The Love of An Internet Scam Artist
It is all too easy for anybody to create a false identity on the internet. And, having that, it's all too easy for them to use that to scam you out of your money. It's very simple. Let's take the example where a young, beautiful woman finds you by "chance" on the internet. If you talk to her awhile she'll soon be confessing an undying love to you. Not too long after that has happened, she'll be in a crisis which requires money and she needs your help. Get the picture? Unfortunately, there are too many people that fall for this. It's a safe policy to implement for yourself to never give money to strangers on line. Never. Likewise, don't give out personal information. Better safe than sorry. If you are going to donate to somebody who's in need or if you are going to lend a helping hand, do your research. Do it through sites or organizations that have proven statistics and are ideally well known.
While I was in living in Costa Rica I wanted to find people all over the world and make friends with them. A big resource at that time was the internet. The idea was that if I knew somebody abroad I'd have an easier time finding a job there and then I'd be able to continue my dream of traveling around the world on my budget. The downside, however, was that I had a number of people who tried to get a free ticket from me. At the time I was totally broke, living in a thatched ranchero, getting paid $2 an hour so the joke was really on them. I played along with their little scheme, pretending to be oblivious and I learned a couple of things that I'd like to share.
When they talk to you, you will notice that they say conflicting things. One girl wrote me, sent me a picture of a beautiful blonde and a while later stated that she had brown hair and brown eyes. I asked the pointed question of how this was so and the question went totally ignored.
Their grammar and spelling is off. This is either due to them not actually being American or English or what have you but being some person (ESL) living in a third world country amassing money from some rundown internet cafe. Or it could be because you're not the only person they're working on and so they rush things for that quick buck and thus slip on the quality of their letters.
A lot of what they say is non-sequior. Very often what they'll say wont be anything that actually pertains to what you told them in your letters. They repeat themselves in the most rediculous ways. It can be entertaining if you don't try to make sense of it or try to fit it in any frame of logic, otherwise you just get a headache.
Use common sense. Does it sound fishy? There was one girl who claimed to be in Nigeria and was having issues with customs so they put her under house arrest. Really? Visiting a foreign country, having trouble with customs and they put you under house arrest? I'm not even going to go into the twenty different ways that is totally illogical. And when she was asked, "What's the case number? I can help." Her response was to the effect, "They don't have case numbers here." Good thing she was able to be released for the small fee of $500 dollars, which she needed help with, naturally.
Truth is, internet scam artists come in all shapes and sizes and they can be pretty convincing. But if you talk to them a bit and look for what I mentioned above, you'll be able to spot one. Also, if you use the fail-safe rule of not giving money to strangers on the internet regardless, then you're safe.
Don't forget that you CAN always send ME money. That's okay. ;)