Monday, May 10, 2010

A Warning For Speculators

At a certain level, there's little difference between one kind of crook and the other. Witness the Thai practice of "gold fishing," which depends upon the victim's combination of greed and gullibility:
First, the gang members choose an area where they can escape easily if a victim discovers their con and cries for help. Next, they look for their target - anyone wearing gold jewellery, from necklaces to rings.

The last step is what Pol Col Sanit categorises as "street play".

A gang member approaches a victim while a second gang member drops a fake golden ornament nearby, which looks higher in value than that of the real jewellery worn by the victim.

The thief, who stays with the victim, points to the fake item and acts as if the pair of them have found it together.

He will suggest this lucky find should be shared between them.

Amid the confusion, Pol Col Sanit said, another gang member will dash in and propose an idea that will allow both to benefit from the find.

The victim will be told to give her jewellery to her new "friend" in exchange for the larger piece they have found on the ground.

The gang member who has befriended the victim will first appear reluctant, but agrees with the suggestion "to save time".

"If a fake gold necklace has [an apparent] value of five baht and the victim's is worth two baht, they will suggest the victim take the fake one," said Pol Col Sanit.

"And then they wait for the victim's greed to kick in."

Many victims agree to hand over their own jewellery in return for the item which they believe they have found by accident.

Pol Col Sanit said the victims become aware they have been deceived when they go to sell the fake item at a gold shop. But by then it's too late....

It's a sad fact that the perfect con is one that casts the victim as an accomplice. The parallels to crooked penny-stock promoters should be evident.

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