Other Scams

Greek George Makronalli was 29 years old when he was invited to South Africa in 2006 to complete a lucrative deal with his new business allies. On arrival, his host supposedly took him round on a familiarization tour of infrastructures on ground for the smooth take off of their enterprising deal. At a particular point however, he suspected foul play when he noticed that many things were amiss in the deal. He tried to back out but his host won’t succumb, a situation which culminated in several bitter outbursts. George was overpowered, kidnapped, and murdered in cold blood, when his family failed to pay a stipulated ransom. This incidence sparked off INTERPOL investigations into the matter. George, however, is not the only one who had died after falling mugu (victim) of internet scams.

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In November 2003, Leslie Fountain, a senior technician at Anglia Polytechnic University in England, set himself on fire after falling victim to a scam; Mr. Fountain died of his injuries. In 2006, an American living in South Africa hanged himself in Togo after being defrauded by a Ghanaian 419 con man. In 2007, a Chinese student at the University of Nottingham killed herself after falling for a lottery scam. That’s not all.

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In February 2003, Ji?í Pasovský, a 72 year-old scam victim from the Czech Republic, shot and killed 50-year old Michael Lekara Wayid, an official at the Nigerian embassy in Prague, and injured another person, after the Nigerian Consul General explained he could not return $600,000 that Pasovský had lost to a Nigerian scammer. While death is usually at the extreme, the usual aftermath of successful scams are monetary losses.

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In the late 1800s, Western Union allowed telegraphic messages on its network to be sent to multiple destinations. The first recorded instance of a mass unsolicited commercial telegram started from May, 1864. Until the Great Depression of the 1930s, wealthy North American residents were deluged with nebulous investment offers. This problem never fully emerged in Europe to the degree that it did in the Americas, because telegraphy was regulated by national post offices in the European region.

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