There's no getting around it. My name almost matches that of a certain Sudanese head of state. Every once in a while I'm reminded of this, like when the (Greek-American?) border control guy at Newark two weeks ago couldn't stop laughing after I told him why my name sounded so familiar to him. He had to attempt the phrase "Go ahead sir" several times to make it all the way through.
But sometimes there's an upside. Thanks to my name, I'm privy to one of the most ambitious e-mail scams to come out of Nigeria since the Port Harcourt Flimflam of '85.
I recently received an e-mail from a Mr. Yemi Hamzat, or a Mr. Adeyemi David, depending on whether you look at the "From" field or the salutation at the end. It's addressed to "President Omar al Bashir." At first I thought it was a scam targeting me and other Omars Bashir that nobody cares about. But on further inspection, the only plausible explanation is that Mr. Hamzat or David is trying to scam the Sudanese president himself, and doesn't know exactly which e-mail address belongs to the head of state.
The sender claims to be involved in the defense of "African Leaders" at the ICC. The e-mail warns the president that the ICC is planning to arrest him immediately after he leaves office, so he'd better send money to the sender's account for one of two reasons: (1) for safe keeping with him so that legal costs can be paid even after the president's assets are frozen, or (2) for some kind of bribe to remove the president's name from the "International Court Criminal list."
If this were a scam targeting nobodies, why would either of these reasons entice us to send the money? In order for this to work on some poor sap named Omar Bashir, that guy would have to read the e-mail and think, "Wait, I'm an African leader? And I'm going to be on trial soon? I'd better transfer the funds!"
No, this must have been aimed at the one and only Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, and I really hope it works. Keep dreaming big, Mr. Hamzat or David.