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 An ancestor of 419 scams

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Tururut
Elite Baiter


Joined: 13 Jun 2011
Posts: 1570
Location: Lost in translation


PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

In my country, Spain, there has been fo years a moral of "If you can make money without working, you're the man". In fact, scammers have traditionally been regarded as smart guys, and often looked at with a mixture of admiration and repulse, and usually victims are regarded as "greedy fools who deserve their ill-luck". Luckily this is starting to change, but I'm not here to rant about my country, but to explain something that looks like a clear ancestor of 419 scams: The uncle's tale (El cuento del tío.
Since not many years ago, Spain was a country that sent lots of migrants to Latin America; therefore it was not uncommon to have an uncle or distant relative in Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela...
The scam would run the following way: a guy dressed in black would approach you and tell you that his uncle, who was living in Latin America had died suddenly and left him a large sum of money [any bells ringing?] and that he had to collect it in Argentina, but did not have the money to travel there [Are you sure you don't know this tune?]. Then he said, that if you could borrow him the money for the ship (or plane) ticket, once he was back here, he'd return it to you plus a nice part of the inheritance.

Of course, there was only one payment involved, but a ship (or plane) ticket to Latin America could be equivalent to most of the savings of a working-class family.
This kind of scam lost most of its popularity in Spain after the sixties, but the expression "Cuento del tío" is still alive in Latin America as a rough sinonym of "scam".

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