Monday, September 08, 2008

P.E.S. Pity Evoking Scams by Asian Girls Online

A lot of American and other Western guys are taken in by Asian girl- scammers online and lose thousands of dollars a day. How do the scammers operate? It is quite simple- a beautiful girl on or on other sites sends you a love note (or you send one to her) and then an online relationship develops. The girl confesses her friendly feelings for you, and then, presents her sad story to you. She had to quit school because she had no money for tuition. If you could only help her and put her through school, or just pay some $300 for this semester and help her buy books and uniforms, she would be eternally grateful to you and be your girlfriend/wife/lover. This is of course seen as an excellent opportunity by some lonely guy to become a knight in shining armour and save the girls’ future while getting a gorgeous overseas lover in the process. So, guys send the money.
Such scammers know that a Western guy will be far more likely to pay for tuition than to help with other things because they know we value education and self reliance. Once the “tuition” is sent, it is promptly spent on her immediate family needs, good food, new cell phones, and to pay the family’s debts. The swindler is often doing this to several guys at the same time while pretending to go to school to complete her studies.
Then, she would tell the guy that there was a sickness in the family and she had to spend her tuition on ambulance and hospital bills for her mother who had suddenly collapsed on the floor and is now in an intensive care unit. Now she needs the tuition payment once more. You will be surprised how many guys will be impressed by the story and send money yet again. If she is ever asked to present a copy of the hospital bill, she, of course, will not be able to do that – sorry, it’s been lost- and your communication will come to a halt.
Some of the biggest scammers are web cam “models” who chat for money and provide “special shows” to foreign customers online. These will often complain about how much they hate their “jobs” (which are illegal in their country, anyway) and how much they would love to go back home to their province. If someone could only help them with the bus/boat ticket (the fare will be greatly exaggerated) and also buy a cell phone so that they could call home, buy how happy they would be. Guys help. How can they not save a beautiful young lady from the life of vice with some $200 or less? The lady pockets the money and continues “working the cams” without going home at all. All she has to do now is to wait for another simpleton, tell him the same sob story about how much she wants to go home and just keep making her money by ripping yet another sucker off. How simple and what ingenuity! In the West, scammers prey on people’s greed; in the East, they prey on people’s pity and compassion. The latter hurts much more, in my opinion. We were taught not to be greedy, but we were never taught not to be kind.
Some rip off artists ask for money to cover expenses related to finding a job. In their country, they need police clearances, medical clearances, photographs and neighbourhood references in order to be able to apply for jobs. So, they ask you for money to get those. Again, they know that while a Western man will not be disposed to help their families directly or buy luxuries for them, many guys will send money if the ladies need it to get on their own two feet. There is no job, though, and no expenses to be met, as the lady is not even planning to find one. She will go shopping for a new dress or buy something good for her family. She has hit the jackpot, and it is you.
Other scams include such despicable things as faking one’s parents’ death and asking money for the funerals, and to tide herself over the next month or so until she can “get a job”. When money is sent to cover such a “tragedy”, the whole family celebrates by taking vacations, buying meals and possibly even throwing parties.
Sometimes, a cell phone is “ lost “or “stolen” (which is not true) – they just got tired of the model and want a better one, so they lie. They probably gave the old one to their brother, too.
On other occasions, the girls say that they have been robbed on the way home from work and their whole salary was taken by a thief or a hoodlum. Please send money – I have no money to pay rent. But she does.
In addition to outright scams, there are also semi-scams, and I do not know which ones are more unethical or more painful upon discovery. A semi- scam is based on exaggeration, and is also quite common. Here is how it works- some girls’ have a legitimate need- maybe, to pay a debt or, maybe, tuition or a registration fee. Well, they will overinflate the actual amount that they need to spend on those. If they need to pay 3000 pesos only, they will ask for 7000 and use the difference to buy luxuries, dresses and other such things, but more often than not, to help their enormous families. You will find quite normal people, friends and legitimate girlfriends from religious families who will not hesitate to take you for a ride that way.
If you refuse to send money at any point, there are three commons strategies that the scammers will employ:1) They will pretend to be someone else- an uncle or an aunt and send an SMS like this: “ Hello, I am Juan, Juvelyn’s uncle. Juvelyn needs your help. She has a serious infection and is in a hospital now. She has no money to pay the bills. Please help her”. You will notice though that it is the same girl typing because of the same “handwriting” – the same abbreviations are used, the same idiosyncrasies of capitalizations and style. So easy to spot if you do not let your profound compassion to stand on the way of common sense.2) You will receive a text from her friend (if you know one) telling her that her (the friend’s) baby is sick and that she needs to go back to the province. She will even provide the number to call her (your other friend) and her voice will be faked by the first girl. Money will be requested to help the infirm child but there is one problem, though- the girl has no ID to claim the money- would you kindly send it to Oscar Gomez who is, by the way, the first girl’s uncle.3) There will be threats of suicide, of the girl going to work as a prostitute, of hunger and starvation coming in the future, homelessness and death and prison for her- anything to soften up your heart and make you part with your hard-earned money.
Pity -Evoking Scams are, unfortunately, a common occurrence in online and offline communications with SE Asian ladies, so be extremely cautious. Do not send anything without seeing a scanned invoice first. Ask them to send you the name and number of the school she is going to so you could call and verify. Check the number on the internet if possible. Ask for receipts and police reports. But even these measures do not guarantee that they will not fake the documents.
There are just as many legitimate ladies who need help out there, and the flim-flam girls make all such people look bad. So, in any case, ask for documents and invoices and those people who can produce them, will most probably be legit but even then, ask around and thoroughly research. You can never be free from risks when you help people that you have never met in person, but you can significantly reduce them if you are especially thorough and careful.
Caveat Amator- Let the Lover Beware.

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