“You have won 750,000 pounds in CNN World News Poverty Alleviation Award, winning #7, to claim it contact Dr Jim via Email firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Renu growled, “What made you crack joke in a dull afternoon like this”
“No, no”, he protested, “It’s not a joke. We got an unexpected windfall – a fabulous amount of lottery win. Countless money will be there at your feet. Our world will stand changed”, he explained. The sms, the involvement of a reputed news agency and a foreigner – all these enveloped a sense of authenticity. Renu simply could not believe that the lady-luck would smile so benignly.
The couple stayed awake the whole night visualising the bundles of crisp currency notes and making future plans. The ‘big money’ as they called it, is enough to take care of all their immediate, as also future – distance future included – needs. There was an aura of anticipation and thrill. ‘When do we get a reply to our Email’, the wife asked innocently. ‘Not at this dead of night, of course. It may come anytime tomorrow,’ was the matured advice of the husband.
And sure enough, the ‘long’ awaited Email did come the next afternoon. While it congratulated Raju for the lucky win, it asked him to deposit Rs 28,542 for the custom clearance at a given account of a private sector Bank.
It was now the turn of anxiety. ‘Where do we get such a big amount from?’ Renu asked. Raju thought a bit and suggested disposing of her jewelleries. ‘We can always buy enough jewellery once we get the big amount’ he counselled in a controlled voice.
The amount was soon deposited. A fresh Email was sent to Dr Jim, confirming the payment. Soon, another mail landed, seeking another Rs 43,212 towards RBI fee. That too was deposited with disposal of landed properties. A third Email then sought another Rs 23.700 for payment to the money-transfer agent......and a stream of messages at regular intervals seeking more and more money. It looked never-ending.
The couple got exasperated. They discovered that they became poorer by over Rs 4 lacs with no sign of the promised ‘big money’. It was here they tried to get back the money they ‘invested’ so long in several instalments. The messages now ceased coming. Very hesitatingly, they reported the matter to the local police station, and then they realised having been cheated. They were told that theirs was not the lone case. Many were cheated this way earlier too. It now dawned at them that their greed for easy money has made them a willing victim to a group of cheats from Nigeria prowling for such fools. They have indeed been taken for a ride.
The above is a real story with names changed, dramatised to showcase how simple and gullible people are cheated in well-planned manner with the administration doing precious little to put effective stop to such loots. Many families have been financially ruined in their greed to get quick and easy money. The Police do succeed quite often in catching such swindlers, but the ‘business’ continues with little impact, as could be evident from the fact that the writer himself got three similar sms from different sources in just over a fortnight. Can we not do something effective to put a stop to these blatant robberies in the interest of our simple greedy brethren?