Opinion: A lady in distress (3)

POSTED: 09/19/13 12:52 PM

This is part 3 of our series on scammers from Nigeria. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here

Don’t worry. Zariya Koury won’t be coming to St. Maarten and her courier will not deliver boxes containing $6.2 million in cash.

In one of the last email we received from this 33-year-old Syrian lady – or somebody pretending to be her – reached us yesterday morning at 7.39 a.m. In it, Zariya says that her courier, one Aldei Marcotte would depart on Wednesday evening for the Dominican Republic and that he would find a connecting flight there to come to St. Maarten.

She wrote that Marcotte would come with trunk boxes “carefully packed with money” and that she had locked the boxes with keys and with security codes. All very hush hush.

We marveled at the communication from her refugee camp – supposedly located between Syria and Lebanon – where it would sometimes take her just twenty minutes or less to reply to one of our emails. TelEm ought to be green with envy over such a picture perfect service-level, certainly after our airport announced that it would drop TelEm and use another internet service provider instead.

Zariya wrote that there were four boxed, packed with Franklins (she did not write Franklins of course, but just 100 dollar bills). The lady also wanted us to put all that money in a bank account (yeah right, we thought, here we go) or to keep it safe at home. She said to be planning her own arrival in St. Maarten next week, September 25.

But then something happened. Zariya read our newspaper and she found out that we actually thought we’re dealing with a scam.

The thought that someone in a refugee camp in the Middle East had been reading the Today newspaper tickled our tender ego as one could imagine.

Her email reached us at 10.28 a.m. yesterday morning. It read: Dear sir, Thank you very much for your effort. I contacted you to assist me and my sons. You published on your news that I am a scam. Thank you very much. I will find a way to handle this. Sale (sell – ed.) your news.”

We replied that indeed, we’d had our doubts but that we were stilling willing to help, to which, only twenty minutes later (remember: from a refugee camp in the Middle East) the answer came: “I don’t need your help.”

So now we are pretty certain that our Zariya was up to no good. We scrutinized her emails and found that she is using an address at barid.com that advertises itself as “the most functional webmail in the Arab world.”

Digging a bit deeper, we found two IP addresses. One is located in Sunnyvale, California. The second one is in Sofia, in Bulgaria. There is no indication whatsoever that her emails came from the location where she claimed to be.

It seems fair to assume that Zariya will not come to St. Maarten and that her courier Marcotte won’t arrive here either with the millions she has entrusted to him.

If there are boxes at all, we figure that they may contain something completely different – though we won’t even start to make educated guesses about it.

Corresponding with a lady in distress seemed a noble cause for a while, but to be honest, we figure it was a scam from the get go. The only thing we did not reckon with was that our charming Zariya would read our newspaper online. And if she did not read it online, she is not in the Middle East at all, but right here in St. Maarten. Now that she has found us out, we will most likely never know what her real game was. What a pity.


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