This is embarrassing.
I was scammed into writing 36,000 words by a Kenyan called Joseph Onyango.
Before you ask, no he wasn’t Nigerian. Africa’s an entire continent and home to a myriad of internet scams. It’s not cool to stereotype.
So anyway, I half confirmed Joseph Onyango lives in Lavington, Kenya. How? His verified Upwork account says so.
Take a look.
His scams are much more sinister than the standard Nigerian Prince Scam. Sinister AND sophisticated (it wasn’t sophisticated, I’m just trying to make myself feel better about it).
Well, Joseph didn’t steal any money from me.
He stole defenceless words.
Words that were young and poorly formed. Words that definitely shouldn’t be roaming the internet without a responsible guardian.
You’re thinking that I shouldn’t have left them unsupervised with a monster like Joseph Onyango, aren’t you?
Resentfully, I’ll accept that you’re right.
Why Joseph Onyango Is A Child Trafficker (of words)
Hear me out.
I know this claim’s extreme, but it’s true.
Joseph Onyango is a Child Trafficker (of words).
If I’d known this from the off, I wouldn’t have consented to let them swim in his pool (sent them to him via Skype for a playdate).
I’d agreed to conceive and nurture these words for Joseph because he promised that he’d find a good home for them and reimburse my expenses.
Now, I’m not that worried that he neglected to reimburse my expenses.
I’m more concerned about what he did with the words after he kidnapped them.
After discovering the scam on Thursday, I hoped that he would adopt the words himself. You know, give all 36,000 words the attention and love they deserve.
Maybe raise them as his own in Kenya.
All wishful thinking.
Instead of caring for these delicate words, Joseph Onyango sold them.
Yes, Joseph Onyango, Freelance Writer, sold those adolescents into slavery. I’ve visited the sites where they’re now housed. The conditions are shameful.
Some of my words are now being forced to drop their trousers to sell dog beds to middle aged women. Others have been left outside on farmhouse porches to find new male clients.
Now I think you’ll agree with me that this incident constitutes child trafficking (of words).
That’s why Joseph Onyango is a Kenyan Child Trafficker (of words).
You’re now probably worried that he’s going to kidnap and traffic your adolescents (words) too.
Well don’t worry, here’s another picture of him from Joseph’s LinkedIn account.
You think he looks evil, don’t you?
That brooding smile’s not cruel, it’s just misunderstood.
How Did It Happen?
Can we skip this part? No?
Fine. Do you want the long, or the short answer?
I’ll start with the short one.
I was stupid.
How? Well here’s the long answer.
I was looking for more opportunities to write about sex on Freelancer.
Bidding on various competitions, an account posing as Jillian Milner awarded a project to me, then invited me to have a chat on Skype.
Jillian was then magically transformed into Scott Foster, owner of the content mill, Need An Article. I was surprised, but I thought hell, if Scott gets off by cross dressing on Freelaner, who am I to judge?
I should say now that Need An Article is actually a legitimate business and not affiliated with Joseph Onyango. I learned this later on their Facebook page.
However, at the time I didn’t know that I wasn’t talking to Jillian Milner or Scott Foster.
Over the course of the conversation, I agreed to write ten 2,000 word articles about Project Management.
I should have known something was wrong.
The conversation was filled with red flags:
- He complimented my writing. lol
- He promised to pay me $60 for every 2,000 word article (way too much for writing absolute crap)
- The meta data of every briefing document he sent me listed ‘Joseph Onyango the Child Trafficker (of words)’ as the creator. Not legitimate businessman Scott Foster.
Where To Now?
Well, I’m pretty powerless.
I suggested to Upwork that they should delete his account, because others may be less forgiving than I. But they haven’t.
Maybe that’s because he works for them? It’s what his LinkedIn suggests.
I also did my utmost to make the best out of a bad situation.
I did it by financially empowering those who bought my child trafficked words to achieve redemption.
It was as simple as emailing every site admin hosting my work, and letting them know that they could use my material for free. There was no longer a need to pay Joseph Onyango for his Child Trafficking services. It worked in at least three instances.
I hope the gesture’s enabled them to love and care for my words properly.
And I also hope that they don’t believe Joseph Onyango when he suggests that I flew out to Kenya and stole his notebook to sabotage his life.
Really, I have better things to do. Like um, writing stupid things on my various blogs.
Joseph Onyango – We Should Be Friends
Finally, Joseph Onyango, if you’re reading this, I’d love it if you got in touch.
I’ve emailed you already.
By that I mean I’ve emailed seven of your accounts, including email@example.com.
Now I’m afraid that the email isn’t very exciting.
No, it’s not that picture of my genitals that you requested last week.
Instead it’s an offer.
I’ve read your blog and understand the difficulties of trying to become a freelance writer when you’re a talentless hack.
We should get together to discuss strategies on how to make our dreams of writing professionally a reality.
Also, if you stop coming onto me, we could probably be friends.
There’s at least one silver lining.
I’m pretty sure this entitles me to write $2,000 off on my first tax return. Wow, maybe I could even make it $3,500. I mean, with a face like mine I must be worth at least $500 a day.
Oh yeah, I also learned that it’s easy to write 10,000 words about Project Management in a day.
NB: If you’re Joseph Onyango and your identity was stolen by this guy, like um, let me know and I’ll change the name to Jack Onyango.