Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You cannot cure stupidity

I read the following article on an African news service, produced by SAPA, a local press association, much like Reuters.

Johannesburg - The Hawks arrested four people implicated in a 419 scam at the weekend after they allegedly held a US woman hostage for nearly a month, an official said on Monday.
"Police believe the four lured the US citizen with a promise that she had won $1.06m (R8m)," Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi said.
The gang started scamming her last year and fleeced $60 000 from her between April and July.
"After July, the communication went cold until they approached her again in April this year."
She was told to come to South Africa in person to claim her prize and bring $2 000.

Taken hostage
"She duly came and on arrival on April 15 they took her hostage from the airport and kept her in a house Albertsdal, Alberton for well over a month. She was fed once a day while in captivity."
The woman managed to free herself on May 22 after breaking the window of the room where she was kept hostage.
She sought help from the neighbours who contacted the police.
"Intensive investigations were conducted by the Johannesburg Hawks unit working alongside crime intelligence colleagues," said Zondi.
The four people - three Nigerians and a South African woman - were arrested on Saturday.
They were due to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.
The US woman has since returned home.

My first reaction was that it serves her right for being so blatantly stupid and greedy as to believe that the 419-scam is true. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this scam, its name refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code (part of Chapter 38: "Obtaining Property by false pretences; Cheating") dealing with fraud.

Googling "419 scam" produces about 317,000 references. Ample information is available to tell anyone that it's a scam and you are sure to lose your money, if you are lucky. Some lost their lives, as this lady nearly did.

I know of a lady who got strung up for about $5,000 before she realized that it's going nowhere. She even prayed for a successful outcome of her "business" dealings all while the language of the teaser email openly declared that the money the scammers promised her was gotten by illegal means, if there was any money in the first place, of course. They promise stolen money. Yet, the desire to obtain a lot of money for no effort still blinded her to the reality of the deal and they almost took her to the cleaners. By the time her husband figured out what was going on, he was livid, as one might expect. They patched things up but she lost her access to their bank account, which is getting off very lightly, I'd say.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this scam, remember, you are their ideal target. If you want to send money to a Barrister, or a prince, or an orphaned child whose father left her $10 million dollars in a country where such a sum would certainly crash the entire economy, be my guest. But, getting on a plane and flying half-way across the globe to an African country with $2,000 in hand to boot, deserves to have you removed from the gene pool.

These scammers remain active because there are enough people who still send them millions of dollars every year, and those who fly there with more cash in hand either disappear or are held hostage for even larger ransoms.

Unless you learn what is realistic and what an attempt to pick your pocket is, you deserve to have your pockets and bank accounts emptied.

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Seeking the truth until I find it.