I met her a few years ago. To protect her privacy, I’ll call her Gloriana G. Gloriosa. (As far as Google can tell, there is no one on earth named Gloriana G. Gloriosa.)
Gloriana, a retiree, responded to an Outsidah column in the Ipswich Local News, and I invited her to lunch.
I never anticipated subterfuge.
We had a lovely meal and conversation. And since then, Gloriana and I have exchanged a number of pleasant emails.
But then, last week — this.
“Favor to ask,” the subject line said. “Hi, Sorry to bother you,” the email began, “do you order from Amazon?”
“Yes,” I confessed.
“Glad to hear from you,” she replied. “I need you to get an Amazon email gift card for a friend’s daughter who is down with cancer of the Liver, it’s her birthday today and I promised to get it for her today, but I can’t do this now because all my effort purchasing it online proved abortive. Can you get it from your amazon account? I’ll reimburse you back as soon as possible. Please let me know if you can handle this so I can tell you the amount and how to get to her. Await your soonest response.”
Well, I work for a living (my Outsidah columns don’t pay the bills, since they’re totally volunteer) — so I replied to her:
“I’m in client meetings and on the road the rest of today and tonight and can’t work on this till tomorrow, sorry.”
Soon, I heard back:
“Sorry for bothering you, Let me know what time you will be able to order the gift card online so i can send you her email address.”
I haven’t known Gloriana very long, but I do know that she’s a longtime Ipswich professional, well educated — and quite the precise communicator in her rendering of numerous letters to the editor — so it was curious to me that she capitalized “Liver” and didn’t capitalize “amazon” and that she used a phrase like “reimburse you back,” which comes straight from the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.
Also, hasn’t the pronoun “I” been capitalized since around the year 1400? Do you spend your working life as a highly articulate communicator only to give up capitalizing your personal pronouns in retirement? Are you that exhausted? You can’t press the shift key every time you need a capital?
But I wanted to help if I could. I had a next-morning breakfast meeting scheduled, near Ipswich center. We could get together there and make it happen.
“Bring the cash to the Ipswich Inn dining room tomorrow morning,” I replied, “8:45-9 a.m. and we’ll work it out then.”
As I imagined it, this could be fun. Gloriana arrives, maybe she joins my group for breakfast. She hands over the cash, I pull out my iPhone. I click on my Amazon app, her (capital-L) Liver-cancer-friend’s-daughter gets her (small-a) amazon email gift card — and only a day late for the patient’s birthday. I’m a hero!
No answer that email.
“Bring the cash”? No answer.
Dang. It seems somebody stole my friend Gloriana’s email address, and her contacts list, and started sending out emails pretending to be her, asking for help, so they could wrangle online gifts to an email address of their choosing.
Oh friends, heed my dire warning. Beware the scam scum: artists of the dark arts.
I am only disappointed that my fake Gloriana G. Gloriosa didn’t stick with me for one more email exchange. I was going to suggest, if she couldn’t be at breakfast, meeting me at 10 at the Ipswich police station.
That would have been such fun!
Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich — No, wait, that’s too much information. Let’s just say somewhere in coastal Massachusetts — Wait, no, that’s too specific. Okay, follow Doug at DougBrendel.com. But please, if you need money, don’t bother asking.