Saturday, June 29, 2013

How do you con a person to part with hard earned money for a fake scheme?

One would think it impossible. If we look at recruitment scams as an example; an analysis would show that in reality such cons are fairly common and claim highly educated engineers and graduates as victims (India’s eager IT graduates fall for fake interview scams). Most of these schemes thrive on fake mails, advertisements and even offer fake appointment letters (Fake job letters scam in Air India). The con artist makes money by convincing each interview applicant to deposit a small sum of money into a personal bank account prior to the job interview.
Most people fall into such schemes because these artists sweet talk prospective job seekers by preying on their emotional needs for a blue chip job. So perfect is their selling pitch that their victims fail to apply basic reason and do reference checks to verify the claims made. In the IT  recruitment job scam, the recruitment pages of these companies have a clear warnings on these scams. In one such scam 1,500 victims were provided with fake employee letters and travelled from many North Indian cities to Pune, a city in West India. They only found out that their appointments were not real, when they reported for work.

Every request for money is backed by a believable story. In the IT job interview scam the money was to be used for travel expenses, and the rationale behind the use of a third party and not a company account was to be able to refund the money quickly, post the interview.
Similar confidence tricks are used in various types of financial frauds. The job recruitment scheme nets around Rs 7500 or USD 200 for each victim, but financial frauds can wipe away entire savings and lead victims to commit suicide.

Many of these fraudulent financial schemes actually operate from a registered company with many employees. They use celebrities to endorse their schemes and build credibility. Most of these employees may not be aware that their company is actually involved in large scale fraud until it fails to repay investors. A good example is the case of an Indian couple who fooled 200,000 investors for a net collection of 60m$.
A former con artist turned do-gooder; post his prison sentence has this advice;

a)    Never make a buying decision immediately after you have heard the sales pitch for a get rich quick scheme. Give it 24 hours for the emotional effect to wear off and your logically mind to check and verify the scheme

b)    Don’t share personal information, such as your worries as this will be used to sell the scam to you. Con artist normally asks more questions than the victims do. Greed is the surest means to convince people to take part in schemes.

c)    Always ask “What in it for them”. If this is such a great scheme than why are they calling me about it?

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