even texted/spoke in Kiswahili to create rapport.  Only he didn’t know I was on to him. 

I asked him a few questions and he had answers at the tip of his tongue.  He assured me the money would be available in 14 days, but we must hurry because if we missed this window the bank might withdraw the offer.  He asked for an email to send the documents that I needed to read and sign.  I gave him my junkyard Gmail account.  D had warned me not to tell anyone about this when I had mentioned in passing that I might get an expert to verify things, “I haven’t even told my mom yet”, he’d said, and now E repeated the message sternly.    

Almost immediately, E sent the documents.  They were two letters supposedly from Central Bank of Kenya and signed by the director, implying that Mr Dieter would be a recipient of $1.4M.  The other requested my full names, ID number and account number, as spouse of Mr Dieter.  They were as fake as Nicki Minaj’s derriere.  I had things to do and wasn’t about to sit around and mess about with fraudsters.  I went about my day.  My phone was offline because, well I have my reasons.

Six hours later when I returned home and my Wi-Fi automatically connected, a zillion messages flooded in.  ‘Oh boy’ I thought.

I had requested to have a voice call with D.  He said his phone had dropped in water and he wouldn’t hear me or me him or something comparably stupid, so it’d be pointless… another red flag.

Actual message: “E sent you the documents this morning and you haven’t signed and returned them…” a message from D screamed at me.  Another from E asked if I’d returned the signed docs. “Arghhh stop…” I thought.

I was done messing about, “I need someone to verify the authenticity of these documents before signing.  So, bear with me.”  “I know someone who might know the governor and he’d verify this quickly.”

I could tell they/he did not like that.  At this point I knew D and E were one and the same person.

Actual message from E: “Njoroge signed 20 of these contracts, plus he is a public figure…. Nikama kutafuta mtu anajua Ruto or Kenyatta {it’s like looking for someone who knows Ruto or Kenyatta}” he wrote back.

Things quickly escalated.

“Lucky for me I know someone who knows Njoroge.” I wrote back.  I could tell they/he were not happy.  D was asking what was taking so long.  E was saying D was getting irritated with me.  I wrote back “let him..” he replied ‘okay’ and blocked me.

D insisted for a little longer.  His texts were now bold and outright forceful.

Actual message: “I don’t like your tone so I’ll pass.” I texted him.

Actual message: “Seriously?”

Actual message: “Yes” I replied and blocked him.

I later searched on Facebook for my newly formed friend – he was no longer there (he had defriended me…. Shocker!!).  The name, however, Dieter Schwarz, was still there with a different profile picture of an older man with an ugly moustache.  PLEASE NOTE: NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE MILLIONAIRE GERMAN OF THE SAME NAME.

Please be extra vigilant out there.  Beware of scambags masquerading as millionaire businessmen looking to recruit unsuspecting rubes into their shady world of thievery.  These conmen are real, and they don’t care who gets hurt as long as they get what they want.  They change names and use other people’s images including those of children.  They are scam of the earth and deserve to live underground, unfortunately there are here, on the ground with the rest of us.

Share this message and save a soul.

1 Comment

Join the discussion