People who have been in business for a while have almost certainly been exposed to fraudulent attempts to part them from their hard-earned money. Years ago, I used to get regular letters from human scum purporting to be the wife or child of some prematurely departed dignitary who had managed to accumulate millions of dollars of illicit funds. The money would invariably be stored somewhere where my help was necessary to gain access. All I had to do, to assure myself of a 10% to 15% cut of the money, was to help liberate the funds. Thousands, perhaps even millions of these letters would be sent out and someone always got sucked into the scam.
The first step might be that you would be required to send a small amount of money as a banking fee, or some other such nonsense, to start the wheels in motion. Once you were hooked, more money would be sought from you to deal with 'unforeseen complications.' By the time a person sucked into such a scam realized what had happened, he was out thousands of dollars and someone thousands of miles away was laughing at his folly.
No, I never got involved with anything like this. But many people did.
The same thing goes on today. It's easier, now, because with email everyone is potential prey. Perhaps you yourself have already been approached with one of these schemes.
How do you know when something is too good to be true? Very simple. Use the business maxim: "If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is," as your guide, even before you consider whether the process might be illegal and land you in jail, or merely unethical and spoil your sleep.
Why do people fall for this sort of nonsense? Greed. Something for nothing. Gain without pain. Foolishness.
Why do people attempt to perpetrate these schemes? Greed. Something for nothing. Gain without pain. Foolishness.
What am I saying? I'm saying that the victim is not much different than the predator. Each wishes to make financial gain without actual work or real effort. Neither seems to realize that if they expended as much energy doing real work they might actually be further ahead.
There is a certain cynicism in anyone who thinks ill enough of his fellow man to attempt to defraud him. I believe that it is a reflection of the predator's own self-loathing and low self-esteem. The same cynicism exists in the victim. He or she has no compunction about doing something unethical, or about the potential of enjoying millions of dollars which were extracted by scoundrels from government coffers (and therefore taxpayers) of poor countries like Nigeria. Again, predator and prey are no different. Both are lacking in scruples and ethics.
Why do people keep up these scams? Because they can. Because they have willing accomplices in all the fools who want to get rich quick.
I am currently playing along with someone who is trying to suck me into a similar scam. In order for me to gain funds to invest in my Panamanian venture, all I have to do, they say, is pay to liberate the money from an account inconveniently located in a country across the Atlantic. The sooner I send the money, the less it will cost me because additional fees are accruing daily.
I'll play along while it amuses me, but as I am a somewhat impatient man, that won't be for long. In the meantime, at least I am having some fun while I wait to see what new nonsense will follow.