Father Sez

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Harsh economic times and rising number of scams – let’s not lose our hard earned money

Sunday June 29th, 2008 by fathersez

As the present harsh economic realities sink deeper and deeper into our lives, we are forced to look harder and harder for ways and means to make our Dollar (or Ringgit or Yen or Rupee or whatever) stretch further. Frugal ways of living become the norm. Wants are tossed aside as we struggle to meet our needs. 

This situation also forces us to look out for ways to improve our income. We look far and wide for such opportunities and our minds may become more susceptible to “get rich quick scams.” 

I am not sure if there are any scientifically proven relations between rising scams, fraud and con jobs during harsh economic times, but it sure feels like it. 

The world has already been exposed to the Nigerian scams, or what is commonly known as 419 schemesVariations of these scams are now circulating over the Internet, seeking the gullible amongst us to invest or to pay some sort of fee in the promise of some untold riches.  

We, Malaysians have been exposed to a variety of scams. And some of us are still falling for them. 

Like this lady who lost a total of RM200,000 (US$ 62,500) in the belief that she had won RM90,000. 

And this lady who tried to ward away bad luck and ended up getting a lot more than she bargained for 

And yet another lady who fell for the “I am from your bank and I need your credit card as there is a virus in the chip” line.  

It seems that certain types of people are more susceptible to fall for scams. The victims are usually: 

-         married men, (despite the examples above)

-         have college degrees, (so education does not seem to be a major diferentiator)

-         more optimistic about the future,

-         earn more than USD30,000 and

-         those who rely on themselves for investment decisions. 

I also think there has to be an element of greed involved, in that the victims expect returns that are ballistic.  

There is a lot of skill involved in scamming. Those of us who have seen scam themed movies like “The Sting” can appreciate the amount of planning and precision that was put into the whole exercise.  

These scam artists are now armed with technology and throw their nets far and wide at negligible costs. Even if one or two victims are caught in the net and reeled in, the ROI’s the scam artists gain are truly phenomenal. 

As fears of economic depression gather steam the scam artists are going to have a field day getting their victims.

Over the last six months, I have been approached by: 

- a person who called my mobile number and claimed to be calling from our High Courts on some offence that I was supposed to have committed. Luckily our local papers had been carrying stories about such scams so I was able to get off. (The scam is to frighten the victim that they were being charged by the Anti Narcotics police and that all their bank accounts would be frozen. They would then be “advised” to transfer their money to a “safe” account, which of course would be emptied soon after by persons unknown.  

- a person who emailed me claiming to be working for a reputable London jeweller. She claimed that the jeweller was buying some cleaning fluids which could be obtained from Malaysia at a fraction of the sales price. She wanted me to be her agent so that I could buy the stuff and export it to her. 

- a person who claimed that his client, a philanthropist had died leaving a fortune and his will required that the money be given to another philanthropist. And that my name had been selected! 

I urge each and everyone of us to be even more careful now. When approached by people we don’t know (these days the approached are usually by text messages and email) offering fantastic investment opportunities…..just stay away. 

As bloggers we can also do something about these scams. We, too, can spread the word around. We can tell ourselves, our family members and friends about any scam that we run into and remind them that opportunities that are too good to be true are usually just that.  

Additional useful readings: -

a) Former con victim, Annie McGuire’s web page to help prevent fraud 

b) The FBI’s page on some common fraud schemes. 

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2 Comments for “Harsh economic times and rising number of scams – let’s not lose our hard earned money”

by KCLau
On June 30, 2008
At 10:03 am

there is no free lunch in this world

by kenngoh
On June 30, 2008
At 11:39 pm

Hi Fathersez,

Nice tips, I have been scammed too in Ponzi Scheme. I wasted fews thousand hard earn money in the scheme. When I think back, it’s really stupid.

However I received a lot email claiming someone dead and I am chosen to receive the money bla bla….but I reply them back, please donate all to charity and somehow curse them.

Hope that everyone will know about this scam. Thanks for sharing.

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