Nigerian Roommate Scam
by WHO on Oct-14-2004

All good things must come to an end, and early this summer, our roommate Jane finished her internship and moved back home to Michigan. It was a sad day in the WHO household when sweet, never-home Jane packed up her belongings and her $300 a month and moved on to bigger and better things. With a hand over my heart and a clown tear in my eye, I began searching for a replacement roommate to fill the void.

Honestly, I was looking for someone identical to Jane: Someone reliable but oddly absentee. So I started my search the same place I found Jane:

The first person to answer my ad was a woman named Susan Smith…..a name only a slight step up from ‘Jane Doe,’ but I didn’t think much of it. Susan Smith emailed me telling me that she was a model on a shoot in Africa. After the shoot, she was going to be moving to Ohio for a total of 3 months and she wanted to know how much it would cost to rent out my extra room for that time. I emailed her back and told her that three months of rent would cost her a little over a grand. She wrote back claiming, “Great! I’ll send you the money in 2 weeks!”

She didn’t ask me a single question about myself. She didn’t ask to see the room. She didn’t ask to talk to me on the phone. For all she knew, she was paying in advance to live in a shed out back with a couple of serial killers. I found her lack of interest in me or my integrity oddly unsettling. So to get the ball rolling, I asked her a couple of questions about herself. She answered politely enough, but didn’t volunteer more information than what I asked for. She also sent a picture of herself and she didn’t look like a lunatic, although the picture did look a little familiar….like I saw it on the Internet somewhere else, but I couldn’t remember where. Then I thought I was being paranoid (Besides, everyone knows that models are sissies), so I ended my roommate search and waited for Susan Smith to fly out to the states.

A week later, I got an email from Susan Smith telling me that I should expect a call from her agent, Mr. Richardson. Apparently, before “the agency” cuts me a check for the rent money, they wanted to verify that I am really renting her a room. That sounded reasonable enough, so I gave her my phone number and waited for Mr. Richardson to call. He did, and I hung up on him the first time because his accent was so thick that when he asked for my name, I didn’t understand what he was babbling about and I told him he had the wrong number. You know us Americans… so ignorant of the outside world that when someone pronounces our names without utilizing a single consonant, we’re clueless. And who knew someone with the last name ‘Richardson’ would sound like a drunk Arabic telemarketer? Anyway, a slightly annoyed email from Susan resulted in another pointless call from Mr. Richardson considering that I still didn’t understand a single word he said.

After Mr. Richardson verified whatever the hell it was that he verified, Susan writes to me tell me that he is going to send some money orders totaling about $5000.00. Yes, you read that right. FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. You might wonder why Susan and Mr. Richardson would be willing to send me, a perfect stranger, five grand when I specifically stated that the room (you know, the room that she has never even seen) would only cost $1,100 for three months. Well, I wondered the same goddamn thing and imagine my surprise when Susan told me that instead of paying her, their employee, that “the agency” planned to pay ME her modeling wages. When I got her wages, I was supposed to take out my portion for the rent and then send the rest back to her so she can buy her plane ticket and fly home.

No way is someone that fucking stupid, I thought to myself. I mean, what is to stop me from just taking ALL of her money and leaving her stranded in Nigeria? They barely even knew me! Call me a cynic, but I just can’t see a big modeling agency making such a ridiculous company policy. I convinced myself that I misunderstood her because of the language barrier and that they weren’t actually going to send ME her paycheck.

The day before the rent was due, Mr. Richardson called to tell me that he has mailed the payment out to me that day and that it should be in the mail tomorrow. Sure enough, when I checked the mail in the morning, there was a package in the box from Canada. I opened the package and in another envelope, there were 5 one thousand dollar money orders. The money orders were US, apparently bought in Tennesee and in the back of my head somewhere, I wondered how Mr. Richardson was able to buy money orders in Tennesee and fly back to Canada to mail them to me all in one day. But that fact was somewhere deep, deep in the back of my mind. Mostly, I was thinking to myself, “Holy shit! They really ARE that stupid!” What’s more, the money orders were made completely out to me. Susan Smith’s name was nowhere on them.

According to Mr. Richardson, I was supposed to deposit the money orders into my bank account and then withdraw $3900 of it and western union it to Susan. Just for good measure, Susan emailed me to tell me to HURRY UP because suddenly she needs her money RIGHT NOW. Briefly, I considered just changing my email address, phone number and going out and buying myself something niiiiiiice and expensive, but my freaking conscience kicked in so I saluted my computer like a good little soilder and headed in the direction of the bank to do the right (READ: NOT FUN) thing. If I grumbled and dragged my feet a little, it was only because that it’s a world known fact that ‘doing the right thing’ usually sucks balls so have some sympathy for me.

After standing in line forever at the bank, I handed the money orders to a cashier and asked her to deposit them into my account. I also asked her how long I should wait for them to clear before I withdraw the cash. She told me that since they’re money orders, I could just go ahead and cash them right then. Since Susan Smith stressed that she needed her money RIGHT NOW, I decided that that’s what we’d do. The cashier started counting out the 5 grand for me (Big bills, please) and I looked around nervously waiting to be punked by Ashton Kutcher. The cashier/teller/snotty bitch-who-purposely-holds-up-the-line-when-she’s-on-the-rag slid the money my way and said, “You’ve got to sign the back of these.”

I picked up a pen to sign and suddenly, FINALLY, the alarm bells go off in my head. The screeeeeeeeeeech my mind made was so loud and forceful that I think God himself felt mentally goosed. Carefully, I set the pen back down and I said, “Before I sign these, let me tell you how I got these money orders….”

I go through the whole spiel with the teller and for the first time in the year I’ve been banking there, her playdoh-like face animates. Excitedly, she said, “Now that you mention it, I don’t see a perforated edge where a receipt would have been attached! And the part that you endorse is upside down!”

The woman was downright thrilled. And why shouldn’t she be? It wasn’t like SHE was getting screwed out of a few months worth of rent money.

Together, we decided on a plan of action. She was going to send the money orders in to be ‘authenticated.’ If they were real, they would be sent back to the bank whereupon I could cash them and send the money along to Susan Smith (Who I was now doubting even existed). If they were fake, well then, I just dodged being arrested for committing felony fraud. Go me.

Since I didn’t want to come right out and tell Susan that I think she’s full of shit until I have proof, I told her that I cashed the money orders, but I didn’t have time to make it to Western Union that day. She kept writing telling me that she needs her money RIGHT AWAY and can I please HURRY UP? Her emails were looking more and more suspicious to me. For one thing, she is probably the only person I know who consistently spells her own damn name wrong. Before I just thought she was an illiterate foreigner. Now I was starting to wonder if she’s an illiterate foreigner with an agenda.

I’m sure you all know where this is going, right? You betcha! Susan Smith/Mr. Richardson (Who are actually the same person, whom I strongly suspect goes by the name ‘Bradley Ford’) sent me some fake-ass money orders! That little ass monkey tried to scam me out of five thousand dollars! Too bad I’m not fat and 70 years old, or it might have worked, too!

Not that I wasn’t inconvenienced, mind you, I was. For one thing, I had to find another roommate. I finally settled on my brother. The minuses of living with my brother are that he’s not very good at paying his bills. The upside, however, is that he is not a Nigerian scam artist, so I like to think I’m coming out slightly on top.

The other inconvenience was filing a police report. Now, I really wasn’t going to bother with that, but the bank said I had to, so I did. Everyone who has read my site for any significant period of time knows that I’m not a fan of police officers and dealing with them in any way, shape or form is pretty close to torture for me.

First of all, when I went to the police station, there was no one there to take my report. For 40 minutes, there was NO ONE to take my report. Now considering the fact that in the 5 block drive to the police station, I passed no less than 4 police cars driving around aimlessly doing nothing, this was obviously annoying. I offered to get into my car and drive around the block without wearing a seatbelt once in order to round up some troops, but the dykey dispatcher only glared at me. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, an officer showed up and escorted me into another room. He was one fat fuck and that just made me even angrier. I am one of those people that believe that police officers have a moral obligation to stay fit and in shape. After all, these are the people that my tax dollars pay to protect me. How is a morbidly obese man going to wrestle my would-be rapist onto the ground? How is a 900lb sweat beast going to chase down a purse snatcher? The fact of the matter is, he can’t. And even if he DID catch a bad guy, the bad guy could easily slip from the grasp of his donut glazed fingers. Fuck that. You can’t be fat and be a firefighter. You can’t be morbidly obese and be in the military. So why is acceptable for a police officer to make the squad and then gain so much weight that he can’t get into his own fucking squad car? Why, I ask, WHY?

Because police officers have absolutely no intention of catching bad guys, ever. Basically, we pay the police to give us traffic tickets and nothing more. They are a waste of fucking money to begin with and just to pour salt on the wound, they make you wait FORTY GODDAMN MINUTES to file a worthless police report that they are going to file away and never look at again. Lousy fuckers.

So you can imagine my mood at this point, can’t you? The bank and I spent all this time gathering evidence for these worthless pricks and I quite rudely threw it on the table in front of me. “There!” said I, “Those are copies of the emails. Copies of the money orders. The envelope that the money orders came in. The phone number and address of the guy. And the picture of the girl that he sent me. That is all the evidence I could gather for you. Did you need anything else?” Perhaps my address so you can send me part of your paycheck for doing your job for you?

The police officer tells me that I shouldn’t feel bad about this….people get scammed all the time. Then he starts blabbing on and on about all the cool internet scams he’s heard of recently.

I interrupt, “I DON’T feel bad for being scammed because I DIDN’T get scammed. The scammer didn’t get a dollar of money out of me. I feel bad because I’ve got to sit here and fill out report so you can stuff it in a draw somewhere and do nothing!”

“Well,” he drawls, “What do you expect me to do?”

What. The. Fuck?


The weaseling fat cop said that the phone number is probably a fake. The phone number is NOT a fake because I’ve called it. I challenged him to call it. He did. Asked for ‘Bradley Ford.’ The guy said he’s got the wrong number. The police officer hung up and looked at me triumphantly. I realize that right before my very eyes, I have witnessed an entire police investigation. Had it been the actual police officer the guy had tried to scam, I’m willing to bet my life on the fact that his investigation would have lasted at least a full minute.

The police officer then droned on and on about the movie ‘Catch Me if You Can’ and told me how Leonardo played a real-life scammer who got away with all this stuff. I’ve seen the movie and I interrupted to say, “The difference here is in the movie, Tom Hanks actually seemed interested in CATCHING ol’ Leonardo. Is that what I have to do to get something done? Do I have to call Tom Hanks?”

He stared at me blankly. I think he was hungry.

I gave up.

Instead, I decided to get my own revenge. I went home and emailed “Susan.” I told her that I’ve got her 5 grand, but unless she shows up on my doorstep with her drivers license, I am keeping the money for myself. For the next couple of weeks, I have me a good ol’ time ’scamming’ the scammer.

Here are some highlights from emails she has sent me:

I never new that this was what it would rusult to
this,i thought you are so honest but the situation
seems so confusing now, my personal assistant is meant
to book me on a flight, he came with the proposed
assignment, i can’t do anything without his
Get back to me.

Mind you, my funds is still with you,so if
there is any other thing you could do apart from
seeing me in person with the fund,do that asap.

I was only thanking you for living large with my
money, you will not have rest spending a every
cent,until you get me my funds.
Thank you once again.

(To this, I gleefully told her that she was welcome)

What if i inform you that all my identification
documents has been seized by the management because i
have been paid for a context i am yet to carry out. I
know how considerate you are but i have been pushed to
the wall, i don’t really blame you,i know you are
trying to protect yourself but not withstanding
someones future is at stake out here.
You are the only person that can bail me out
of this mess. I plead that you give me a chance to
prove to them that i am not what they think i am.
May your ways be pure and you shall receive all the
beautifull things of this world. I am not forcing you
to change your mind neither am i nagging you into
changing your mind, I know you can help me out and so
shall GOD help you out in all your endeavour,what you
look up to shall come to past,all your plans to
acheive what you want shall be what you want.May the
good GOd guide and protect you and your family.
Looking forward to your favourable consideration. GOD
shall bless you PROFUSELY.

If you don’t get me my funds the FBI will crack your account!

If you don’t believe me then have the fear of GOD!!!!

Beautiful stuff, huh? He also calls me sometimes pleading, making threats, and all that jazz and it’s probably the highlight of my day to fuck with him. I’ve even considered going to the car dealership and taking a picture of myself with one of the new cars and sending it to him with the caption, “Thanks, sucker!”

Other than that, I thought since no one with any authority gives a rats ass that this guy is out there preying on people from, I’d do my part to spread the word about this asshole myself. I googled for ‘Nigerian Roommate scam’ and I ran across this story. Apparently, there are people who actually cashed the money and ended up in a whole world of hurt because of it. Also, I’ve heard of similar stories where someone was selling a piece of real estate and someone from Nigeria sent them extra money expecting that the excess will be wired back to them. Now, I very rarely ask you to use the ‘tell a friend’ function on this site, but I’m asking you all to now. I considered starting one of those god awful chain letters, but no one reads those annoying things. So, instead of that, let’s all pass this story along. If you have a website, link this story. Just to sum everything I know up:

Names the scammer uses: Susan Smith. Mary Smith. Bradley Ford. Mr. Richarson.

Possible locations: Nigeria, Africa. Toronto, Canada.

Email address used on

Address given to me:
24 Lawrence Avenue
East Toronto
M5N 1B4

Phone Number: 416-839-8417 (Call him up!)

If anyone wants to email/IM ol’ Susy Smith and fuck with her some, all I ask is for you to send me the transcripts so I can laugh too. Otherwise, tell all your friends OR MAY YOU HAVE THE FEAR OF GOD!!!!

Um, yeah.

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