Sunday, March 06, 2005

Beware of Geeks Bearing Grifts

~ The advice has been given to us for most of our lives. We have all heard them at one time or another. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There's a sucker born every minute. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Don't forget caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).
~ Those pieces of advice have served us well over the years. This is a new millennium, we're now in the twenty-first century. The people about whom the old warnings were directed, have become more sophisticated. They have made the transition using new technologies to a new age of scamming.
~ The early warning signs were there, but we paid little attention to them. They knew we wouldn't. Their first foray into modern sting operations was the infomercial. The money that they fronted to the television stations was in short time returned several fold. It only took a few casts into the waters of viewership to reel in enough fish to realize a profit. The money back guarantees were duly paid out, but only a small percentage of the unsatisfied customers ever bothered to return their purchases. Few could be bothered with the hassle of preparing these items to be returned. Indeed, some of the items, especially the various supplemental pills for memory, enhanced sexual performance, etc., cannot be return via the postal system. Federal laws powered by homeland security measures make it impossible to ship medicines and food stuffs, that is impossible unless you are the manufacturer or distributor. It seems that our free enterprise system pulls more weight than homeland security.
~ After making a bundle, some of these companies fold up and disappear or go into dormancy. You can tell people until you are blue in the face that these products do not work the way they do in the ads, if they work at all. Still they will spend their money to improve their memory, increase their sexual prowess, or grow new hair. The influence of television is strong, for if they see it there, these products must be legitimate.
~ That was then, this is now and they have newer and better methods to get into our pockets and bank accounts. They use e-mails to send the spam that floods your mail boxes. That same spam that you have to sort through to read mail from your friends and family. First of all if these drugs actually worked, they would be lining the shelves of stores and pharmacies everywhere. Since they are not FDA approved, they must clog your e-mail boxes instead knowing they will get some bites from the too many fish in the sea.
~ Spam blockers, pop-up blockers, and spyware detectors are available to protect us from these cons. Yet for everyone of us who do ignore these ads, there will always be someone who will buy into it hook, line and sinker. The methods of scamming have improved with the technology, but the goals differ little as they try to bilk us for every dime possible. The advice, however that should be heeded is the same and just as effective.
~ If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't be one of the suckers born every minute. Practice well; buyer beware. Remember, we don't need those Trojan Horse gifts whether Greeks are bearing them or not.
~ Take my new age advice: beware of geeks bearing grifts!

No comments: