She wished she hadn’t opened the letter. It wasn’t addressed to her and she should simply have marked it “not known at this address” and popped it back into the post. But she didn’t. She opened it.
If you asked her why, she would have said something about wanting to be helpful. She was like that. Inquisitive? No. Nosey? Never. Helpful, was our Rosie.
She had never heard of a Mr A Nchimbi. Sounds African. The people she and her husband had bought the house from, six years ago, were from Wolverhampton; name of Hammond; lovely couple, West Indian as she recalled.
The letter was from a bank in Nigeria. It said that it was imperative that Mr Nchimbi contact them urgently, as they had a business proposition for him that would earn him a lot of money very quickly, with no risk at all. Rosie decided that she should call them to let them know that they had the wrong address. No doubt they have his correct one on file somewhere.
She called the bank. She wasn’t worried about the cost, because it was a Sheffield telephone number, and her plan includes UK calls. Didn’t she think it strange, that a bank in Nigeria should have a Sheffield phone number? Not at all; they probably have a branch in Sheffield.
The man she spoke to at the bank was very grateful for her call, and such a nice young man. He asked her some questions, and suggested that she might like to take advantage of this offer, too. Rosie told him that, following her husband’s death, she had about eighty thousand pounds sat in her account doing nothing, and was delighted when he told her that he could turn that into more than a quarter of a million in less than six months. At his request, she gave him details of the account, so he could manage the investments for her. Such a nice young man; so polite, so helpful, so attentive.
She never heard any more from him, of course. Eighty thousand pounds was transferred from her account the very same day, it turns out to a bank in the Cayman Islands, but in the six months that followed, nothing came back. She tried calling the Sheffield number, but that was unobtainable. She asked about the bank at the library, where one of the staff very kindly looked them up on her internet, but couldn’t find any trace of them. She went to the police with it all, but they couldn’t help either.
If only she hadn’t opened that letter!


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