The year started great for me, making me wonder if President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd was right after all in predicting a better life for us.
What caused my excitement? Well, it was the email I received from a certain Mrs. Akilah Saeedi telling me that I’ll be inheriting $500 million from a relative in Burkina Faso. Dollar signs must have registered on my eyes as I eagerly read Saeedi’s email about the huge amount left behind by my uncle, Engineer R. Charles.
Hey, wait a minute! How come my Ilocano parents had never told me about our relatives in Africa? Ah, but who cares? What really mattered was that I’m heir to the $500 million left behind by Uncle R. Charles. For $500 million, I’m willing to be a relative of any person.
She told me that she was writing on behalf of the trustees and executor of the estate of my late uncle. I guess I’m like the person who’s willing to be beaten black and blue by Manny Pacquiao for $5 million. But in this case, I won’t be beaten to a pulp—and the amount is 100 times that of $5 million.
Many people who become rich suddenly find themselves having hundreds of “relatives” that they had never met or known. Now, here’s a deceased rich person, Engr. R. Charles, who’s looking for a relative, me, to bequeath with $500 million. I’ve never met Uncle R. Charles but I sure would want to meet that $500 million.
Hello and goodbye to millions!
The note from Akilah Saeedi said I should contact her for more details at her email address “akilah saeedi1@ outlook.com.” It also said that the information given me was privileged or confidential. “If you have received this electronic mail transmission in error, please delete it from your system without copying or forwarding it, and notify the sender of the error by reply email or by telephone (collect) so that the sender’s address can be corrected.” Wow! How transparent! Akilah Saeedi sounded like a presidential spokesman defending a Palace error.
Saeedi must be somebody so I googled her name. Well, well, well. Out came various reports of Internet scams involving her — and out, too, came my dreams of receiving millions. Suddenly I felt like those persons who had hoped that President BS Aquino would provide a better life for the country only to find that he’s actually too uncaring, too insensitive, and too incompetent to do so.
Ah, but hope springs eternal. Another source of hope for me was an email last week from a certain Mr. S. Andrew of the OIC Group with offices in Hangzhou, China, and in Westminster, London, asking me to be his company’s representative in the Philippines. He claimed that the OIC Group is a $175-million integrated group of dynamic businesses engaged in the development, manufacture and distribution of intermediates for Personal Care, Household Care and Industrial applications. Now, that’s very impressive, like the description of BS Aquino as presidential candidate.
All I have to do, according to Andrew, is receive payments from their clients. Such payment, according to him, will come as Local Transfers and Wire Transfers, paid directly to my bank account. “This saves you time and better organise the process,” he explained. For this simple and part-time job, I’ll get a monthly salary of US$3,500, that’s about P155,000, to be paid on the 28th of every month, plus a 10-percent commission on every payment.
I’ve never received that much monthly salary in my whole life. And there’s commission to boot! I imagined myself to be at par with executives of government-owned and controlled corporations receiving hefty bonuses and commission for part-time work, and with CCT beneficiaries doing virtually nothing. If I’ll be included in a survey, I’ll give OIC Group my highest trust and approval.
Pies in the sky
Andrew said I’d start receiving payments as soon as my application is approved. I’m required to open a bank account with RCBC or RCBC Savings Bank, and give OIC Group my bank account number. This requirement immediately raised a red flag. It dawned on me that despite its impressive self-description which turned out to be fiction, and its huge promises which turned out to be empty, OIC Group is actually out to fleece unsuspecting victims. Shades of the Aquino administration!
Well, I have stopped dreaming of promised millions that are actually pies in the sky. The comparison of those scammers with the administration has made me more of a realist. I’ll just content myself with my honorarium as Manila Times columnist, my income as a farmer, and my monthly pension as a retiree, meager as they may be.