Crossroads to Somewhere: Cyberspace Scams & Gullibility

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO
(First published in
 The Rafu Shimpo on Feb. 8, 2012.)

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A long while ago a teacher explained why flowers attracted birds and bees and butterflies. Something to do with nectar and attraction. Akin to kissing, she explained. A lousy comparison to use when dealing with 10-year-old grammar school kids, but the fact that I still remember counts for something. I raised my hand and asked if dragonflies counted along with the birds and the bees.  CR2S was a SA [smart a..]even at a young age.

That early educational moment was remembered as I reviewed the sudden influx of cyberspace con artists visiting my emailbox in recent weeks:  What is it about CR2S that attracts so many shysters?  I wouldn’t mind if they were elaborate ruses or had an ounce of cleverness to their appeals — a la Paul Newman and Robert Redford — but these modern era ploys aren’t even wily, let alone enticing.

Having been the principal in two recent “Help, I’ve been robbed!” overseas scenarios, I can attest to their laughability (even though there was one friend who inquired about how to respond to the money transfer). Having been the victim twice, you wonder how I could be the recipient of that same plea thrice. Don’tcha think there should be some sort of non-profit criminal clearing house to avoid such embarrassing overlaps?

For some unknown reason, in quick order came six more sudden wealth offers, two so impatient they were repeated within four days:

Mark P. wants to place an order with my company but first wants to know if I can ship to the Philippines (which is misspelled) and do I have credit card facility. This inquiry appears in my regular mailbox and later repeated in spam status.

“Sorry for bardging (sic) into your inbox un-wanted. I got your contact on the ‘Global Email Directory’ in the bid to making a proposal known to you after a long search.” It goes on to explain the discovery of $23,300,000 in a London bank waiting to be claimed. This lengthy intro was followed up a week later:  “Sorry I have not received from you so I had to write again,” signed Barrister Peters S.

“My dearest one” was the one that caught my eye. It must have been destiny (or a sucker list) that led her to me: “My name is Aida Salome Mbatia, 24, from Tanzania.  I decided to contact you after my prayers (and) want to have a good relationship with you . . . (and the) money will be released only after marriage.” Aida goes on to explain I am the true person destined to help (and share her $10.6 million U.S.) but haste is necessary since her uncle has threatened to assassinate her. (Maybe I should forget the money appeal and contact Hillary Clinton. Or Oprah.)

A random check with friends reveals the fact that most are not bothered by these blatant ploys. Which is disturbing. I mean, geez, it’s not so much “why me?” as it is “why me so often?” Is there a potential sucker list being cast about internationally? Am I on some special nincompoop list of dupes-in-waiting? Suffering succotash, I think I’ll ask Aida before worrying about a pre-nup.

As the nation recovers from its annual Super Bowl stupor, CR2S has to comment on the wildly anticipated advertisements and the touted halftime extravaganza. At near $4 million per 30-second commercial, I’d have to say there must be buyer’s remorse this week. Without notes I would have a tough time recounting the mediocrity. Polar bears, vampires, dogs and Madonna. Sorry.  The second half didn’t start fast enough.

Though not newsworthy, CR2S continued its string of winning wagers.  I had the New York Giants pegged on the money line (w/o 3-point underdog spread), with over/under at 55. I took under and a parlay of NY/under for a fruitful Super Bowl. I find it interesting that my periodic forays into the world of gambling these days have been stress-free and confidence-filled; psychological liberty (good luck), I call it, when losing never enters the equation.

Who cares the meaning or justification. Winning at anything beats the alternative. So instead of wallowing in the past and basking in the present, I find myself looking forward with assurance. Super Bowl XLV!!: Green Bay 35 vs. New England 17.

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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