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dogsbum
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Found this while researching about another thread.

It's a story about an Aussie granny who fed scammers for about 25 years. During this time she exposed relatives, patients and friends to the scam and they lost a fortune. Many lost their homes, business and are ruined.

It is utterly disgusting. And all the more disgusting because the 'granny' continues to feed these scum more victims even after being shown the whole thing is a lie.

WTF do we do in the face of such insane stupidity? 25 years and still feeding the arseholes more victims and more of her own 'money'? WTF

Aussie story is here.

And the scammer's favourite song "I go chop your dollar" is here. BTW the singer was later 'kidnapped' and then faces a fraud charge himself.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, I watched it all through. Appalling, yes. But I find it difficult to feel much empathy for such an incredibly stupid woman.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Victims are not stupid. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ I agree with Corona. This granny is in it for decades and like a nicotine addiction she can't let it go unless someone smashes her pc and locks her up in her own house. She's completely brainwashed by the lads and she believes everything they tell her. A warning from one of us would be like talking to a brick wall. Stupidity has nothing to do with this.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

University of Essex wrote:
  • a good background knowledge of the subject of a scam offer, such as experience of investments, may actually increase the risk of becoming a victim through 'over-confidence'
  • victims are not in general poor-decision makers, for example they may have successful business or professional careers, but tend to be unduly open to persuasion by others and less able to control their emotions
  • victims report that they put more cognitive effort into analysing scam content than non-victims.


Full report here: http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/consumer_protection/oft1070.pdf
Press Release here: http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2009/54-09

The singer is an actor. I Go Chop is the title song of the movie The Master, in which he stared. He was never arrested for fraud. He is on record condemning 419. There was an incident in Holland when an illegal police raid arrested people in the audience of a show he was performing in. Initial reports that said he was arrested were incorrect; heavy handed policemen did arrest his colleague, but seem to have released him without charge. I found one other unsourced web page that said he was about to be arrested. He hasn't been and that was two years ago. I would be interested if anyone can find credible reports linking him to 419, but so far as I can find out he is totally innocent of any wrong-doing.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

that's an astonishing story, and an amazing bust by the tv crew - major kudos to them!
was this mentioned in the uk press or in this forum? - if so i completely missed it.

about whether she is stupid or addicted, i don't think she can be described as 'addicted'.
surely a basic feature of any addiction is that the victim occasional gets a reward? like a chemical buzz or a win on the horses.
most smokers know that it will kill them, but they do it anyway because they get a chemical reward from each cigarette.
whereas the woman did not seem to accept that it was a scam, and she got no reward every time she paid money out.
i don't see how she can be described as addicted when she never gets any reward.

in the sense that she clearly left her critical faculties to one side when dealing with the scammers,
i'm struggling to find a better word than 'stupid'.
the video clip mentioned that she was involved in new age therapies,
which would fit the theory that she is not all there mentally.
never the less, she was once a successful businesswoman in real estate, so 'stupid' is too simplistic to describe her.

don't get me wrong though - many victims are not stupid.
scammers are persuasive and there will always be people who will find the story plausible when others wouldn't.
but what sets this woman apart is that she resisted all attempts to convince her it was a scam,
despite the overwhelming evidence and the total lack of any return to her ever.

very worrying is that so many of her friends and relatives all believed the scam story, and lent her money.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Let's face it. Some people are stupid, some aren't. If someone is stupid, it's very easy to believe scammers.

Don't get me wrong - they're still doing criminal activity, which is wrong.

But I would also say this lady is not stupid. I believe its kinda investment effect. She invested so much energy, time and money into them so she wont lose it just because someone says to drop it....

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

My ex-wife has a PhD, JD, two other graduate degrees. She IS stoopid.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I tend to liken victims like this to gambling addicts. The lady may have sent a small sum to a lad initially. The last 25 years have been spent trying to get back that first loss. The more she sends the less chance she has of letting go.

Lads know this. Get the first small payment out of a vic and you've got yourself a cash cow. Nobody wants to admit that they have been scammed. Sending more money is the way that you convince yourself that this isn't a scam and that you will get that money.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just watched the video, so sad to see and despite the fact that, it was
proven to her that she was being scammed i don't think that is the end of it...... Sad

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:23 am Reply with quoteBack to top

music man wrote:
I tend to liken victims like this to gambling addicts.

i did think of that as an analogy, but gambling addicts occasionally win something, whereas she didn't.

i agree with what you said, mm - maybe i'm just quibbling over whether her behaviour counts as addiction.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Is it just me or does the guy who gets busted in the Aussie Granny Scam look a hell of alot like the scammer in these series of videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-wFhy0ouzI&feature=related

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dogsbum
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This thread concerned an elderly Aussie woman who, (for 25 years onwards), repeatedly learned and saw first hand that she was dealing with criminals and was being ripped off severely but:
(a) continues to maintain her delusion
(b) attacked those who challenged her delusion including close family members who went to great lengths to help her
(c) and continues to feed fresh innocent victims to the criminals. She personally lost millions, dresses like a ‘bag lady’ and sleeps on an old massage table.

I have no idea how much her family, friends and clients lost. Given that many lost their homes and that this has been going on for 25 years, I suspect it must be a huge (staggering?) amount.

This single example of a colossal multinational scam leaves victims thick on the ground. We are unlikely to know how many of these victims committed suicide or
will do so. This very complicated situation is poorly served by quick judgments or doctrinal quotes / slogans.

My visceral reaction to this specific obscenity, was to pose a non-rhetorical question: "What (..) do we do in the face of such insane stupidity?"

General Eisenhower to soldier:
"Sarge, give me an assessment of the military situation."
Soldier: Sir, picture a doughnut. We're the hole."

It is not enough for me to learn the technical aspects of baiting but to understand the problem so that I might be better able to work towards solutions.
Scam baiting, fun though it is, is but one tool. We need many more tools.

"The beginning of wisdom is
    to desire it." (Ibn Gabirol)
    found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth." (Pierre Abelard)
    to call things by their right names.” (Chinese proverb often ascribed to Confucius)

So what are we looking at here?

A victim is someone who:
    "... suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.
    ... is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency:
    a victim of misplaced confidence; the victim of a swindler; a victim of an optical illusion."

The word "Stupid" means:
    "1. lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
    2. characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.
    3. tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.
    4. annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.
    5. in a state of stupor; stupefied: stupid from fatigue."

The word "insane" is notoriously difficult to define. Here is but one example:
    "1. not sane; not of sound mind; mentally deranged.
    2. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who is mentally deranged: insane actions; an insane asylum.
    3. utterly senseless: an insane plan."

I prefer a layman's working definition (often attributed to Einstein), given to me by a psychiatrist colleague:
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Thud, I too found the Exeter Report,( by Prof Stephen Lea - Head of School of Psychology, et al), and just finished studying it.
Excellent read but perhaps a tad long and technical in places for most (260 pages).
The executive summary is succinct and easily understood by most people.

I will resist the urge to discuss the report at length here, however this report (could not find anything else worth reading) is something we might want to
discuss soon.

Some of the report findings are worth noting in particular. For example, the authors found it counter-intuitive that scam victims had “... better than average
background knowledge of scam content.” To me this is not especially surprising at all when one looks at the scammer’s tactics / strategies from a
marketing mix perspective: product, price, promotion and placement. All scams offer victims something they want and or need badly:
emotional / financial / social 'X'.

They were surprised that “...scam victims report that they put more cognitive effort into analysing scam content than non-victims...”
But isn’t this part of the payoff (product) being sold by the scammers: the first psychological investment? The report’s analysis of victim assessment of
relative risk and reward was constrained by their methodology which did not account or include formal economic pricing strategies used by practitioners of
cost benefit analysis (eg Hedonic Pricing) and therefore under-estimated the victims reward to risk determination.

The authors go on to note what we see in the field: there are groups of scam vulnerable people who exhibit otherwise high social functioning. Victims and
potential victims fall along a continuum between those who are completely resistant to those most easily persuaded. The likelihood of someone being very easily
persuaded is greater when a person has concurrent psychopathology (certain mental illnesses, senility and or character flaws / eccentricities).

I was unable to determine if the DSM IV or ICD10 categorise serial scam victimisation as a disease per se.

Here at 419EATERS, we all laugh at lads who do the most bizarre things in their quest for the holy Western Onion payoff. Many of us, me included, ridicule them and
call them stupid. Maybe we should not do this so readily? Lads are undeniably successful as a group. Most successfully employ powerfully effective applied psychological
techniques to successfully sell al illusion. Arguably, lads are instinctive experts at game theory.
The lads we trick into doing silly things are exhibiting precisely the same behaviours as their victims and might share similar psychological characteristics in
common with their victims.

We can only hope such lads are more likely to fall prey to repeat baits although, given the nature of the criminal associations, they are more likely to be excluded.
Would we ever describe lads (especially baited lads) as greedy? Almost certainly. Is this fair? Who cares?

Some members (me included) suggest serial scam victimisation is analogous to addiction behaviours such as might be seen with crack addicts, alcoholics, tobacco smokers
but especially gambling addicts. This is probably overly simplistic. A smoker may not go on to become a crack addict. Although alcoholics might have a greater
propensity (statistically significant compared to background population) to do so. Gambling addicts are a subgroup worth studying because there are many areas
in common between the psychological mechanics of this behaviour and those of serial scam victims. (see any applied psychology text)

In the initial phase, when insight remains relatively intact, scam victims know that they are acting against their better judgment. For most serial scam victims
the battle is won or lost here because after a while they have invested so much into the scam that they are unable to withdraw without major external intervention.

We must acknowledge that someone highly predisposed to addiction but not exposed to a threshold trigger is not an active addict but an addict in waiting.
Similarly, without the scam trigger some people may never become serial scam victims but are none-the-less serial scam victims in waiting.

One wonders if there are close parallels between serial scam victims and Stockholm syndrome. In Stockholm syndrome “... hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors
that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims.” Primary serial victims continue to draw in others as secondary victims long after they must know that they have been scammed.
The report did not study secondary victimisation and so understates the problem significantly.

Secondary victimisation occurs when friends or relatives are co-opted by the primary victim in the scam. Secondary victimisation might have a lower threshold because
people are more likely (at least initially) to trust the judgment of the primary victim or more likely to ‘help’ the primary victim through well-meaning but misdirected
concern. Co-dependency probably plays a role albeit not well described as yet. Secondary victimisation is similar to a nuclear chain reaction which is stopped only when
fuel (money / assets / family / friends) is expended or when a dampening agent (the criminal justice system / external intervention) is introduced.

Given the increase in scamming activities and increased internet access worldwide, the inescapable issue is that we have not seen the iceberg at all ... just the tip.

Would it be fair to label long term tobacco smokers who develop lung cancer “stupid”? Yes if they knew about the link between lung cancer and smoking. Is it fair to
label chronic addicts as “stupid”? Arguably yes if they knew the consequences of drug addiction prior to their taking the first hit. But these labels are meaningless
to someone who has lost every shred of self respect, lost all material resources, alienated friends and family and perhaps may soon lose their life.

Time and again scammers describe victims as stupid and greedy. Time and time again, victims describe their actions as being stupid. Time and again, baiters argue that
victims are not stupid. This has almost become baiter dogma or doctrine. None of us like to be described as being stupid. It can be humiliating and is often
regarded as akin to being blamed for whatever befell us. Liking or disliking is irrelevant when we are discussing our choices.

People are not necessarily stupid, good, bad or God-like. People do stupid, bad, brave, compassionate, cruel 'things'. It is a behaviour that I am talking about and
not the person.

People, however, are responsible for their actions and the consequences that follow from them. It is a cornerstone of adult life. Only children are afforded the
luxury of innocence and even then, this acknowledgment is heavily conditional. Those with certain mental illnesses are another group who are socially excused
(to some extent) for what might otherwise be unacceptable behaviour and associated adverse consequences.

It is undeniable that drink driving is a stupid behaviour. It is undeniable that children are not to blame for the behaviour of paedophiles.
Is it as crystal clear for chronic serial scam victims? The moment a victim learns that they have been scammed but continues to participate in the scam as either
a sole primary victim or the more pervasive primary (‘Stockholm Syndrome”) victim who co-opts new secondary victims then that is precisely the moment that this
person’s behaviour is insanely stupid. By the time the victim comes to the attention of authorities, that label has no meaning at all other than to cause more harm
to people who are suffering terribly.

We live in a "Dr Phil" and "OPRAH" world where people seem increasingly keen to abrogate themselves from the personal responsibility of their choices, behaviour and
subsequent consequences: "My dad was mean to me", or "I was abused as a child" or "My parents were not rich enough". But should any of us shoots another then we will be
held to account. Some serial victims like this woman who has invested 25 years into the continuation of a scam, and who angrily resist all efforts to stop her behaviour
have something seriously wrong with them that is way, way beyond simple stupidity. They left the rest of us and are now in a world of deluded thought:
they are mentally ill. What useful purpose is ever served by marginalising the weak?

To my vastly more experienced eater colleagues, I respect your experience and your views about scammers and victims. Respectfully, I must disagree on some elements.
It does not help me at all to be told “victims are not stupid (period)” any more than it would if someone told me that the sky is green. I have a mind and can see for
myself. Doctrine and dogma is not knowledge.

I understand that it is very hard for victims to report being a victim of a scam. Are we making things better by pretending that their behaviour was not stupid when
most victims know this is not true at all? I doubt it. No matter how silly a behaviour might be, a victim is not stupid: victims need to be reminded of their strengths because, among other things,
it through their strengths that victims find their way to recovery.

There exists a middle ground: “Yes, what you did was stupid and you are not alone. Like MANY others, you were taken advantage of and fooled by organised criminals who are masters of their evil trade.
Learn from it by doing ...”

Perhaps my reaction is overly emotive. When we excuse inexcusable behaviour then we do no favours for those who behave poorly or those who suffer as a consequence.
People are never stupid ... sometimes their behaviour is incredibly stupid indeed.

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Exproba tuos pusiones saepe et quam saevissime!
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Miseria et tardum letium omnibus factoribus doli!
(Woe and a slow death to all scammer lads!)
(Thanks Otterfan for the Latin)

Last edited by dogsbum on Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Git R Dun
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:44 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Scam victims are NOT stupid!

They are usually in an extraordinary emotional state of mind, which the scammers play on to make a profit for themself.

Sort of like giving a little girl a lollipop in exchange for the keys to her parents´ home. She won´t understand what she is doing at that point, she sees the lollipop and doesn´t care about much else. And she won´t realize what is going on until it´s too late.

419 scammers are bottom-feeding low-life cheapo-trailer-park scum. Simple as that. They´re criminals, and need to be treated as such.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Git R Dun wrote:

419 scammers are bottom-feeding low-life cheapo-trailer-park scum. Simple as that. They´re criminals, and need to be treated as such.


And that's what I do.

Ok... let's put it this way. I've got a cousin, and let's say she is really stupid. I believe if she understood english she would believe scam. Does it make her smart? No. Does it make her more stoopid? No.

Let's face it, some people are stupid, some not. And some people may believe scammer and some may not. But if they're stupid, they more likely will believe.

I am not saying every victim is stupid. Hell no. I am just realistic.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Mortal wrote:

Let's face it, some people are stupid, some not. And some people may believe scammer and some may not. But if they're stupid, they more likely will believe.


If you´d replace the word "stupid" with "desperate", then I´d agree with you.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@dogsbum: Got rid of that writer's block, have you? Wink

My $0,02: Giving away 6 million over a period of 25 years would be regarded as incredibly stupid by any sane human being. Looking at these long term victims, however, you will see that this type will likely suffer from a personality disorder or some mental disease. You don't have to be a shrink to spot this in this documentary. I don't think it can be characterized as 'stupidity'.

I agree with Git R Dun: these scum vultures are about the lowest life form thinkable.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As some people know, I've been a scam victim. I'm not stupid. Far from it: my IQ is so high that it is almost embarrassing. Was my behaviour stupid? No. If it had been a true situation, then I would have been applauded for my actions. Was I stupid for believing it? No: the scammer was very good.

Some people are not so mentally adept. Some people are mentally ill, some people are mentally handicapped. And you know something, I want to protect those people too. I once witnessed an autistic child running straight towards a main road. Should I have called her 'stupid' and let her continue into the fast-moving traffic? No: I outran her and caught her. An alternative would have been to try and stop the traffic.

I want to stop the 'traffic' of scammers before they hit straight into the person who doesn't know that what they are doing is dangerous.

I'd like to stop people from running into the road. But if I can't do that, I'll try and prevent anything hitting them. I don't care about how high or low their IQ is, or in what ways their brains or mental processes are genetically messed up. Nor if they are as smart as me, but duped. It's all the same: accident prevention.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

well said, branwen. i like the analogy with the autistic child, and you've convinced me.

even people who feel little sympathy for the aussie woman in the tv documentary should have some sympathy for her relatives.
it is one thing to be scammed by a nigerian conman,
but it is something else to be sucked in by your mother, sister, aunt, grandma, whatever.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Seems to be a feature of long-running scams, the victim, having lost everything, begins to scam others on behalf of the lads, perhaps even spinning a yarn about some 'investment' to get friends and relatives into the trap. The mugus love it. Evil or Very Mad

The truth's so terrible, people shut it out, deny it at all costs. It's a self-protect mechanism, and it features with about every fraud victim you'll meet. Owning up to being taken for a mug, and accepting you and all the people you brought in are ruined isn't easy. We can only hope the 'diplomat' in that video has a fat bank account that can be seized, and at least some of the money recovered. I'd hope her family and friends get control of it though, and not her.

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thud419
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@dogsbum, fascinating and insightful. I would have to agree with you in just about all respects.

If we define insanity as being in a different reality to general society, then I would agree that serial/cronic victims are insane rather than stupid. They are behaving rationally in their own reference frame. But labeling them as insane is just as unhelpful as labeling them as stupid.

Quote:
“Yes, what you did was stupid and you are not alone. Like MANY others, you were taken advantage of and fooled by organised criminals who are masters of their evil trade.
True, but I think in context, unhelpful. Initially, victims need support, not condemnation, as they are likely to take such a statement. Once they are able to analyse their actions, then maybe that would be a reasonable position to take.

So yes, I agree that a victim's initial actions are stupid, and that they develop insanity as the scam progresses, but I don't think that either label is useful in either helping them or characterising the scam problem to the public.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well said Branwen.

Gin R Dun: Maybe you think something bad 'bout me, but don' take me wrong. I say yes - some people are desperate, in hard situation, etc. and they are able to believe anything which is good for them.

I am not saying like all the victims are stupid. But I am not saying all the victims are clever. That's all.

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devil_woman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ Well said Branwen, it is possible that those who call victims stupid, are themselves not very mature, or lack the imagination and/or experience to understand other people.

To them I say stop being so narrow minded. Victims are victims and deserve our respect as human beings.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes. I agree. No matter how stupid they are, or are not. They're human beings and scammers are criminals. Thats some "of course" passage I forgot to mention.stupid victims doesnt make them less criminal.

But as I said - Don't think anything wrong 'bout me. Im not bad person Embarassed Just sayin things the way they are.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ Like saying
Quote:
I say what I think.


But do you

Quote:
Think what you say.


But I am sure you are a nice boy. Laughing

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