Monday, July 4, 2011

INTERNET SCAMS - Greed and Gullibility

A common storyline ...

There have been scams and scammers since the beginning of human times - and there always will be. With the advent of the internet, scammers have merely found a new platform from which to ply their trade. No doubt you’ve heard or read about people falling for a scam here and there, sometimes costing people thousands of dollars and a lot of heartache.

Scammers are clever, devious people who have no remorse nor compassion for their ‘victims’, and many are extremely good at what they do. It is up to us as individuals to be aware and alert in order to protect ourselves. The old adage about something sounding too good to be true ... is very true.
Some people are genuinely scammed ... yet others fall into their own trap of greed and gullibility.
In the promotional ads for a television program earlier in the week, the voice-over described how this ‘poor woman’ was scammed for nearly a million dollars. Watching the show later shed revelation on what really went on - and although I do genuinely feel sorry for people who are scammed, there are times when I’m sure the ‘scammee’ may have brought it on themselves through their own greed and gullibility.

So in a nutshell, the story went thus. 

The lady receives an email out of the blue from a man in some far-flung country. He tells her that he has seen her ‘profile’ and that he thinks she is ‘beautiful’ and would like to get to know her. He sends along a generic photo of a relatively handsome man. (Stolen from facebook and/or the like no doubt)

In quick time he is professing his undying love to the woman and she falls for it hook, line and sinker. (That’s the gullibility part – they’d never met, never spoken on the phone, never been intimate etc - but it is ‘true love’ within a week ... yeah right!)

The man offers her a plan to ‘get rich quick’ - because he loves her so much, of course. (This is where ‘greed’ sets in ...)

He explains to her that he has drilling rights in Africa and will be paid $1 per barrel once the oil is shipped overseas ... and there are 94 million barrels to ship - so that’s 94 million dollars.
He then tells her that he will take 60% and she will have 35% - but first, the woman needs to send him $250,000 to secure the rights to something-or-other. The woman sends the man her life savings and takes out a personal bank loan to cover the rest. She sends him the money. 

In a short time, the man emails and tells the woman that he needs another $200,000 for some sort of rubbish - and again she falls for it, this time selling her family home for far less than it’s worth, because the man has told her that they need the money urgently. (And of course, he loves her and can’t wait to be with her ...)

Then another email and another $200,000 is required. The woman sells her investment property (again for far less than it’s worth) and sends the money over.

This theme just went on and on with this woman sending over hundreds of thousands of dollars - and all the while I am wondering about the intelligence of this woman. Now come on ... really.
By the end of the program the woman was sobbing and crying that he had ‘taken’ everything and she’d ‘lost’ everything. But in reality – she GAVE him the money, prompted by her own gullibility and greed. He didn’t steal her ID, run up bills in her name, rape her bank accounts and take out loans and credit cards - No. She chose to sell her own home, take out the loans and send the money of her own accord. Yes, she was most likely coerced etc, but ultimately, it was she who signed the papers and sent off her money.

She goes on to tell the reporter that she ‘loved’ the man, of whom she never met or even knew at all. And what was she going to do now that she’d lost her home and all of her money, and still had the bank loan to pay off? Where would she and her children live? (Children! – the woman has children yet sells her/their home and sends the money to a bloke she doesn’t even know!) I feel sorry for the children as they are an innocent party in all this - but I CANNOT feel sorry for the woman. I understand that she may have been feeling lonely and vulnerable – but common sense is common sense.

The point of my rant is that we all need to take personal responsibility for our actions and be mindful of what goes on in our own lives. Use discernment and common sense and be mindful of your actions, always.


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