Thursday, August 11, 2005

Working for your money ~ what a concept!

Everything seemed normal, even his picture was cute. "Loving, caring and hardworking," the online dating profile said. She was flattered when he asked her to chat. They began exchanging e-mails which became intimate in a short period of time. On Valentine's Day, she received chocolates, a teddy bear, and an “I love you” balloon. She felt for sure this was real. He said he was from a city in Massachusetts, but that he was out of the country on a big construction job. He was doing some work in Nigeria, and said he would come visit her in Ohio as soon as he could get back. Two more months of emails before there was a problem. He said his boss paid him in postal money orders, and he was having trouble cashing them. He asked her if she would cash the money order for him, then wire the money to him in Nigeria. She agreed, and over the next two weeks, she cashed two $900 money orders and sent along the funds. He then told her he was ready to leave the country, but needed money to deal with a visa problem. She cashed another money order. Then, her bank called her. Something was wrong. The bank told her the money orders had been altered — they were purchased for $20, but then "washed" and doctored to read $900 — she still held out hope. But a friend pointed her to an Internet site devoted to Nigerian scams, and suddenly, her world crashed down around her. The bank told her she was responsible for that money. She had to pay them $2,700, which was everything she had. She was devastated. She shared her version of events with MSNBC.com in the hopes that others might not fall for the same trickery. He spent four months gaining her trust. So-called Nigerian scams, where victims are ultimately tricked into sending money to the African country using some irreversible method like a wire transfer, are common. The Secret Service and other U.S. agencies have issued warnings on the scams, also known as "419" or "advance-fee" frauds. But there was a seductive flavor of this type scam — known to some as "sweetheart scams". It is amazing the incredible patience the scammer will have. It shows what lengths the con artist will go to cheat someone. It also goes to show you what lengths people will go to trying to meet others. Once you are out of school, it is hard to meet “mr. or miss right”. It seems that people are willing to go to great distances to find the right one. What a scam! However, this is not a novel idea; there have been hugely successful scams over telephones and through the mail. Seems like there have been numerous scams against the elderly and their social security checks. The types of scams out there are endless!
I would like to think I am not someone who would fall prey to a scam like that, but in order for us to not fall into that trap, are we not to trust anyone? I detest the idea that we have to be skeptical of so much these days. Is it just a sign of the times? Are people not as trustworthy as they were in the past? Or, are we now exposed to more ways that people can deceive? What ever happened to the concept of working for your money? It is just mind boggling to me.

26 comments:

Ilaiy said...

Be careful with all those email scams...

Never make your life revolve around money ..

./thanks
ilaiy
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http://ilaiy.blogspot.com
http://howiwishihad.blogspot.com/
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Rob Seifert said...

The internet is not the friendly place it once was I'm afraid. People take a lot on faith. It breaks my heart to see people taken in like this because what we need is more trust not less. It's an ugly problem indeed.

RCS

BadGod said...

Oh I see, now you're gonna leave me here in Nigeria?

Whatever. I thought we had something. I can take a hint.

Edge said...

I find most people can be trusted on the net until they start asking for money. But this lady must have been desperate if she thought all she could find was a man in Nigeria!

But doesn't the bank share some responsibility in this by allowing bad checks to be passed to the teller? Ya, the lady was wrong, but the bank needed to check closer I think.

~Jef

Lee Ann said...

ilaiy - thanks for stopping by! Guess we can never be too careful!

rcs - I hate the fact that people will take advantage of others, no matter what the scam.

badgod - oh, is that where you've been? haha

Jef - I have to agree! The money question should have been the first clue. I used to work for the newspaper when I lived in Florida. When we would cold call a list of people telling them to try the newspaper free for one month, most of the time, we couldn't even give it away...for free! Telephone solicitors (another whole story!) Good point with the bank's responsibility too. Too bad there are people that despondent to ignore good instinct.

The Husband said...

i've recieved those emails before. i can't believe people fall for that stuff. oh, if anyone is interested i have some beach front property in Nebraska that i'm selling? let me know if you are intersested.

Lee Ann said...

carl - i know, it really is sad!

Eddo said...

Good writing and great information.

And you have really, really pretty hair!!!

The Zombie Lama said...

It is sad, but it's easy to say "I can't believe someone fell for that". In this case, it was the whole "sweetheart" aspect that sucked her in. People get desperate for love, and do crazy things.

Scams like this existed long before the internet, the internet just made it easier.

Lee Ann said...

eddo - thanks for stopping by! And thank you very much :)

Zombie - yes, what people will do for love. I think there are a lot more lonely people out there than I realize.

mojoala said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mojoala said...

I saw an episode of "DateLine". It was a 2 hour special on these Nigerian scams. I get emails all the time from these jerks.

Sometimes I think the people that become the victims should be imprisoned just as much as the victimizer.

I am just a little divided on this topic because of this phrase:

"STUPID IS, STUPID DOES"

Also it is my opinion that if these people watched as much news as the do "Reality Shows" then this would not happen to them. I look at the typical people that talk about these shows and I get the impression they have a very low gene pool rating....

mojoala said...

Working for your money?

Sorry to say, that is exactly what they are doing.

They are working for their money by scamming.

Scamming people out of their assets is about as old as when the first currency was forged.

I believe that their should a class in high school called Scamology, in which a history of scams are explored and researched.

Then if people still get scammed, the shame on them, not shame on the scammer.

I have made mistakes in my life by my own stupidity, no one is to blame but myself.

that's enough ranting for now....

Lee Ann said...

mojoala - you definitely make some good points. These people "working someone over" for their means of income, should try a little good old fashion REAL hard work. I think you are right with people being oblivous to what goes on in the world. Definitely too much "reality tv"! Thanks for your comments.

mojoala said...

Your welcome.

ticharu said...

Yup, it's an old scam with a new tool. Human nature is full of devious. Say, Lee Ann, I've got a bridge, it's in Brooklyn...

BeckEye said...

I wonder when Chad and Cameroon will catch on?

midwest_hick said...

Always someone out to make a quick buck....and so hard to believe so many people get snookered into it....just sad.

trader said...

Small is good, too: on quantifying connections
There's all this fixation on getting links , getting traffic, getting on the lists ... We forget that getting on the Technorati 100, in the end, is supposed to be about getting your voice heard by the people you want to hear it - instead it just becomes yet another pissing contest.
This might not be the right place, but I'll mention it anyways. You can get some cholesterol control information by following the link about cholesterol control.

Lee Ann said...

ticharu - yes, it wasn't too long ago there were all sorts of telephone scams, mail scams...hey about that bridge....;)

beckeye - no doubt they will

midwest - snookered (i like that word). Hey is that like snockered, hmmm guess not, but yeah it is sad.

Chris said...

Has she been on the internet very long? I guess I take for granted my understanding of world affairs...

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_928.html

Is she new to the internet?

Fred said...

I must receive four or five emails a day telling me my PayPal or eBay account has been suspended. Of course, they want me to give them all my details.

It's scary how sophistiated these scams are. Are any of really safe from fraud these days? I wonder.

Goan Pao said...

I can never trust sny relation that involves finances...also since I still dont believe the internet is a good place to meet people....
But I get upset every time a scam like that occurs...guess everybody these days is looking to make a fast buck...The term hard earned money has lost its value...

Dave Morris said...

I agree, it's the saddest thing to be wary of every kind act or gift. The word "free" is so overused, it no longer holds meaning.

Wishing won't change anything though, so we have to continue being suspicious of everything. It's so bad, even most of the well-intentioned virus warnings are SCAMS! Sad.

Lee Ann said...

Chris - I really don't know if she is new on the internet. But you would think that there would be the tiniest doubt! When in doubt, don't!

Fred - I agree. I keep getting an email from some Mormon in Utah. It is meant for someone else, but I have a feeling they want me to respond telling them they have misdirected it. They give updates on what they have been doing and want to know what "I'm" up to. I finally just put it on my junk mail list.

goan pao - yes, that should be the first red flag, if nothing before that...Money!

Dave - you are absolutely right! "Free"....with a purchase of .... That word doesn't even grab my attention anymore.

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