What makes fraud so alluring

Gullibility is a human trait that has allowed con artists to make a quick buck since time began.

“Did we go over this one last week?” asked Sgt. Michel Girondin as I sat in his office, pen poised and ready to start writing during my weekly visit to the RCMP Detachment.

“Yep,” I replied. “It was in last week’s paper. The one that resembled a notice from the RCMP…”

“No, not that one.”

And so the description of yet another internet fraud reported to the RCMP by the public. After a while, it’s hard not to roll your eyes.

Con artists are as old as the rocks.  There will continue to be con artists as long as there are people willing to believe them and fork over their hard-earned cash. The internet is simply their latest medium.

Is it any more credible because it’s in our home?

Snake oil salesmen. Door to door salesmen. Telephone solicitors. Mail scams. Television advertising.

Same wolf, wearing the latest fashion in wool.

And their victims are likely to be conned regardless of which method is presented.

Our hearts go out to the senior who loses their life savings, or the teenager duped into taking out a load they can’t repay. Some of the cons are heartless and cruel and make us angry that such monsters dwell among us to prey on people who just want to help them. Most of the cons out there are just so stupidly transparent that we wonder how anyone can be taken in by them.

I’ve published information on telephone and internet scams in the past. The sad truth is that I just can’t possibly cover the details on each one. There are too many. And even if I did, it’s human nature to ignore things like this until they’re staring us in the face.

All scams  have one thing in common: they’re looking for money. In return, they may offer to double your investment or to provide you with a service that, in retrospect, you really don’t need. Listen to those little voices in your head – the voices that sound like alarm bells ringing.

Just keep in mind that nothing that a stranger offers you is free, despite what you may have learned from television.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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