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Still not rich

On Friday I got an official-looking letter with a Spanish postmark. My first thought was that some Spanish credit bureau was writing me a letter about the asshole(s) who stole my wallet in Barcelona, maybe including the precise length of the prison term they are currently serving. In actuality it was a letter from “El Gordo Loteria Primitiva” (Fattie’s Primitive Lottery) telling me that I had won $618,010.00 in a sweepstakes entered on my behalf by a promotions group in Madrid. Sweet! Just one catch (other than the fact that I didn’t enter any Spanish lotteries, being completely broke because of their native criminal population): “Due to mixed up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your nominated account, as this is a part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unwarranted taking advantage of this program by participants.” That sounds reasonable.

The funny thing was that although I recognized it as a scam right away, part of me desperately wanted to believe that I had actually won $618,010. I mean, somebody has to win it, right? Why shouldn’t it be me? Even after a search on Google turned up dozens upon dozens of fraud warnings, with examples of letters just like mine, I was still trying to find something in the letter that would mark it as legitimate. Basically, I really wanted that $618,010.

These people have quite a racket going. They send me a phony cashier’s check, which I deposit in my bank. Since I have a decent credit rating, my bank credits the amount to me immediately. Then I mail them their 10% claim agent’s fee – man, what a great job – and a few days later, my $618,000 is magically gone, since it was a bogus check to begin with. They still have my $60,000. I am screwed.

International postage is about 80 cents, so we’ll say that including hiring staff, supplies, etc. it costs them a dollar per letter to run their scam. This means only one out of every 60,000 letter recipients has to be stupid or greedy enough to fall for it in order for them to turn a profit. Given that 53% of Americans don’t know that it takes the Earth a year to revolve around the sun, I’m guessing their hit rate is a lot higher than 1 in 60,000.

Speaking of people being stupid, I found this page randomly the other day, and all I could think was, “Man, that is badass.”

Posted in Musings.


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