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to think that people who give money to strangers who send them emails deserve to be ripped off?

(17 Posts)
wannaBe Thu 15-Jan-09 11:22:32

Artacle in paper this morning about a man who lost £150000 after he received a begging email from someone in Nigeria saying that his mother was seriously ill and they needed money for her medical treatments. He promptly gave money, then she "died" and they needed money for the funeral which he duely provided. And then he apparently got an email from the FBI hmm saying they were investigating these emails and they needed money for the investigation which he gave them!

Sorry but what an idiot!

pagwatch Thu 15-Jan-09 11:25:39

I agree with you but only up to a point.

I think some of these people are vulnerable. I know I have had to speak to a friend of my mother who I believe has aspergers who believes everything on the internet is 'real' in spite of our endlesly explaining

wannaBe Thu 15-Jan-09 11:30:10

of course there are always exceptions, but on the whole the majority of the reason most people get ripped off like this is greed.

"hello, I am in Nigeria and my government is going to take away all my money, all 700 million pounds of it unless I can transfer it into a bank away from my country. I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me use your bank account to transfer this money into your country. Unfortunately you will need to pay me an administration fee of £15000, but in return I will give you a tenth of my wealth which will be approximately £7m."

All people can see is ££££ which is invariably why they do it.

onager Thu 15-Jan-09 11:34:04

Someone that vulnerable ought not to be in control of their money anyway.but sadly there are an awful lot of ordinary people who are no better. I suspect that if people had to pass a test for adulthood most people would never get to leave school.

Also most of the Nigerian type emails are appealing to greed. Saying they are in a jam and will pay you a fortune if you help out. I bet no one emails back to say that they will help, but wouldn't dream of taking that much money.

Greed and stupidity

blueshoes Thu 15-Jan-09 12:21:34

Old people with their life savings and who are out-of-touch with modern scams (ranging from selling overpriced mattresses at your door to emails and internet tricks), are vulnerable. Many fraudsters target them.

It is a life skill to keep up-to-date with modern scams

kettlechip Thu 15-Jan-09 12:44:26

My grandma has dementia - she was conned out of thousands by some fraudsters in Canada. They are extremely convincing and were also a bit threatening, they got hold of her phone number and were calling her constantly. She paid the money to try and get rid of them, luckily the postmaster at the post office where she was trying to transfer the money got suspicious and called the police.

I would imagine the vast majority of people who fall for these scams are vulnerable in some way. For example, some people with conditions like ASD are vulnerable because they cannot tell if they are being lied to - the condition can mean they are extremely honest and they expect the same of others. I think for most of us, common sense would override any greed though. I would actually feel sympathy for anyone losing money in this way. It is sickening that anyone would look to make money in this way.

blueshoes Thu 15-Jan-09 12:51:25

kettlechip, angry for your grandma. Similar thing happened to my dh's uncle but in door-to-door sales - used a combination of tactics including intimidation.

Did the reporting prevent the con or was your grandma already conned by then?

MrsArchieTheInventor Thu 15-Jan-09 12:56:15

Feel very sorry for vulnerable people who are taken advantage of in this way, but not all people who fall for these scams are vulnerable. A fool and his money are soon parted as the saying goes.

Portofino Thu 15-Jan-09 13:05:01

Here's someone who gets their own back on these scammers though:

Scam Baiting

Squiffy Thu 15-Jan-09 14:02:10

A friend of mine is clever and fun with her own business, and (to date) has been ripped off by (we think) more than half a million pounds (HTH), over a period of years. But she insists on believing the chap and immediately cuts out of her life anyone who tells her how it really is - it seems now that she cannot even allow herself to even think about it being a con, because then she'd have to face up to the consequences of never getting her money back. It is like a great stinking blind spot and the minute you come close to it she slams the shutters down and refuses to discuss it (whilst still doling out cash every month).

It is gruesome, she has wasted not only money but years and years of her life, and all of her friends discuss it all behind her back and despair of ever getting her to face it. She should be able to retire but instead her house is mortgaged to the hilt and she is broke.

I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. And I certainly would not laugh about people who get ripped off in this way.

coppertop Thu 15-Jan-09 14:05:18

Vulnerable or not, I think it's a slippery slope when you start to put the blame on the victim of a crime.

escape Thu 15-Jan-09 14:06:00

who is she sending money to?

OrmIrian Thu 15-Jan-09 14:07:22

Quite agree coppertop.

kettlechip Thu 15-Jan-09 14:25:25

Also agree, coppertop. Whatever the reason for them falling prey to con artists, be it mental illness or just naiveity, these people are victims, and I think it's in very poor taste to laugh at their misfortune. Any of us could be conned, I used to work in fraud prevention and the lengths criminals go to to make things seem plausible are amazing.

Blueshoes, the police stopped my grandma sending £4k at the time - something to do with a supposed Canadian lottery win - but we've no idea if any more had gone. I suspect her details were being passed amongst fraudsters as my Grandad said they were getting dozens of overseas calls. My dad registered her with TPS and MPS which helped a bit.
We once found a huge suitcase stuffed full of con letters in her house so I wouldn't have been surprised if more had gone. She was very secretive about it all.

onager Thu 15-Jan-09 15:15:47

Maybe trying to take advantage of a poor Nigerian stuck in an awkward situation IS a crime.

Portofino Thu 15-Jan-09 21:24:44

These aren't "Poor Nigerians" though - this stuff is highly organised.

onager Thu 15-Jan-09 22:52:21

You misunderstand me. The people who believe these emails are real are under the impression that they are going to get a big cut of someone's inheritence for a trivial amount of work.

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