Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!

The birth of Scammers I - Real life Vs. The Virtual

The birth of Scammers I - Real life Vs. The Virtual

Date: Dec 01 2007

Topic: Reading

Author: Lesmundo2003


Written as a way of talking - a conversation included.

(To follow - The birth of Scammers II - The Virtual)

The word scam is an old word, to mean, a dishonest scheme. There are many uses for this word that we have heard before:

i)  an insurance scam - a fraudulent deception to gain money from an insurance company

ii) a market place distraction scam

The latter (ii) is a scheme that creates a large crowd first. With someone doing card tricks or even a person faking an injury. As many people gather, a sneaky dishonest person with light fingers, will walk amongst the innocent people & pick their pockets & purses. Steal their money with careful precise use of their fingers, body movements & facial expressions to blend in with the rest of those innocent people.

Sometimes only one person is 'the mark' - the target victim. Maybe this person was seen getting money from the bank or paid for something & then allowed others to see where their wallet was placed on their body.

As the internet entered our lives more, we made ourselves to be the new marks with our inexperience in this new medium. We show a certain trusting to strangers that we would not show to real life strangers & so allow dishonest people to take advantage of us. The least amount of trouble can be hurt feelings on our part or at worst, we lose money & maybe even put ourselves at personal risk of physical damage. With this new scenario, the word scam evolved into the word 'scammer' & a new breed of criminal was born.

There are many scams on the internet & in part 2, I will concentrate more on romance scams, my own personal niggle at the moment. 

For 17 years, I had love in my life with a someone special. We never married because she didn't want to. When we split, I found as the single man, my personal 'self' returning as I was no longer part of the other person. After 2 years, although I wasn't lonely for friends, I was missing the feeling of being in love with 'a someone special'. This is probably the story of many that look into internet dating. The internet offers us a wider choice than the people we see around us everyday. I'm not someone who drinks a lot & so therefore am not interested in the pub & club scene. I'm in a country with many beautiful women, but I want to make a life change & go & live in another country, so I think it would be unfair to create love in a person that I would eventually have to leave.

Well, that is the short version of my decision to use the internet to find friends & that someone special. Before, using this method, was seen by some as a place where only desperate people go to meet other desperate people. From that idea, scammers thought of us as marks.

I'm a Londoner, born & bred. I've seen many scams as I grew up & thankfully, was only involved in one such scheme. I was tracked & then mugged at knifepoint. For two years afterwards, I was scared of anyone that approached me & even had a sharp metal cased pen up my sleeve, ready to stab someone in the neck, if they tried anything. Fear does that. Creates a mindset that is totally illogical. I was 23 years old, when I was mugged by two men that approached me & another, that was their back-up. My Mum told me to say good-bye to my bad luck as I said good-bye to my processions. A good old Irish outlook on life.

In Madrid recently, I allowed myself to be taken in, as I was sure it was less dangerous than arguing with the person. I had stayed in the city for a short holiday & was packing the car with my bits. My car was parked in a street where the cars were not parked bumper to bumper, but at an angle to the pavement. The bonnet was facing the kerb & the back door of the hatchback opened to the street. I made several trips back & forth, opening & closing, exposing the inner section of the car for all to see. I was aware of that & a wee bit cautious, but I felt safe in these surroundings, because it was not a quiet street. There were many people passing in this residential area & there were also some shops down the way.

With my third trip to my Toyota Yaris, I was approached by a not so well dressed individual. Not tramp-like, but just shabby. He walked along the pavement & caught my eye, as I was grabbing things off my trolley. He came over, with recognition on his face. The following conversation was in Spanish & sometimes to get rid of the people quickly, questionnaire hunters etc, I pretend not to speak the lingo so well. Unfortunately, in this instance, it didn't work.

Man: "Hello! I know you, don't I?"

Me: "errr, I don't think so"

Man: "Yes! You came to my work place"

Me: "Really?"

That was a possibility. I do visit shops a lot as a way of talking to people. Actually for practising any language in the foreign country, this is a good method. You go into shops of the same type & ask for different things. You get the direct reaction from the people of what you say. Then you can try again & again with similar shops. It also gives you more confidence as you don't have to worry about embarrassing yourself in front of these people. You will probably never see them again, so what do you care what they think of you?

Back to the story. I allowed my body language & facial emotion to show him, a way in. A show of innocence on my part. With my car open, I feared for my safety & my processions.

Man: "Yes, I work in Kruma. I'm Antonio"

Me: "The Toyota showroom?"

Man: "Yes, I saw you waiting for your new car. This was it, yes?"

Me: "Yep - this is my baby"

We both smiled at the same time as we looked at the car. I shut the door as the last item was thrown in. I do mean 'thrown in'. Locked it & fastened the key ring to the belt eyelet of my jeans & inserted the keys into a pocket. I deliberately showed him a heightened caution.

Man: "So, do you live in this neighbourhood?"

Me: "Sort of, but have got some free time & have to delivery some stuff for a friend"

Ok, I lied, but better for him to think that I knew this area well. Could not show a total innocence.

Me: "And you? Do you live around here too?", said in a more relaxed friendly tone.

Man: "Not me, but my parents do. Actually I just doing some shopping for them before the shops close"

I could sense a build-up to a story where he would ask for money. The Americans would call this sense, "being street-wise".

Me: "Then you better hurry, caz you only have half an hour"

Man: "Yeah, I was on the way back to my parents to get some more money. I don't think I have enough, but if I go, maybe the shop will be closed"

My sarcastic thoughts were that in this case, he shouldn't be wasting his time talking to me. I said nothing. I was wrapping the straps on my trolley. I pretended not to hear & I suddenly said:

Me: "so, how did you recognise me? You must see thousands of people & my car is a couple of years old now."

Man: "You are tall, the glasses, ponytail & we don't get many English people there"

Me: "ahhh, I see"

He was good. Very calm & collected.

Me: "Ahhh, are you one of the mechanics or one of the assistants in Kruma?"

Man: "err ... I'm one of the mechanics"

Me: "Then maybe you could help me with this. Sometimes my back light flickers"

Ok, another white lie on my part.

Man: "errr ... well, I'm not ...."

Me: "it's just that as I'm travelling, I don't want the police to pull me over"

Man: "best thing for you to do, is bring it in for us to look at on Monday"

Me: "well, I won't be around on Monday, but maybe the following week"

Man: "yeah, ok. I will around whenever"

Me: "oh, you know I have been in many Kruma's. Which branch are you located at?"

Man: "The one where you picked up the car"

Me: "Yeah right, but what is the exact address of that? I've a terrible memory for where it was. Way out of the way from everything. Following the map was difficult. Maybe you could tell me a better route."

Man: "errr, listen. I have to rush off. The shops, you know"

Me: "ohh yeah, sorry. Didn't mean to hold you up"

Man: "maybe you could lend me a fiver (€5) & when you come into the showroom, I could give it back to you."

Me: "oh dear, I don't have €5. My wallet is still upstairs. All I have is nearly €2, as I counted my change. Is this enough?"

Man: "Ok, I hope so. Thanks"

Me: "See you. Hope you get lucky with the shops"

He ran off. I considered myself lucky to only lose €2.

How strange, to meet someone from my car company? How could he have known that?

Well, I was making a few trips up & down to the car. I could be seen by anyone & everyone. Say when I went upstairs again, someone approached the car. Observed all the markings, even the back part that has the dealership's mark - 'Kruma' printed under the word 'Yaris'.

A simple scam with the old idea that works on a little bit of knowledge & the trusting nature of us all. Throw in a little caution & it actually can work to their advantage.

As this is so long & I need a rest, part 2 will follow in a week or so.

Feel free to ask about words & sayings that I've use. Too many to put in a list now.

Have a nice weekend & be careful out there  :-)



Log in to Comment




Ahhh Jin,

Don't worry – it's the thought that counts, so thanks for that thought  :))

Plus thanks for the review – "awesome" :))  I'm gonna end up with a big head – hehe

My style of writing comes from my television & theatre days (operator & tech, not actor), so I tend to write in the same way as I speak. It also makes for an easy read. Glad you liked it  :-))



11:44 AM Jan 08 2008 |

Jin Ju

Jin Ju


I'm very sorry, i wanted to click 5 stars! ,,cuz the lesson is great!!!! If u can,plz erase my voting, i did it by mistake!!!

03:27 PM Jan 05 2008 |

Jin Ju

Jin Ju


oh, i’m sorry, i clicked 1 star,,i intended to click 5 stars,,how can i change it?

03:21 PM Jan 05 2008 |

Jin Ju

Jin Ju


Wow,,,awesome article,,i learned lots of new words~!!! Your style of writing is fantastic, and the information in this article is very useful!!! Thank you very much for posting lessons!!!


03:16 PM Jan 05 2008 |



Ask me whatever you need  :-)

12:36 PM Dec 22 2007 |




I knoe you have  part of the passage ,but I don't know what other words mean .My English is poor,I am sorry.

07:54 AM Dec 16 2007 |



You are welcome.

The second part has been put into my blog.

A good read, informative, but lacking in lesson content.

Some slant used.

The birth of Scammers II – The Virtual (in my blog)

11:54 AM Dec 14 2007 |




I see,thank you .

08:35 AM Dec 13 2007 |



• "niggle" is something that causes a slight annoyance.

Or can also cause discomfort or slight anxiety.

Another example – my old car had a few niggles, but I had to live with it. I had no other choice.

Beautiful autumn pic, by the way  :-)

06:17 PM Dec 08 2007 |




 what's niggle ?

07:17 AM Dec 08 2007 |

Likes (2):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast