Monday, November 20, 2006

A gaggle of idiots.

The '419 scam', or the 'Nigerian scam', named for where it originated, is one I first saw about fifteen years ago. It was obviously a scam then, and it's obviously a scam now.

It consists of an Email from a total stranger, who has enormous amounts of cash but can't get it out of their country because of whatever current political issues are in vogue at the moment. This total stranger is willing to give you a large portion of this enormous amount of cash if you help them move it into your country. Naturally, there are expenses, to be reimbursed when the cash is transferred... but of course, it never is.

Oh, come on. Surely nobody falls for this one any more? It's at least fifteen years old and it was an obvious con when it was new.

Yes, they do. Lots of them.

People are still handing over money to the fraudsters. What are such stupid people doing with money in their hands? They clearly can't be trusted with it. To quote the article:

Although the scam has been widely publicised, people still fall for it through a mixture of greed, naivety and a sense of racial superiority, the British study said.

Well, if greed and/or racial superiority are your thing, then you deserve all you get. As for naivety, there's no excuse. If you're intelligent enough to operate a computer you should have sufficient intelligence to spot such an obvious scam. If you don't, then step away from the keyboard. You're likely to hurt yourself.

As long as there are suckers, there'll be scammers. The only way to stop it is to have a form of Internet driving test, with hazard recognition classes for the seriously hard of thinking.

After all, letting these poor saps loose on the internet is like letting your dog drive your car.

That's never a good idea.


Anonymous said...

You know what makes me crazy about those scams more than the scammers? The dummies who fall for them. (eye rolling)

Lola said...

Intelligent greedies who fall for these scams don't get a lot of sympathy from me. Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with intelligence.

Some very nice people are born with other gifts - music, housekeeping skills, divine cooking, sports apptitude - but they didn't get much in the brains area. Some others where born with loads of brain power, but have lost it to accident, disease, old age, etc.

It breaks my heart to hear some senile out lady sent these crooks her last dime.

Even stupid victims don't deserve to be victimized.

My father used to say, "Even if a woman's standing naked and drunk on main street blowing kisses at the cars that pass, she doesn't deserve to be raped. She deserves to be offered your coat and a ride to the mental hospital."

Anonymous said...

Your father was/is a wise man, but I have to agree with Rom. Whoever said, "There’s a sucker born every minute," needs to take a course in basic statistics...every second seems closer, but then I am a bit of a cynic.

Romulus Crowe said...

True, some are more intelligent than others. That's going to set me off on a rant about the 'lowest level' style of UK teaching, but I'll restrain myself for now.

One or two in each generation have enough brainpower to become Nobel prize winners. We can't all function at that level. If we did, who'd lay bricks? Who would mix cement? Who would sweep streets or run supermarket tills? These aren't intelligent people but they are a vital part of society. We need sewers, so we need sewer builders and sewer maintenance. The people doing that might well be as thick as what they wade through, but it has to be done and they deserve respect for having the stomach to do it. Even those who aren't intelligent enough to become sewer operatives still find a place in administration somewhere.

However, the prime motivators in responding to those Emails are 1) greed and 2) racial superiority (see, these simple foreigners need me to help them with their money). Neither of those motivations get any sympathy from me.

I'm a tightwad. I admit it. It takes a crowbar to pry open my wallet. So I have trouble understanding how people are so easily parted from their cash. How do they fall for repeated requests for money from total strangers?

There should be a warning posted at the top of every Email program: 'Warning: some messages can be hazardous to your wealth'.

Lola said...

"Even those who aren't intelligent enough to become sewer operatives still find a place in administration somewhere."


Anonymous said...

Lowest-level teaching style? Sounds much like our "Standardized" teaching style here in the US.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I admit, I didn't go read the stories. I live in a place where people faithfully read supermarket tabloids, but never pick up a daily newspaper. I didn't mean to slight the victims.

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