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Mondays With Mullane ep27 - A World of Scams

Mainstream media generates many articles in print and TV current affairs regarding the thousands of scams operating in Australia and the world. We watch stories of people losing their life savings who are fooled by false romances, billing, identity theft, online shopping, hacking, investment scams, crypto scams, employment scams, the Australian Tax Office scams and phishing.

Millions of people are exposed to these scams. Often by sophisticated international criminals or clumsy amateurs. Over $3.1 billion in Australia was lost by fraud in 2023, with 18- to 24-year-olds being the most scammed. Maybe baby boomers are more intelligent or more experienced to detect bullshit.

Now, every day, we'll come across a scam. Facebook ads, Dick Smith incensed that scammers were using his image along with other famous people such as Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrester, plus TV personalities. Dick Smith stated, "Every ad on Facebook is fraudulent." How these Facebook ads could suck in any sane person is beyond my comprehension. Invest $350 to receive $3500 a week. Artificial intelligence even duplicates their voices.

Facebook, daily, I receive friend requests from young, scantily clad females. Well, the photo is, no details, nothing I delete. Some get through to messager. The person's profile is mainly an attractive female living in the USA. Their job description is 'Public Relations Executive for Samsung.' Their text starts, How are you doing? I hope you and your family are well. Have you heard about the Samsung gift? I saw your name on the list; there is $800,00 US for you; it will be delivered to you."

I detected a scam straight off. The spelling and grammar were atrocious, and I was addressed as Mr Daniel. I played along with false information to verify it was me. They request your driver's licence, address, date of birth, and bank details to deposit the money. I suspect, by the poor grasp of English, that it is most likely a Nigerian scammer or robot generated. The biggest crime is that Facebook doesn't police these fraudster criminals. The advertising revenue takes precedence over people protection. Other scam texts start with I saw your name on the list. Have you received your money yet? I mean, fair dinkum who could be fooled into believing that someone or a company organization gifts large amounts of money to random people. Unfortunately, plenty do.

We have all received emails telling us the parcel being delivered is short $4,95 in postage; pay this amount your parcel will be delivered. Then there is the free drill kit or kitchen whizz-bang, whatever. Spin the wheel. Lucky you have won a free super duper state-of-the-art kitchen magic whiz-bang contraption. Just pay postage and handling of $15,95. By only requesting small amounts, how many people have paid the amount and, through embarrassment or the fact the amount was so low, said nothing?

Many years ago, in Australian nationwide magazines 'Pix' and 'Post.' An ad appeared regularly. CUT YOUR ELECTRICITY BILL IN HALF. This simple-to-use gadget is guaranteed to half your electricity bill. The price is only $3. Thousands of people posted their $3 and received a pair of scissors in the mail.

I strongly suspect the international, more sophisticated hacking scams are perpetrated with the full blessing or look the other way from governments of dictatorships or third-world shitholes desperate for foreign revenue. India, Russia, and China allow scammers to operate with impunity. Electronic communications are used as bait to lure unsuspecting recipients into actions resulting in compromised information.

One thing the Indian phone calls do is provide my grandson and me with much enjoyment and laughter. A phone call by a female with an Australian or English accent rings you. They state they are from Pay Pal, a bank or the Visa Card fraud division, and $1980 has been debited against your Visa card for goods; if this is legitimate, press 2; if not, press 1. Then, a voice with an American accent says, "One moment, I'll transfer you to our fraud department."

This is when Gupta answers. Attempting  a stupid impression of an Australian accent, "Hi, mate Peter here." They say they can rectify the fraudulent transaction. They just need to verify your identity. Of course, if anyone is stupid enough to divulge their details, they realize their bank account has been cleared out.

Now, this is when we have fun. My grandson does the best fake Indian accent ever. He is brilliant, aged 12, "Oh my golly gosh, I will be forever grateful to you. Or he says I am so pleased you helped me; please let me send you some money personally. The little shit gives them false details and has got their bank details. We deposited a company a cheque that was wound up for $2000 from a bank account I closed down years ago and don't even bank with them.

Now, I have a different approach. I hear their spiel. Then I abuse the shit out of them. Insulting them personally and their country. Most recipients of this tirade of abuse hang up. Some go on the attack; their favourite line is, "You mother fucker, I'll fuck your mother." My reply was," So you are a necrophiliac." My wife criticizes me for being racist and abusive. My defence is these low-life scam bags take hard-working people's money. They deserve what I give them.

I genuinely feel great sympathy for the victims of these fraudsters who have no conscience nor realization of the harm they cause. However, some victims are their own worst enemy. How many times have we seen on a TV current affairs programme an elderly person the victim of a romance scam? I suspect from Nigerians, but it could be from anywhere. The mature person has sent thousands of dollars to someone they have foolishly fallen in love with via telephone and text messages.

The victims are invariably in their 60s. Most lonely women. Their genuine lover is sometimes 30 years younger; if a female, she is gorgeous. The males are young, handsome hunks—my question to these love forlorn victims. How in your wildest imagination did you possibly think that a person who looks like the photo provided could fall in love with a wrinkly, creaky old bag like you? Or a frail old impotent man, For fucks sake, get real. If you want love, visit a retirement village.

Governments and banks can do more. I'm sure. However, fraudsters always seem one step ahead—my tips for not becoming a victim. Banks rarely ever ring if you, they don't give a fuck. Don't give any information over the phone. And, of course, the old saying, 'If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.' If the caller is an Indian, establish they are a fraudster, hang up, or you have the right to abuse.

Establishing if they are fraudsters is relatively easy but essential. However, I once fucked up. I received a call from a young Indian female. Now, being old-fashioned with male callers, I use my extensive and varied vocabulary of profanities. With females, I revert to sarcasm and biting insults.

This young female Indian told me our site had been selected as a potential national fast-food outlet. Our property was on a main road with right-hand turn access and a corner site. My stupidity and prejudice engulfed me, beckoning my staff to listen to the conversation for a laugh. Me, "What are you going to open a curry shop with red spot specials."

The young lady remained composed and politely said she wouldn't further participate in the conversation. She then hung up. We all laughed, "Yeah, boss, you showed her she can't fool you." Two weeks later, I received a letter from the CEO of an international fast-food chain. The letter dripped with sarcasm, stating the date you spoke with our National Property Acquisition Manager, Miss Singh. We thank you for your time; this brief letter is to inform you we have no further interest in your property, having purchased a similar property down the road; again, we thank you for your time. Signed whatever CEO. They paid about $500,000 more than the property was worth.

My point is that not all Indians are scam artists, but most phone scam artists are Indians. India is spending billions on a project to land on the moon. They are running out of space for their rapidly increasing population. The first businesses established on the moon will be a 7/11 and a call centre.

I profusely and genuinely apologize for racial profiling anyone. There is good and evil in all people. My banter is taking the piss out of people without malice. Final advice: don't trust anyone.

Danny Mullane

Buy Danny's controversial memoir Car Dealers and Other (Honourable) Professions below.

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