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14 January 2011

Scammed!

Susan Erasmus did not buy a Power Balance bracelet, but she has lots of sympathy with people who did.

Susan Erasmus did not buy a Power Balance bracelet, but she has lots of sympathy with people who did.

It's a horrible feeling: you listen to the sales talk, you fall for it, you pay lots of money – and all you get in return is to be made fun of by your friends.

I've been scammed twice in my life: once by people offering to plant grass on my front lawn and once by one of those professional auction scams in Soho. Boy, can those touts spot an innocent young tourist at 50 metres!.

It took me a few days to realise that Buffalo grass doesn't grow from seeds (the cheque had been cashed almost before the ink on the signature was dry) and the Soho answering machine had so passed its sell-by-date – if it ever had one. It made all messages sound as if the callers were high on something definitely illegal..

It's so easy to get scammed. And the scammers are so good at parting people from their money. It all comes down to one basic thing: we want to believe there is an easy shortcut to achieving something we really want (perfect health, fitness, financial security, freedom from pain, a wrinkle-free face). Usually these things take time, money and effort to achieve, but if you're prepared to part with a small sum, there may be an easier way. Enter the scammer.

  • This is too good to be true (it is)
  • But it's been scientifically proven (by "Dr" Bonzo in his laboratory in Cloud Cuckooland)
  • If this works, it's cheap for the money (life can be such  a series of disappointments)
  • Let's try this out now. (Ouch!)
  • It hasn't worked, but I'm still hoping (this so was not cheap)
  • I want my money back (I hope the scammer goes to prison for 500 years)
  • My friends are laughing at me (live with it)

You haven't really lived until you've been scammed. It's good to learn in the primary school that you shouldn't believe everything you're told. At least then the worst things you can lose are your dignity, your marbles, and your lunch money. But fall for a scam when you're 65, and you could lose your pension.

 
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