AMATEUR HOUR

AMATEUR HOUR

He texted me on Instagram on my personal account.

“Hello dear, how are you?”

I replied, and he was very courteous, apologizing for his intrusion into my DM. Surprised by this, I clicked over to his profile to see pictures of a good-looking man who looked like he lived overseas. According to the profile, his name was Alex Kennedy.

A gentleman who’s nice looking and also addressed me as “dear”?

I was interested.

I was also wary. Years as Pink Panther had conditioned me to almost constantly operate with some reserve when it comes to strangers in my DM.

“I’m Alexander, a mixed African, and I live and work here in the UK. What about you?”

That was an oddly-informative introduction for a first time acquaintanceship. It was giving “I am a businessman and I have a supermarket” or “I am a fine boy and I go to the gym five times a week”. I get instantly suspicious of online acquaintances who lead conversations with characteristics that come off like they’re trying to manipulate your interest. Besides, in an age where everyone is wary about being taken advantage of, the only thing the gays are comfortable making a point of letting you know in your DM is how good they are in bed.

But perhaps this guy is a sweet-natured, open-minded person who’s honestly telling me that he’s “mixed African” and “lives and works in the UK” because he is without guile and leads with his heart.

So, I told him my name, that I am Nigerian, and that I live and work in Nigeria.

“Nice to have you here, dear,” he enthused. “I believe knowing each other better would be interesting.”

I welcomed that. He asked me my age and occupation. I told him.

“What about you?” I asked.

“I work with Apple as an Information Technology consultant. I’m also a licensed distributor for all Apple products. I also own a car rental company. And I am 46 years old with no kids.”

I am a businessman and I have a supermarket. I am also an importer/exporter.

My suspicion was back, and I was mentally giving this man the bombastic side-eye. I was on my guard, but I was also bored. I wanted to know where this would go. So I didn’t tell him off. I didn’t block him. Instead, I engaged him.

He told me he was from Liberia.

He told me he was divorced two years ago when his wife found out he was gay.

He told me I was cute and asked if we could chat on WhatsApp. I hesitated. I’d never engaged with a scam artist before, and I wanted to be sure that giving out my number wouldn’t compromise me in anyway. Then I realized I could simply open a WhatsApp line on my second number, which is not linked to any aspect of my personal life.

So I did that, and asked for his number. He texted, “+44-7380-632371.”

On WhatsApp, the chats continued.

“Are you also gay like me?” he asked.

“I am. Thought you already figured that out from my posts on Instagram,” I replied, wondering at the oddity of his question.

“I want to be sure, babe,” he texted back. “Would you date me and come over to visit sometimes? I’d very much like to meet you.”

I chuckled. What was the game plan here? Was this person truly in the UK, or in some ramshackle building in Iyana Ishasi, working towards a trap for me?

Still, I played along.

“What you’re offering is nice. But aren’t there guys you could date in the UK – you know, a relationship that’d be easier than one with someone outside the UK? You do remember that I’m in Nigeria, right?”

“I’d like us to be much better friends, dear,” he insisted. “Would you come over to visit here in UK sometimes? We could have good times together. I’d love to meet you. Distance or money shouldn’t be a barrier. We have to trust and understand each other.”

“Trust is important,” I said wryly.

“Yes,” he agreed. “Hope I can trust you. I have really had a lot of heartbreaks. I thought I was going to be alone for a very long time, because nobody seemed to want me.”

Really? As fine as Alex Kennedy is, with all his businesses with Apple and the car rental? No way! I thought sarcastically.

“I have really gotten through a lot of heartbreaks. And I’m really happy I met you. I have a feeling Fate brought us together. I am really going to make you feel comfortable. I love so deeply and I am committed and loyal to my partner.”

So, you couldn’t find someone to love deeply and committedly all over the UK, you figured you might as well check in with the dating pool outside the continent? I thought.

I said nothing, merely gave him some responses that showed my understanding of his “pain”. I was still trying to figure out what his angle was.

Then he asked, “Do you use an Apple device? Have you explored its capabilities and experienced the possibilities it offers?”

Well, that was a pretty big shift from lover-boy to salesman.

“No, I’m an Android user,” I replied.

“You do not own an Apple device?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Apple products are quite common these days. It’s so bad we can’t talk on iChat.”

Aren’t we already talking on WhatsApp? I wondered.

“If I can get you an iPhone, can you get it in your country?” he asked.

Every time this guy asked me a question, I paused to consider what the motive behind the question was, what that question was leading up to. Either he was an internet scammer after my money or he was kito scum trying to entrap me.

But how? So far, I couldn’t recognize any tactic that would lead to any of those results. A part of me told me I should just end the charade and block him, that I might be too busy trying to figure out his game plan, I wouldn’t even know when I’d fall into his trap.

Another part of me wanted to see this to the end.

Guess which part I listened to.

“Yes of course I can get an iPhone sent from outside Nigeria,” I texted back.

“Okay, baby, I will need your details, so I can post the device across to you, details like your name, phone number, email address, state and city.”

Again, I hesitated. He was starting to get into territory I was uncomfortable with.

You have to be careful. Please just stop and block him, that first part of me (who we’ll call Caution) pleaded. It is clear he’s just a scammer, not kito. Nothing interesting to see here.

Are you kidding? the other part (who we’ll call Daredevil) argued. You’ve never been scammed before. You need to see how they operate, so you can write about it and post it on Kito Diaries.

I was nodding with agreement on Daredevil’s point.

No story is worth the trouble, Caution objected. Once you give him your details, you don’t know what sophisticated means they have that they can use to target your money.

Nah, you don’t have to give them anything much, Daredevil countered. Open a new email address and give that to him. Give him this WhatsApp number that isn’t registered to any of your accounts. As it is, the only legitimate information you’ll give to him is your name. See? There’s little or no risk here.

Daredevil was making a good case, and I obliged him.

Minutes later, I had a new email address, which I texted to him along with the WhatsApp number and my name. I also told him I was in Owerri, instead of Lagos.

“I hope you won’t ghost me after you’ve gotten the phone,” he texted.

I laughed to myself, as I recalled this situation happening with a friend who found himself on the receiving end of the love interest of a Nigerian based in Canada. He didn’t like the guy and had ignored his DMs for several weeks. But the Canadian was persistent and full of promises. So, when my friend wanted an iPhone, he decided to return the guy’s affections. That quickly resulted in the delivery of an Apple device from Canada to Nigeria, and my friend subsequently blocking the man.

Of course my own story would be different. I couldn’t land me some thirsty sugar daddy from overseas; it had to be a scammer who didn’t even seem intelligent enough in whatever he was planning.

“I didn’t ask for you to send me an iPhone,” I replied. “If you’re not comfortable sending it, then don’t. I’m very good with my Android.”

My irritation was clear, and he picked up on it. He must have thought he was about to lose me, because he said cajolingly, “No, babe. It’s not like that. I trust you, babe. I just had to ask, because of the ways I have been treated in the past. But I can see now that you’re different.”

This led to a chatversation about relationships. He talked about how he wasn’t getting any younger, and how he is looking to settle down with someone “as sweet as you”. He talked about his wife divorcing him when she found out he was gay, how they had no kids in their marriage, and how she was happily married now with a son. He said the ending of his marriage happened two years ago.

The next day, he texted, saying he was at an Apple shop buying the phone for me.

“I’m going to send you the pictures when I’m done, okay?”

“Alright,” I replied.

Several minutes later, he texted, “Babe, I have gotten you a laptop. I also got an iPhone of course. I’ll guide you through the setup processes when you receive them.”

An iPhone AND a laptop?! What a generous lover!

He sent photos next of a Walgreens receipt, and some packaged devices.

A few hours later, he texted again. “Babe, the devices have been sent through Emirate Logistics. The booking officer said the items should be in your country in 7 to 9 hours’ time. I also added 3000 dollars and a 150 dollar iTunes card along with the devices. You should use that to get a good internet plan and also take care of any other expenses.

The photo he sent after this was indeed what looked like a delivery order from a logistics company called Emirate Logistics.

I sat there, staring in wonder at what was unfolding. Why was he sending me that much money in a transatlantic package delivery when he could send it through a money order? And why dollars when he was in the UK? And 7 to 9 hours’ time? Granted, I’d only ever received deliveries from the US, but 7 to 9 hours seemed an awfully short time for a delivery to make its way from UK to Nigeria?

And once again, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS GUY’S GAME PLAN?!!!

I was so frustrated about not being able to figure out how he intended to hornswoggle me.

We didn’t chat much the rest of the day. And then, the following morning, I got two text messages in rapid succession. It was from a number claiming to be the contact for Emirate Logistics and informing me that my package had arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

ABUJA!

I told this guy that I was in Owerri. What was the package he wanted me to claim doing in Abuja?

Maybe call the Emirate Logistics number and know if they’ll say anything about re-delivering the packages to Owerri? Daredevil suggested.

I agreed and was about to call the number when my overseas sugar daddy texted me on WhatsApp.

“Babe, the package must have been in your country by now. You were informed to check your email/SMS or call the customer officer on the Emirate Logistics receipt I sent you. I love you.”

I didn’t reply. I simply called the number that was the sender of the text message, a number you’d think would be outfitted with the logistics company’s name instead of appearing like a personal line on my phone.

A woman answered. I informed her that I’d just been told I had a package waiting for me at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. Her tone was brisk as she told me to come along to the airport with my ID card and 15 thousand naira to claim the packages. I was going to tell her that I was in Owerri and would like to know if they attend to local deliveries, but she’d hung up. I called again. She didn’t answer. I called a third time, and she answered to very curtly tell me to just come to the airport and claim my package.

At this point, I was over the charade. Frankly, I felt underwhelmed. I thought my undercover stint would uncover something more elaborate than this mess. This was clearly an amateur still finessing his craft as a conman.

So, I decided to send him one last message:

The messages delivered, evidently got read. But he didn’t reply. He simply blocked me, because his profile picture vanished from the top left corner. When I went to Instagram, he had also blocked me there. I laughed to myself, as I allowed myself to mourn the laptop, the iPhone and the 3000 dollars that could have been mine.

And still I wondered: What was his game plan?

Can anyone here help me figure that shit out?

Written by Pink Panther

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25 Comments

  1. Essence
    June 06, 09:59 Reply

    Let me laugh first 😂😂😂😂😂

    • Goldberg
      June 06, 17:21 Reply

      You told me you have a piece to write for KD. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  2. Xhris
    June 06, 10:16 Reply

    Hehehe!

    I’ve had a similar experience in 2021, except the person messaged my direct line (i still wonder about that sometimes) and instead of the Rude Lady, i got a sweet honeyed-and-huskily voiced guy on the phone, who said he could arrange for home delivery service for me for #10K, as I was in Lagos, if I’m interested. I was like, “Sure, and i’ll pay on delivery, with generous tipping” but he insisted on payment before delivery.

    and THAT, my dear, is the end of Solomon Grindrin!

    • Pink Panther
      June 06, 10:25 Reply

      🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 This offed me. Oh so that’s how they operate. I wonder why I got a rude lady. Abi she didn’t know the script she was supposed to follow?

      • Dare Alexander
        June 21, 10:16 Reply

        Lol…Pink Panther, the exact same guy slid into my IG dm few months ago with different platitudes and nonesense like this…
        In my case, the Convo didn’t even go far because despite using this exact same profile with a more Caucasian or Spanish sounding name (I could just see right through the bull)

        My irrigation ticked when he made a video call without asking me.
        I had worn my CIA hat at the time and perused his profile well to see his active targets were Africans, Gay Nigerian men to be precise. Besides nigga said he was from the US and served in the air force or army or something 😅 lol.

        I noticed he followed my partner at the time also and I doubled down on him when I asked my guy …

        His next chat got him blocked ASAP.
        No time for nonsense!

  3. Net
    June 06, 10:21 Reply

    Hahaha this happened to me in 2015 or so😅 the guy said he sent stuff including an engagement ring lmao. In my case they wanted me to pay for the customs clearing before they send the package down lmao I had a big laugh.

    • Pink Panther
      June 06, 10:25 Reply

      Engagement ring loun loun! 🤣🤣 He wan marry you go overseas? Instant citizenship 🤣🤣🤣

  4. Zonna
    June 06, 10:25 Reply

    This guy came to my dms too on IG with this same MO. Same information he gave you,were what he gave me.
    I knew he was fake when he asked are you a gay like me?
    The story wasn’t adding up. I eventually stopped replying to his messages.
    The cousin who was not so lucky fell victim but they didn’t meet on IG. She met him on Facebook and gave her a different sub story

  5. Colossus
    June 06, 11:36 Reply

    This is a really old tactic, surprised they’re just coming for you now. The end game is in the money you pay upfront, it’s usually small cash but picture them receiving it from lots of people. They prey on greed and most times it works. The lady that answered the call goofed, she was supposed to sweet talk you into paying money for the package to be sent down to you.

    • Fluid
      June 06, 13:32 Reply

      This is so hilarious 😂😂😂😂

  6. Poppy
    June 06, 13:09 Reply

    Hahaha… I know that profile and he chatted me up as well.. Even promised to send me some Apple products for my personal use

  7. *Fluid
    June 06, 13:36 Reply

    The man is not trained at all, so cheap of him😂😂😂

  8. *Fluid
    June 06, 13:39 Reply

    I can’t believe this idiot thought he could play you, so hilarious

  9. Ddee
    June 06, 17:09 Reply

    It’s actually not a British citizen, or any other foreign national for that matter running this scheme. 😂
    Bears the classic signature of every amateur Nigerian yahoo boy; the mindset that everyone is susceptible to the allure of Apple tech products. You’re a patient man, that conversation wouldn’t last past the first ten messages with me.

  10. Goldberg
    June 06, 17:19 Reply

    Their gain is only the money their victim would pay to get the so-called packages cleared at the airport and delivered to them. This type of scam is so 1925, I’m pretty surprised people still use it in 2023.

  11. Francis
    June 07, 13:43 Reply

    My first experience with this was with UK lottery and I almost fell for it because I had actually played the UK lottery for the first time. Everything clear when they asked for money for DHL to ship my winnings 😂

    This guy looks familiar…either he has messaged me before or someone in my IG close friends sent out red alert about him.

    He lost me at the Walgreens receipt. Walgreens no get UK outlet. Very rubbish amateur

  12. FRED
    June 08, 13:39 Reply

    This happened to me indirectly.
    My cousin based in PH messaged.me telling that he wanted to come and pick up an iPhone, a MacBook. He said his friend from abroad (UK) had sent them. I had thought of going to get them on his behalf but the “logistics” company wanted him to come pick up the items himself OR send them ₦20,000 for re-delivery to his location. I thought hard and chose the former option. The morning after.he arrived, he showed me the chat exchange between himself and a 29 year old ladu nurse that led to his trip. I thought they had done some video calls (without asking him).
    Later that morning, he called the logistics contact, telling them that he was on his way to their office at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, Abuja. On getting there, the contact was unavailable (bombastic side eye to Davido). He kept on trying for 30 minutes. Feeling frustrated, I handed him my phone. When he dialled the contact, Truecaller displayed it IN RED. Of course it didn’t connect again but this time, he investigated the contacts on Truecaller which revealed that it belonged to a scammer. He showed to me his findings and I just laughed.
    It wasn’t heavy because he had a job which he had skipped out on just to come get fictitious items. He was mad but I gota story. I was glad to have a Truecaller account that day.

  13. Jo
    June 11, 23:11 Reply

    I had similar experience last year. I didn’t call the logistics o. I just messaged him on IG to let him know that he’s a scammer

  14. Jo
    June 11, 23:12 Reply

    *That I know that he’s a scammer

  15. Ekelebe stunner
    June 13, 17:39 Reply

    From the way Alex was conversing seemed like he was reading from a script because it was so generic.

    This happened to a friend back in 2017. I’m still surprised that the script remained the same.

    While at it, have anyone encountered these so-called rich sugar daddies on grinder looking for who to spoil with their imaginary wealth?😭😭

  16. Roman Liso
    July 10, 03:27 Reply

    Oh, Alex again. I remember him and his many accounts on IG. I was on to his criminal scent from the first message.
    Had what I’d consider a one way video call with him after a short conversation on Instagram. I made sure we never left Instagram. It was pre-recorded on his end and whomever I was supposed to be talking to positioned the screen playing the pre-recorded video at just the right angle to make it look believable. It was too low quality for someone who’s supposed to be what he claimed to be at the time (also sth related to apple). I blocked his scamming ass when I got bored. The real person behind the accounts must’ve figured I was not worth the risk and sent less messages over time. After the block I coincidentally found out there were multiple accounts, some with different names, but the same set of photos, not in the same order though.

    It was 2020 and my Alex was in USA.. abi na Canada? It was definitely not the UK. I have a strong feeling there’s a queer person involved in this scam.

    • Pink Panther
      July 10, 06:59 Reply

      Yeah, about your strong feeling, I had that thought too.

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