Sunday, January 24, 2010

To catch a con man

I'm watching MSNBC tonight and Chris Hansen is profiling email scam artists. One of the American victims was a city treasurer who got taken for over $18,000. The next one was a county treasurer who not only "invested" his own money (to the tune of $80,000) but then embezzled hundreds of thousands of money from the county. Amazing... The first (a woman) said she thought she was trying to help someone out by helping them get their money back. Of course, the promise of $2,000,000 as a reward didn't even come into play. Puh-leeze... The only person she was convincing that she was trying to help someone out was herself. While I do feel sorry (to a certain extent) for the people for the loss of their money, I can't help but think "how stupid are you or how greedy are you" because they actually believe they're going to get something (millions) for virtually nothing (a "small" investment). Although some of them could be falling for something because they're desperate (after all, today's economy has created a lot of desperate people), maybe some of them are actually ignorant of the rampant email scams and "think" they're really helping some poor widow, who is dying from cancer, with twenty-four kids who live in poverty because their father absconded with their money, and the father died before she could have him apprehended and her money returned to her, and her kids will be forever grateful that some kind American has helped restore what is rightfully theirs - AND - because of their selfless generosity in helping out, the "rescuer" will receive a paltry percentage of the bulk of the money, but since the paltry sum is in the millions, the generous soul can't wait to help out. Right...

The county treasurer received seven years in prison for his "selfless" act of generosity in helping others, who just happened to be in Nigeria.

Chris Hansen has set himself up as a rich businessman and is calling himself Jim E. Dimoni (Gimme the money). Kind of catchy, don't you think? I loved it.

I continue to be amazed at how people fall for these, and why they think "this one" is honest when there have been so many exposed for the frauds they are. I continually get emails letting me know that I've won millions in a foreign lottery and I just need to collect - or that my wealthy long-lost relative has died and I'm the only remaining relative and I need to send my information in to collect my millions. It doesn't matter that I've never entered (and never will enter) a foreign lottery and I don't have any long-lost wealthy relatives (and I wouldn't be the only one because I have a BIG family). I especially love the ones that begin "Dearest" and implore on my sensibilities to help someone out.

My newest thing is scammers hitting my Avon website. They send a contact me request in, which I dutifully answer - knowing they don't want anything except to attempt to scam me. Of course, they want to place an order but because they are temporarily out of the country, they need for me to place the order - pay for it, and then ship it to them. They'll, of course, handsomely reward me for taking care of it but since they have they're own shipping company, they'll have that company pick the items up and ship them. They usually want to order anywhere from 30-60 of each item. I guess they think I have a lot of money (LOL, that's laughable) and I have the resources to order hundreds of expensive items (oh yeah, the items they want aren't the $2.00 things - they're the $30+ bottles of perfume).

Most of them I just ignore or say I don't ship - PERIOD. If they want something, order it from the website, have it shipped directly to them, and pay with real money - which is something they're not planning on paying me with. I've called one individual on his game and critiqued his email to me, correcting his punctuation, his spelling, and his grammar. He was not impressed and said that someday I would be "had."

Well, in order to be had, you have to respond and give your financial information, actually give them some money, and expect something in return. I don't buy anything from anyone who contacts me via email. Especially if I don't know the person. If I do get pleas from people I know, I respond back to them in a manner that is different from how I was contacted. If you're truly my friend and in need, I know how to contact you outside of email. Plus, if you're truly my friend you probably know I probably only have a couple bucks in my wallet at any given time and no resources to wire money or withdraw money.

I really believe greed plays the biggest roles in people being scammed. How many times have we been told that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. How many times have we been told that easy money isn't really that easy - except for the scam artists?

Money can solve a lot of problems, but in these cases it also causes a lot of problems.


Pat said...

How sad that we really have to watch what little money we have! We advertised our trailer for sale a couple of years ago and was approached via email from someone in the UK who wanted to buy it! They would supposedly send us a check that would cover the shipping cost. My husband said, "Do you understand that our trailer weighs 18,000 POUNDS?" It was really a scam.

I worry about the elderly now with the census people coming door to door. There have been many warnings out as to what and who to look for and what information to give out, but you know some people have missed that, and valuable info will be given out unknowingly.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

I know. It's terrible. Everytime I come upon something, I tell my sister that she needs to tell our mother to watch out.

I should have checked my Hotmail junk folder before I wrote this. It was hysterical. One of the things Chris Hansen had reported on was a scam where the scammers were using "In God We Trust" as code words. I had that very scam in my email box! I started reading the emails to Ron and we about wet ourselves laughing so hard.

It's sad to think that people actually fall for the stuff that these thieves write. I think I had about 14 scam messages.