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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

You can't cheat an honest man

This will make good reading of someone can get it through to Brian Ross...

I was reading through
ebay’s forum this morning and was especially attracted to ebay scams from Nigeria. On the Internet today, the word “Nigeria” is almost always attached to scams, when e-commerce is involved. And why not? There has been too many tales of people being cheated of their money or goods, by such scammers. According to Wikipedia,

These scams have come to be associated by the western media with Nigeria due to the massive proliferation of such confidence tricks from that country since the early 1990s, as well as the reputation of the country for corruption.

419 doesn’t make this better either. Stories of hidden riches looking for people to help bank them abroad are the bait, and gullible/greedy westerners are victims.

Well, back to ebay. The experiences I read this morning were quite insightful. Someone using the alias, rickjforbes, while giving advice, said something that striked me: “You can’t cheat an honest man“. I believe this and understand it this way. The scam popularly refered to as 419 is basically an “advance fee fraud” that is based on the greediness of the “victim”. It would take a very dishonest person to fall victim.
All the variants of 419 listed on Wikipedia are based on the greediness/gullibility of the willing victim.

  • Invitation to visit the country
  • Credit card use through IP Relay
  • Romance angle
  • Auction overpayment, fake check
  • Fake escrow
  • Western Union scam
  • Lottery scam
  • Classified advertisement scams
  • Escort scams
  • Black money scam
  • Rental scam
  • Bulldog puppy scam

There are so many indications that such attractive offers are scams. Huge sums of money are almost always involved. For example, you receive an email or text message that you have won $20,000 in a lottery. You are then asked to send $1,505 as administrative fees or something like that. Now, you would clearly know whether you staked lottery or not. If you didn’t stake any lottery, the only reason you would expect to get something for nothing, is dishonesty.

I am not holding fort for scammers and never will. My point here is simple: You can’t cheat an honest man (or woman :-) ).

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