Monday, March 21, 2016

The Five Minute Fool

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."
~ Chinese proverb

I just could not wait to post in April, therefore this is a pre-April's fool blog.  About a month ago, I received a friend request from an unknown person on social media. I noticed that they had about four or five friends in common and only one was actually a true friend. So I made a decision to accept the friend request from a male individual born in the United Kingdom living abroad, who claimed his profession to be a chemical engineer working offshore who had lost his wife in recent years and is now a single parent. Let's call this gentleman Simon Muniz.

Over the next couple of weeks, Simon began sending friendly notes that quickly evolved into intimate instant messages throughout the day. Now, I feel odd and uncomfortable that this man is constantly sending me messages, and I am too preoccupied with time sensitive matters that impact my finance than to become interrupted with frequent and senselessly short and idle chats with someone who lives across the pond, and I haven't even had at least a two-minute phone conversation. He questioned in an instant message, "why do you respond late my messages?" I replied, "because I am launching a program and urgently seeking funding. Ah ha, an opportunity identified! Now, this Mr. Muniz makes his move and offers an unsolicited donation in the generous amount of $50,000 to help fund my project. So the fun begins!
WED 4:28AM 
[Muniz] Hi Sonja. How are you today? 
How is your fund raising project going? You know that i am still working offshore now and i don't have access to my money here. But I will email my bank to transfer some funds to you to support your project ok 
Just drop your email address and phone number, so i can forward it to the bank to contact you and make the transfer of my little donation 
Take care and hope to hear from you 
WED 12:52PM 
[Me] Hello Muniz. I've been really busy working on this 
WED 2:57PM 
[Me] I appreciate your offer to make a donation. I will send a link PayPal.Me/xxxxxxxxx 
WED 4:03PM 
[Muniz] You know that I am still working offshore now in the Atlantic and does not have access 
to my money here but I will email my bank to transfer the sum of $50,000 USD to you so you 
can boost your investment capital for now. Then when i finish my contract here and done 
with the evacuation of our working materials, I will come over to the US to meet you 
before the year runs out so we can talk one-on-one on the way forward for the business. 
I may even introduce some of my colleagues here as new investors when I come back ok. 
You don't have to worry also about the transfer because my bank is already informed. 
But you are yet to drop your mobile number for me so I can forward it to the bank 
as soon as possible.  The bank manager said he to call you to verify that they 
are dealing with the right person. 

(Below is the email that was 'allegedly' sent from Access bank of Ghana)
The bank will require you to give us the following details: 

  ACCOUNT NUMBER:               [……………………………………] 
  ACCOUNT-HOLDER NAME:    [……………………………………] 
  BANK NAME AND ADDRESS: [……………………………………] 
  BANK TRANSIT NUMBER        [……………………………………] 

A copy of your passport ID and the sum of $500 for the account to be activated. We would greatly appreciate your executing this request as soon as possible so that the transfer can be done quickly. 

Thank you for patronizing Access Bank and entrusting our bank with your family financial needs. We understand that there are many banks vying for your business, so at Access Bank, we are committed to doing more for our customers and we appreciate the opportunity to show it. 

(notice no signature, name nor title in the closing)
At 6am the next morning I received a call from a number with a 23323 prefix.  It was a male voice.  His English was inaudible and African accent so thick that I could only make out a few words, "Did you see the email?"  He repeated and then said, "I'll call back"  and hung up.   There was so much background noise, I was certain that they were calling from a public place.  I quickly Googled the number and discovered the call was from Ghana. 

FRI 6:14AM 
I wrote to Muniz:
[Me] I am not comfortable accepting such a large amount. This email did not come from a corporation. This is not how legitimate international transfers are done. My lawyer from Sierra Leone advises against any method other than Paypal. Thank you and best regards. 

[Muniz] Please Sonja don't insult my person. I don't like that mindset. The bank manager just email me that you were asking him to provide his company name and all that. Is that true? I hope you have no intention to discredit my person? Is this all i get in return?
[Me] tell you what my dear no disrespect to you or your Banker have your Banker forward a smaller increments through PayPal $9,999 and let that go through first
[Muniz] Is that the way you want it?
[Me] I tell you what you have my number why don't you give me a call
[Muniz] We don't call from here my dear. We are only connected to the internet through the ship radar
Why should i call you? When we are chatting
[Me] No worries. Need to hear your voice.
[Muniz] What for? Talk to the bank
[Me] You want to give me the information, and I will contact them.
[Muniz] You never said that all this while. You are not truthful

In the end and although I had choice words for Muniz, I parted with words that were much too kind, "Good luck my dear."   The moral to this story is that it is better to be a fool for five minutes and use your sixth sense and snap the hell out of it in the sixth minute.  I am thankful and more wiser for this experience!
Sonja Brooks
Reflections on Adinkra , contributed by Nanna "Adinkrahene" Abban.

“I wish I knew a year ago what I know now.” You will never know today what it will take life experience over the next year to learn, but you can always increase the rate at which you learn things by getting out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and growing from the process. Every new experience you have, every mistake you make, and every challenge you face will provide you with a valuable learning opportunity. Every skill you develop as a result of these life experiences can then be used to deal with and overcome additional challenges you face. If you want to be better prepared for what life has in store for you, never stop learning, never stop challenging yourself, never stop trying to broaden your perspective, and never stop exercising your body or your mind. Like everything, they deteriorate from lack of use. Take a direct and active role in what you learn in life and where you go as a result. Wisdom, strength, power, and understanding don’t come from your comfort zone. You have the awesome ability to upgrade your body and your mind at any moment. It’s a shame to waste that by living a life wishing you knew then what you know now. Life is meant to be a surprise. Live, learn something new, and make a difference with it.  Ad infinitum as you continue to smile at the person in the mirror.

"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."    ~ Voltaire

You don't need a reason to be happy just a choice. It's a beautiful world, enjoy it. Dream. Explore. Discover. Happy Days. Good morning 😇  Adinkrahene
Graphic credit Sonja Brooks aka Redd Sonja