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Just how stupid are people?

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posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 07:02 AM
reply to post by dave420

I noticed your mood is 'depressed' and I honestly feel for you and others with depression, but I see depression and vulnerability as 2 different things. both unfortunate, but being vulnerable (or gullible as these people were) although a state of mind in not a mental illness. It is a lack of common sense in most cases.
One can lead to the other but not the same.
I may be wrong and if anyone with a clinical background can show me different I am willing to listen

posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 09:13 AM
Definitely an interesting topic. These scammers are extremely devious, clever, convincing, and manipulative. However a lot of them are VERY, VERY stupid as well. Go to your favorite search engine and look up scam baiting and you'll find tons of interesting (and usually entertaining) reading about people who intentionally seek out scammers and lead them on in order to waste their time and money, and to make them look foolish. My favorite site is 419Eater. But there are many, so just pick one, grab a beverage, and kick back as you read about scammers getting a little bit of their own medicine.

I've done some scam baiting myself, mostly dealing with romance scammers, and for the most part they are very easy to spot. But in order to do so one must know what to look for. That's the problem. The victims don't have a clue.

From what I have seen most romance scammers fit into three categories. There's the ones from Africa, but mostly Nigeria, who are sometimes called Lads by scam baiters. There's the type from Europe and the former Soviet countries. They are typically referred to as Vlads. And then there are some who come from the Philippines. They all operate a little differently.

The Vlads are likely to use a pre-written script that they don't usually break away from. So if you start an email conversation with one and they never seem to answer any of your questions, but rather appear to be having a conversation with a brick wall, then that's a definite sign of a script. Sometimes you'll find one who doesn't use a script though, and those are the ones that are much more convincing. They typically give out pictures from modeling websites, but sometimes they will take pictures of someone themselves. For example, let's say the Vlad is actually a guy, but that his girlfriend is aware of the scamming, so he'd take pictures of her to send to the potential victim.

The Filipinos seem to prefer using web cams and instant messenger chat, and most of that chat takes place in internet cafes.

The African/Nigerian group are more like the Vlads in that they use scripts, send pictures of models or other people, and can seem to be talking to themselves.

The most common first method of getting money from a victim is by claiming that they (the scammer) has run out of funds to pay the translation service they use. So they ask for money to be sent via wire transfer. After that the ways they ask for money can vary greatly.

So here's some red flags to watch for:

- Scripted emails from the would-be scammer.
- A sob story about moving to with their family and now being stuck there, which in turn necessitates that funds be sent from the victim to help get home.
- A sob story about being out of money and stuck in a hotel in , and having the hotel manager being very irate and demanding money immediately.
- Asking for money for translation services.
- After contacting someone who had a personal ad with excellent language skills, that person uses terrible language skills. This is usually because they will copy/paste the profile of another personal ad...sometimes the pictures too.
- Pictures of people who are just too perfect looking. Sometimes they will even try to use images of celebrities.

The sad part about people who are victims of these scams is that there is very little that can be done about the money they've lost. At one point some time ago I had read that a surprising percentage of the Nigerian GNP came from scam money. So this is a huge problem around the world, and I can't see it going away any time soon.

At the very least, I definitely recommend looking at one of the scam baiting sites just to read up on how to spot scammers. Such knowledge could be very handy when talking to someone who may be engaged in a questionable online relationship already. The good sites have sections dedicated to educating people on what to look for, and some have information on how to deal with being scammed. In addition they have info about other types of scams...and there are many. Anything from selling cars to renting homes to moving millions of dollars. These scammers are extremely creative.

posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 09:26 AM
Yeah, I heard of these people that actually voted for a guy and believed that he would represent their best interests. He was called the President of the United States of America.

Can you believe it how gullible some people are?

posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 10:18 AM
reply to post by VIKINGANT

Depression and vulnerability are different - I never intended to say they were the same.

Gullibility can indeed be a sign of vulnerability - to latch on to things that could possibly help their current state, regardless of whether it's logical to do so.

All I'm saying is don't pass judgement on people, as they could be going through something that makes no sense to anyone else, but to them is hell on earth. With mental illness it's always better to give the benefit of the doubt, as to do the opposite can have tragic consequences.

I'm not berating you, by the way - I'm merely pointing something out that many (not necessarily you) don't realise. Which is a good thing, as mental illness, in any form, is horrific.

posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 07:26 PM
reply to post by John_Q_Llama

WOW! I knew these people were out there but did not realise the extent of the rganisation involved. This is really big business for some. That for the info. I will try and make it known to as many as I can

I couldn't agree more. ANY kind of mental illness extreme or minor needs to be taken seriously and not scoffed at. The examples in these stories however (as far as I can tell) are 'well adjusted' people who simply got sucked in. It is these types that deserve what they get.

Those who pray on the obviously weak minded are pure evil and then they are scum, but those who target 'intelligent' people that are too smart for thier own good or too greedy, I say good luck to them.

posted on Sep, 6 2008 @ 11:08 AM
reply to post by VIKINGANT

You'd be surprised just how far they will go to get money from people. And although I said that many of the scammers are dumb, there are those who are quite intelligent as well. There are also groups of them who are organized and work together, and I've read that they have a sort of pecking order that they work through. I guess there is sometimes a "boss" figure who acts as the leader, and then as you go down the food chain, the peon types do a lot of the dirty work.

In some cases it's just one guy who poses as multiple people when running some of the non-romance scams. The most common example is a scammer who is involved with making the first contact with a potential victim. He/she will then tell the victim to contact someone else, usually a barrister (lawyer) who handles "legal" (trust me, there's nothing legal about this stuff) documents that are required before the scam transaction can take place. Then the requests for money begin.

I don't like putting it this way, but my favorite scams to read about on the baiting sites are the ones where the scammers are obviously very desperate to complete a deal and pull in some money. There are documented cases where this guys will travel hundreds of miles in order to meet someone. And for some situations that can cost quite a bit. Reading their reaction emails after they find out that they've been deceived is SO satisfying. Some of the more convincing and able scam baiters have even managed to con two different scammers, who are unaware of each other, to meet each other while under the impression that they are meeting their victim. LOL.

It'd be interesting to know how many actual victims are spared the heartache of being fleeced because of the time and money that scam baiters waste at the expense of scammers.

EDIT: fixed a typo.

[edit on 6-9-2008 by John_Q_Llama]

posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 11:54 PM
A radio station in Brisbane ,AUS, recently decided to reply to one of these scam letters from a young "girl" who needed no money at all, she was willing to give him money to pay for her ticket. all she needed was his bank account details to put it in. for awhile the station was thinking about opening a fake account to see how far it would go but the federal police and the banks all said it was against the law for them to do so. this was a prime chance to catch them but im guessing the negatives of it outweighed the benifits.

in saying that the person didnt give up getting the announcers details even after the station stopped contact with the "young girl". the pictures she sent were quite nice though.................

[edit on 7-9-2008 by Supe04]

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