Saturday, April 21, 2007

Logic for once?

Once in a while, our government ministers show that they are still capable of thinking. It gives me hope that not everything happening in our country is a result of bumbling leaders. At times, it amazes me that we have some how managed to survive almost 50 yrs of 'merdeka' still mostly in one piece.

In light of the recent, media hyped, cases where people lost money to scams, the Deputy Internal Security Minister has come out to tell people to stop responding to the scams and they will die a natural death. He is right to say that "no amount of enforcement by his ministry could stop criminals from finding new ways to cheat the public."

That is true. No crime is committed until it's too late to take any action. All these silly 419-er schemes prey on the natural greed of man. They will usually offer a decent sum of money in return for personal information or some form of 'deposit' from the victim. Up until that point, no crime has been committed as it's just an email/letter that has been sent. There's nothing illegal about sending emails/letters.

Once the crime is committed, and the victims cheated of their money, the money is already gone. There is little that the police can do to hunt down these criminals as they are often working beyond our borders. So, like he says "these unscrupulous people are never short of tricks to dupe the gullible ones and these scams will keep on recurring but in different forms."

This reminds me of a 419-er that I had received before. It was a pretty interesting letter that I brought to the lab to show my lab mates and supervisor. They had sent me a letter with a Spanish postmark. It claims that I had won a Spanish lottery for the sum of over EUR 600,000. The curious part is that the letter was sent to my house address in college. I was curious as to how they got my house address because I'd never given it out before. They must've gotten it from the college electoral roll.

As the Minister said, "It boiled down to the people themselves who are greedy and wanted fast and easy money - a fact that con men exploited." That is oh so true. I wonder why these people do not remember the story of the dog and it's bone. There is no such thing as a free lunch in this world. What surprised me recently was the case of a college student in Malaysia losing almost RM 150,000 to such a scam. I pity the parents as it's fairly obvious that it's the parent's money that went down the drain.

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