There is definitely something wrong with the phrase “the greatest fraud.” It is not only about the bitter oxymoron, but also about the very idea that a criminal mastermind wastes his/her incredible abilities on scams instead of something decent that makes one feel rather bitter. However, there is still the list of the world’s most famous frauds, and this is the case when knowledge is power, for learning more about the most daring frauds, one will be able to avoid being deceived in the future.
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To start with, the famous Ponzi scheme must be mentioned. Its features are very identifiable, yet, sadly enough, it works very efficiently, as the history of crime schemes has proven. It presupposes that the victim pays his money to invest into something for the sake of fast and incredibly high revenue. Needless to say, the swindler takes the money and runs away, leaving the investor broke.
Another notorious criminal plan, the Nigerian 419 is simple yet ingenious. Relying on people’s trust in the authority of the people whose reputation and wealth are more than impressive, the given type of frauds is quite widespread.
Peaking in the era when electronic mail appeared and spam was not known yet, the Nigerian 419 presupposed sending letters to people’s electronic addresses on behalf of a wealthy person asking for financial help and promising great revenues (Baines). Naturally, when one sent the money, they were never returned.
Finally, the Spanish prisoner fraud lands on the third spot in the list of the most efficient scam plans in the world history. The fraud tells the victim that a person who is extremely rich and has huge authority in his own country has been put into prison while being in disguise. Hence, the given person needs money to bail out without revealing his/her true identity. Taking the money which the victim gullibly gives away, the criminal vanishes without a trace (Adams and Smith 282).
Judging by the above-mentioned examples, one can suggest that there are several key features that most scams share. If taking the aforementioned issues as examples, it is important to single out three key elements that constitute the frauds dealt with above. To start with, the criminal has to either act presumably on behalf of a certain authority, or to pretend to be a person of authority, yet fail to provide evident proof for that.
The second feature of an obvious crime scheme is that the promised reward does not come and that more money is demanded for it. The third and the most important element of any crime scheme is that the criminal emphasizes that the victim is completely free to decide on whether to give the money or not, but subtly pressures the latter into paying, by either pretending to leave the victim without the offered fabulous profit.
Hence, it seems that, when taking the required measures and being cautious enough, one can avoid being deceived by a fraud. However, it is important to keep in mind that the above-mentioned schemes are not the only ones existing, and that, to keep one’s possessions safe, one has to be alert all the time. The above-mentioned does not mean going into the extremes of paranoia, but presupposes being reasonable and not too gullible.
Adams, Tyrone L. and Stephen A. Smith. Electronic Tribes: The Virtual Worlds of Geeks, Gamers, Shamans, and Scammers. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 2008. Print.
Baines, Gary. Nigerian Scams Revisited. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Publishers. 2003. Print.