So, lets assume that some lost uncle calls you from out of the blue, talks longer than he ever has spoken to you in his life and says 'Beti - there is this amazing scheme that someone showed me - in which you just invest Rs 11,000 upfront and then earn Rs 55,000 the first year.....blah blaaah blaaaah'
I am HOPING you will tell him that you were just stepping out of home and will call him 'later'.
Well, the tragedy of it all is that MOST people DONT hang up - they continue to talk and then call 'uncle' home to sign up for this 'scheme' !
SpeakAsia does not exemplify the innate fetish we have to succumb to all things greedy - it just reminds us of the scary phantoms of the past that included stock market scandals, rubber plantations schemes, and of course chit frauds of all kinds.
Why do we purposefully choose to act DUMB and earn financially misery?
- Probably because all along the massive struggle to make our daily bread, when some bright shiny rainbow of quick money peeps into our window, we immediately welcome it in, not knowing that what lies at the end of that rainbow is pot of snakes - not gold.
As a counter, what hurts me is that the men (usually who sign up for these foolish things) are so hard nosed in their day to day life and sweat blood to earn a decent livelihood - THEY are the ones fooled and mesmerized by ideas THEY should be the first to reject!
- Relatives and friends are whom we trust, and when they propose, we believe.
BUT unfortunately in this case, poor relatives and friends themselves are cheated into believing these schemes and hence do not have the wisdom to filter the fraud before passing it on.
We KNOW our friends and relatives and their intellect and their quailty of their judgements - usually visible by the quality of life they live themselves - so we must use that prism to look at their ideas NOT believe in what they say... I mean if Uncle has driven a scooter all his life, and is promising you a Rolls Royce....won't you find it hard to believe him?
- Fraudsters capitalize on what we feel we 'LOST' out on.
SpeakAsia in my belief made people play 'catch up' with the Internet. With so many success stories of fortunes being made on the Internet, lots of gullible folks probably thought 'yes - this is my chance' to climb onto the staircase to digital heaven..
Rubber Plantations were the rage 10 years back, and 'hot' stocks seem to be the vanilla flavor of poison that is perpetually consumed by all the commonest denominator of the gullible.
We MUST stick to what we know - old and traditional included!
As for the authorities and governments, what can be said? At one end they seem to micro manage PayPal to death (the global eBay owned payment gateway) and at the other end, they let people like SpeakAsia get away with what I would call 'atrocities against humankind'
In the end, if you volunteer and put your head in a shark's head (like I did below), then even God cannot save you...
From the wisdom I got from my grandpa: "When its too good to be true, it isnt."
But well there are enough fools and very less fraudsters :)