A few days ago, a dear friend of mine was lured into parting with US$9,500. This is not something I would normally reveal; but the victim himself quite openly admitted it, in an admirable attempt to alert others to the dangers posed by these fraudsters.
These criminals, many of whom are based in India, are extremely well organised. They steal billions of dollars every year by preying on the unwary, using psychological techniques to fool regular people all over the world into parting with their money.
And the threat is on the rise, as more of these unscrupulous, soulless crooks are taking advantage of the inability of national crime prevention organisations to co-ordinate a response. Authorities in India, the UK, the US, Australia and elsewhere claim that it’s too difficult to identify such crimes, and pin down those who perpetrate them, because these actions cross international borders. (It’s yet another example of how national governments are failing to come to terms with how globalization has affected society; among other things, more effective regulation of banks, and other corporations that have grown too big for their boots, is clearly called for, in my view.)
Currently, the strongest line of defence is to ensure that we all educate ourselves about the risks. If you want to find out more — and I strongly suggest that you do — a superb starting point is Jim Browning’s YouTube channel, which I recommend wholeheartedly. I’ve included below one of Jim’s more serious offerings which demonstrates his activities. Jim’s videos are informative, educational and entertaining; they’re an excellent way to innoculate yourself against being taken for a ride — and perhaps losing your shirt.
After all that sobering stuff, here’s a change of pace: