Re: Begging v Scaming
Hi Capt'n Jack
As you will be aware, my interest is in bring these criminals to book and I get a load of stuff from baiters every day covering the entire range of scams and sometimes other stuff which though apparently a scam is not illegal. If you receive a straightforward begging letter from someone who asks straight out for money without offering anything in return, that is not criminal - after all most 1st world charities do this every Christmas and some are less than ethical in the way they do it. Remember Chuggers! See Urban Dictionary: chuggers
It becomes criminal only if there is an intent to deceive - for example pretending to be a a charity looking after orphans and referring you to a fake or genuine (but unlinked) website to back up their claim. The problem here is separating the scammer from the genuine orphanage. Clearly if it is properly registered as a charity, there is no problem as long as you check to see the site is genuine and use an address on it through which to make your donation, but some third world countries do not have proper registration procedures. As this is a public forum, I do not want to help our friends in their nefarious activities, but if you "straight bait" for the first two or three e-mails, if may well become obvious that it is a scam. particularly if you research into the background. My rule of thumb here is not to apologise if I believe them to be genuine, but merely to drop them - they are, after all, guilty of spamming me! I would also add that if you really want to help children in need, far better to donate through a 1st world regulated charity rather than risk being ripped off by a scammer. In my view charity scammers are even worse than Romance Scammers (though they are pretty evil as well) in that their victims are perfectly happy to donate money to charitable causes and by stealing these donations, the scammer is actually targeting orphans in his own community.
Another area which is particularly difficult to make a decision is the "Fake Shop" Scam. Here the scammer sets up a website purporting to sell goods usually at a low price. Now it is legal in some jurisdictions to sell "copy goods" as long as you do not claim that they are genuine, so if the website is selling cheap copies, as long as it delivers something to you, it is not guilty of fraud, though it may be guilty of copyright infringement. However, if there is no intention to deliver anything, then it is fraudulent. Once again clever baiting and research will usually elicit enough information to establish whether the site is scamming or not, but, if in doubt, withdraw gracefully and report the site for probable copyright infringement to the manufacturer of the items being sold eg Nike etc. They will close down the website very quickly as they employ specialist teams to do just this. In this type of scam the only 100% way to prove it is a scam is to send money for the goods. If nothing arrives, it is a scam!