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Saturday, August 09, 2003

Thievery Corporation 

Because I work for an international publication, over the past 10 years I have seen a number of variations on the 4-1-9 scam, often referred to as the Nigerian scam although I've seen variations from across Africa, the Subcontinent and the Middle East.

Yesterday, however, another old scam surfaced in the office -- check washing. One of my writers in Africa had a check stolen (either intercepted somewhere in the mail stream or from his mailbox) and it was cashed, but instead of someone just getting the fee we were paying the writer, they washed the check and reprinted the payee, date, and amount fields ... boosting its value to several thousand. The payee was changed to a textile concern in Pakistan, so our CFO is convinced the money has gone to fund al- Qa'ida or something, but the truth is probably much more mundane ... Oh well, the bankers are in the process of trying to track back the money and to credit our accounts.

Evelin got the first Lovenox shot (a low molecular-weight version of heparin). The syringes are kind of neat. The meds are premeasured/mixed and all you have to do is pull off the cap, make the injection and then depress the plunger further and a protective sheath pops up to cover the needle. It still has to be disposed in a sharps biohazard box, but it's kind of cool.

I'm in the office today to try and get caught up with the September issue. We should have finished it by Friday, but it looks like it won't get off to the printer until Tuesday or so. It shouldn't cause any delays in printing or mailing, however, as it's August in Italy and the printer is closed until the 14th anyway ...

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