I receive at least 2-3 e-mails a week from my long lost relative who is an African prince who has just died and has $10 million dollars waiting in an account for me if only I will...fill in the blanks. Like most of you, I just delete the e-mail and then go about my day. however, I got to thinking that since the e-mails continue - someone must be responding making it a lucrative business, but wanted to throw it out there and get opinions from my new friends at HP. Do you think people actually respond to these obvious dupes? If so why? If not, why do they persist? I am writing a Hub where I will accumulate these responses and also write about a friend of mine who actually tried to find the end of that rainbow and ended up stranded in Amsterdam calling me for help to get back to the United States. I will also have an interview from a real African Prince who is a friend of mine for his take on the scam...but until then, I would like to hear from you - do you know someone who really did think it wasn't too good to be true? Why is this such a compelling scam? Thanks in advance for the discussion!
I don't know anyone personally who's fallen for one of these scams, thankfully.
If I'm in a saucy mood, I occasionally wilI respond "F**k Off" to one of those e-mails, because the idea that one of them might actually reply keeps me entertained. So far, though, no one has.
I know it has and am really curious about why, and wondering if it is effective? I had a friend who actually acted on one of these letters 10 years ago (which is part of the Hub I am writing) and so understand that they do make money, but am curious about others' experiences with theses letters...
So Linda, I am wondering if you remember the first time you received one of these kinds of letters and how you felt about it and how you identified that it was a scam? Did you want it to be true? Could you tell by the spelling errors that it was a ploy??? I am asking HPers to share their feelings and experiences behind these scams to help shed light on the entire experience...
Someone must reply or they would disappear. The reasons people might reply vary. 1) The spammers are lucky and actually comes close to a real life family situation. 2) The person who receives the scam is new to technology and doesn't know any better. 3) Some people can rationalize anything.
I always laughed when I got them. The relative they always picked was either been in jail or on probation in the midwest
I know of someone who believed one of those scams, but I do not know him personally. His adult children, and close friends all told him it was a scam but he didn't believe it. He eventually went broke sending the scammers monthly payments, because he was sure he was a lucky one, and would be richer then ever. Very sad deal.
I fell for a "poetry contest" email years back right up to the point they asked for money at which point they bumped into my knowledge that contests give you money when you win them; they don't take it.
I fell for an email scam that was constructed to look like I was sending money to help a widowed individual whose children were in danger of becoming homeless along with him. I'm not too embarrassed about it because I'd rather err and do the kind thing for someone who doesn't deserve it than fail to help someone who genuinely needs it.
I have high-functioning autism so I tend to take what people say as what they mean. Even knowing I have this issue, it's difficult to tell when people are being genuine and when they are running a con or lying to hide something they are uncomfortable about.
I get a lot of "male enhancement" spam emails but I'm a woman so I'm not interested in having a unit I don't have or want "enhanced" by anything but I'm utterly fascinated by science so I looked into the information available and saw it was written in pseudo-science babble. Mind you, this was some years ago. Anyway, I know that all those male enhancement things are scams. But they worry me because some autistic or otherwise gullible men who are depressed about some perceived insufficiency in their body parts might be harmed emotionally or financially by falling for the scams. I think the male enhancement scams are some of the cruelest because they work hard to convince people who are already unhappy that they should be unhappy and that they aren't good enough as they are while also not delivering anything but embarrassment, financial drain, and a worse self-image. I could easily see autistic men with poor self-esteem who lack a firm grasp of biology falling for male enhancement scams.
Kylyssa, Thank you for your reply - you helped me identify the vulnerability that the scam artists use to find the hook. And, I especially liked the way you talked about "bumping up against" a piece of knowledge - that's a great way of framing something that I think about as a red flag waving - often our warning signs may be far more subtle than a red flag. I am so glad you shared your story - I just published a hub that describes in detail the experience that a close friend of mine had to help others understand how fast and easy falling prey can be. Thank you again for your story.
Also, consider people for whom English is a second language. My city has a large immigrant population. Not only do they have greater challenges understanding the content but they have more problems recognizing errors in spelling and grammer. Similarly, they may not understand news items or internet reports issuing warnings.
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