The easiest way to deal with a Facebook scam is to ignore/delete the message and block the sender, but where’s the fun in that? There’s no harm in a little (albeit rather one-sided) banter with someone who’s offering you fake money. So when Olori Themmyturpe Sholarja messaged me on Facebook with a great get-money-for-nothing opportunity, I responded with a thumbs up.
I’m not sure what I wanted from the exchange and I wasn’t even sure that Olori would respond. But Olori did not disappoint, Olori took my gesture as a sign that I was interested in her help and that I had emailed the appropriate people ‘for [my] own good’. I hadn’t, but I guessed at what an email from Olori’s contacts would say.
As it turned out, Olori took my word for it and proceeded to ask me to fill out a form in order to ‘prove my ownership’. There were some personal questions, but I obliged.
With the help of Susanne Collins and a quick google search of US mobile numbers, I filled the form out to the best of my knowledge, sorta. After a few minutes I started to wonder if Olori had forgotten about me. So I prompted her.
At first, I thought perhaps I had laid it on too thick. I thought, through my immature giggles, Olori might know JK Rowling’s work!? Surely? Nope.
Olori advised me that galleons wouldn’t do and that my fee had to be paid in US currency. Understandable…I think. Olori proceeded to provide me with Western Union information- apparently sending my galleons via owl wouldn’t cut it.
I once again reiterated that I had no home, as it had been destroyed by the Capitol- and questioned Olori’s identity and magical status. It was at this point that things got real- Olori felt I didn’t trust her and laid some persuasive techniques on me. And you know what? I was convinced.
But once again I wanted more answers, so I begged of her three questions. It is at this point that I wondered, is Olori even female? Olori could very well be a guy’s name, but this was of little consequence. What did it matter what sex Olori was? She/he was my friend, albeit a friend who wouldn’t answer any of my questions. Olori evaded them deftly and tried to calm me, empathising with my lack of confidence but still remaining firm in my need to place my trust in her/him. And of course, like any normal person, I did. But I couldn’t really let it go without asking another important question.
I thought, if Olori knew the muffin man than the muffin man could vouch for Olori- but unfortunately she/he was not an acquaintance of the muffin man.
At this point I fear my friendship with Olori was drawing to an end, she/he was becoming tired of my questions. Olori was slipping away and becoming frustrated with my behaviour. I acted rashly, and it cost me much more than $850 US dollars. It cost me a friend from Nigeria.
In the end our friendship was but a fleeting moment, a chanced exchange in a vast world of social networking. Olori wanted to help my financial situation but my incessant questions drove her/him away, like it did my parents (not really, but I felt making myself an orphan would really ramp up the intensity). And with those final automated words from facebook, alerting me to the fact that Olori did indeed see my message, I knew it was over. Because Olori saw my message but did not deign to respond, and although I did not send the money as promised, and therefore did not receive my $50,000,00 financial help, I feel I had gotten more than a few dollars. I had gained, and lost, a friend and a new outlook on life.