CAVEAT by Oliver O. Mbamara: Beware of Those Impersonating Others For Fraudulent Purposes:
2nd PREFACE (2016): This piece (below) was written in 2005, and rewritten in 2007 to address and catch up with the new means devised by impersonator fraudsters. Yet, since then social media outlets have flooded the Internet/Web and several more technological gadgets have evolved or emerged and now business and social interactions have became more dominated by social media and new technological gadgets which has further eased human interactions in some areas and complicated it more than ever in some other areas. As technology continues to advance, fraudsters continue to evolve in their means of to defrauding others. Yet the factors that form the basis for fraud and how such fraudsters could exploit their victims remain somewhat similar and they cuts across the threshold. It is hoped that the reader would use the analysis and the examples given hereunder to make good judgment and prevail against falling victims to human, web, and Internet fraud.
(1) Sometime ago, I received e-mail from a couple in New Zealand. They were trying to confirm If I was a lawyer referred to them for some big financial transaction by Nigeria’s current Federal Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Of course, the honorable Minister and my humble self never discussed such transaction. Someone or some people have been trying to use my name and that of the Federal Minister of Finance to pull off fraudulent transaction(s) that neither the Minister nor myself authorized.
(2) Lately, someone pretending to be “Oliver Mbamara” (an impersonator, of course), wrote a letter to the head of my office (my HOD) in the US claiming that an “Oliver Mbamara in Nigeria,” was in possession of some lump sum of money. This impersonator wrote in the name of God using quotations from the Bible and wanted my HOD to cough out some money to facilitate the transfer of some bogus money all in the name of God and charity. Of course, my HOD alerted me and it was interesting to have me standing beside my HOD while someone who claimed to be me was writing from Nigeria. This impersonator made up the following e-mail address which he wrote from, firstname.lastname@example.org
(3) Another gentleman from Missouri just sent me some materials detailing correspondence between himself and an impersonator who claimed to be me (Oliver Mbamara) writing from Nigeria. That impersonator also wrote in the name of God like a religious lawyer, using the following made up e-mail address, email@example.com. After the gentlemen sent the impersonator my webpage and queried the impersonator to verify himself, the impersonator replied and argued that he was my twin brother. Funny? Sad?
Easy Access: The Gift of Modern Technology and The Exploitation of it:
My articles, papers, and vocations are published in/and through many outlets around the globe. Therefore, presently, a search on my name under any major online search engine such as Google.com or Msn.com pulls up numerous pages of materials and vocations involving me. As such anyone anywhere in the world could read up a lot on me whether I like it or not, and there is little I can do about it as long as I remain an artist and freelance writer on issues about life and living in today’s world. Incidentally, today’s fraudsters have easy access to such information belonging to other individuals and with such they set out to deceive or rob others. Using the information out there about me, these fraudsters were able to exploit my information as a lawyer in Nigeria and in the United States of America for false pretense purposes. At this time, I am unable to tell how many times they have done this, but investigation reveals that these fraudsters do this repeatedly or in batches hoping that their solicitation would succeed at some point. The bid of such fraudsters to drag names of public officials like that of Nigeria’s Minister of Finance along with names of private individuals like mine, into these fraudulent activities have necessitated my writing of this caveat piece.
I have written before on the topic of “Obtaining By False Pretences” or “False Representation” popularly called “419” in most circles. Those pieces, looked at the causes of such fraud, why some people fall victim to such fraud, and the damage being done to the good names and reputation of those willingly or unwillingly associated to these fraudsters, whether by family, country, profession, or circumstance.
The typical fraudster has his conviction and motivation for engaging in fraud and so does the victim of such fraud. In some cases, there could be a bigger picture to it all. It is not for me to judge. My conviction is that life has a way of catching up with everyone in order to dish out the rewards of our deeds. Every individual has to make the call as to what his deed will be because he will definitely reap the reward. There is no escaping the Law of Life for it will always extract its pound of flesh at the right time. I am therefore not at war or in any crusade with any of these individuals. However, being a writer and a selective commentator on issues of life, I owe it to my readers and audience to make this comment and possibly caution those willing to listen.
It is in the same spirit that I caution anyone who may have been approached with my name about any transaction, comment, write-up, or hearsay to please check with me before acting or concluding upon such information that may be peddled under my name. I am a simple civil servant with the State of New York who happens to love the arts and believe in creative writing and entertainment as a way of expressing Soul.
I am content with what life offers me in return for my effort. All those who dangle sweet carrots of economic opportunities on how to get rich quick should please look elsewhere and leave my name off their schemes. If someone dangles an opportunity before you on how to make some quick easy money using my name as the attorney, representative, or party, please be informed in advance that it is not true. This may be the case with others whose names may be subject to the same unauthorized abuse like mine, but I can only speak for myself.
The Need To Confirm:
I want to thank those who have brought these issues to my attention, especially the couple from New Zealand, but again it was also for their own good that they did not allow greed to overtake their sense of reasoning. They gained by making the effort to contact me and confirm the veracity of the alleged transaction.
Our Choices And Their Consequences:
I have commented in some of my previous writings that most reports, comments, and condemnation of the fraud of “obtaining by false pretense” (419) are either hypocritical or bias and one-sided because they only condemn the fraudster but leave out the victim who went into the deal as an accomplice in the first place. Even as I write, many foreigners look for opportunities to collude with people and officials of third world countries to defraud the already poor countries and people, and when such foreigners are stung, only the fraudster gets condemned.
I will repeat here that if one puts his greed in check he will hardly fall victim to such fraudsters in most cases. Appealing to the victim’s greed and desire for unearned material gain remains the secret and strongest weapon of the fraudster. It is not “juju” or charm, as some claim. If one is willing to reap where he has not sown, he must be ready to pay for the consequences when the expected harvest brings forth what his greed and lust for material property has blinded him from seeing. We have to live with our choices. It is the Law of life above human manipulation, deception, and even “false pretenses.”
Oliver O. Mbamara © September, Edited – 2005 / 2007 / 2016
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oliver Mbamara is an Attorney, award-winning filmmaker, actor, poet and writer. For more on Oliver, please visit www.olivermbamara.com