Today we had someone on our forum comment that, as the content of an email was a request for money (as in an online “begging letter”) then it wasn’t a scam. Do we agree with this? Is a begging letter a scam? Well, yes and no. Let me explain this by offering up a scenario. Imagine that I’m homeless. The only way I can get money is to ask strangers for help. Am I scamming them? Of course not. I’m being honest about my situation, and they can choose whether to give money or not. Now let’s switch this around. I live in a big house, drive a fancy car, but spend my days out on the streets pretending to be homeless and asking for money. Am I scamming now? Of course I am. And why? Well, because now I’m lying about my situation. I’m using deception as a way to make money. That’s the key element here, the deception part. I imagine you know what a 419 scam is. It’s likely you ended up on this site because you received one. If you don’t know, and you stumbled in here by accident, then it’s those pesky emails you receive, usually offering you a huge amount of money in exchange for a smaller amount up front. It’s called a 419 scam after article 419 of the Nigerian criminal code, which forbids receiving money or goods by deception. There’s that word again – deception. If somebody is asking for money for a genuine reason then it’s not a scam. If they however are asking for money and lying about the reason they need it, then it’s a scam. This works both in the “real world” and online. Hopefully that clears it up. Here’s a video you can watch that shows a pretty good example, and there’s plenty more you can watch.
We joke (and I know that I’ve joked with the media saying “It’s ridiculous, right, BUT when you’re that scared, you’re not thinking straight and believe it.”) but if someone said this to you under normal circumstances, would YOU believe it?
you video is shared on all
these lines video websites
such as :
Of course not, right? It’s stupid, it’s insane, it’s inconceivable. But again, imagine yourself so scared that you’ll believe anything the scammer says. After all, they just showed you the unthinkable when they suddenly switched from appearing to be that sexy blonde to being YOU on webcam.
Basically, don’t underestimate the power of persuasion when the impossible has just happened to you. At that point, anything is possible.
I’ve always had issues with mail.com’s list of vanity addresses, but today totally takes the biscuit. Look at what email address I now genuinely own. This isn’t a Photoshop, this is an honest to God capture from my mail.com page. Now imagine if a scammer had gotten a hold of that one to use on his unsuspecting victims!