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Location: United Kingdom

A Naija Guy living (and loving) in the UK.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Call it the Nigerian author scam

I haven't blogged for a long while as I struggle to deal with the constant pressures on my time work, social life, family etc In this time there have been a number of issues that have inspired me to 'blog' once again and sometimes on my journey home I would even develop the content in my head only to get caught up with some other pressing thing once I arrived home. So I guess with the passing of time I almost got to the point of considering giving up the blog altogether. I wondered what happens to a dead blog whether it just remains on the web with dated content to gather electronic dust or should the blogger take it down. Anyway I digress.

This morning before I started my customary getting ready for work I powered on my PC to catch up with some blogs I hadn't read for a while and I came across the article below.

The article doesn't refer to any Nigerians, doesn't imply that the Conman was calling from outside the United States or indeed even sounded foriegn. But the Con has been labelled the Nigerian Author Scam.

Lazy writing from an "award-winning online journal devoted to independent reporting" or an
attempt to forever link any scam/confidence trick with Nigerians?
Are you incensed? Email the editor (who also happens to have written the article) at editor@laobserved.com.

Call it the Nigerian author scam
by Kevin Roderick


John Evans, co-owner of Diesel: A Bookstore out in Malibu, told the newsletter Shelf Awareness about a strange come-on at his Oakland store. I guess with everything else they face, indy booksellers need to even be wary of authors.

It started a week ago Saturday morning when the store received a call from Eric Gower, author of *The Breakaway Cook*, who was appearing at a multi-author event at Diesel's Oakland store that afternoon.

"My car has been stolen and I need you to help me," he told Evans. "I've found a rent-a-car company that will rent to me, but I need you to send me $150 by Western Union. I can give you the address and information to send it. I'll give you $400 when I get up there, for helping me out."

Evans declined the $400, and Gower said, "Yeah, you don't need the money." So Evans asked what happened and where he was, thinking that if he were in the Bay Area, someone from the store could pick him up.

But Gower said he was in Los Angeles, explaining, "I locked my keys in my car, with all of my credit cards, and my computer with all the photos I have of my mother in it. I went to get something to open the car, and when I came back, there was just broken glass and my car was gone with everything in it." To Evans, he sounded desperate and a bit dramatic, both over the top and honestly anxious.

Evans noted: "It sounded strange though, calling us and not someone else, when there was no way to make the event in any case."

Evans suggested Gower forget traveling to Oakland, but Gower pleaded, "I have two other appointments up there and need to get back today. I'll bring in $400 tomorrow after I get up there. Let me give you the information for wiring the money."

Evans told Gower to call back when the events person Gower had been dealing with would be in the store. But Gower did not call back, so Diesel staff set up for the event without space for Gower. Evans continued: "Everything looked great for the event and at start time, in walks Eric! We asked him what happened and he didn't know what we were talking about."

Evans called it the "Nigerian author scam, the latest in an endlessly inventive series of attempts to hustle and shakedown unwitting booksellers of their hard-earned cash."

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