Thursday, 21 April 2011

An epidemic

Not HIV/AIDS, not high blood pressure, heart disease or even the greatest threat to a country, unemployment.

No, we’re facing an epidemic of cheats, scammers, frauds, charlatans and low-down lying vermin. They’re everywhere you turn. They’re in the newspapers, the internet, billboards on the streets and on the phone and TV. If we don’t develop a national immunity and resistance to these vermin soon they’ll be the financial death of us all.

I heard from a reader this week who was considering studying for a degree from UNISA. However he’d just heard of an online service called “Universal Degrees” who offered him a degree in 15 days if he just gave them a wad of cash. I checked and this is indeed true. All you need to give them is $1,576 and they’ll supply you with a Bachelors, Masters AND a doctorate, all within 15 days. What’s more they’ll even backdate the lower degrees to make the package look more convincing.

None of their degrees require any previous qualifications or real experience. Just by suggesting that I was prepared to pay for it I was offered their combination degree package in Nursing and when I asked if this would allow me to get a job in nursing I was told “Yes 100%”. That’s enough for me. These cheating, scamming slug-slime know full well that unqualified people plan to use their stupid, fake qualifications to get jobs in areas where real qualifications actually matter. If just one person in the world gets a senior nursing position with one of their joke degrees then Universal Degrees and their fake “Corllins University” each deserve a community smack in the face. The law can deal with them afterwards.

Then I saw an advertisement in a newspaper for a forthcoming “Easter Convention” which will be hosted by “Prophet Thuso”, ably assisted by Pastor Ebenezer and Apostle Mbulawa. Their advertisement made this rather bold and possibly illegal promise:
“The sick will be healed”
Now that’s just asking for trouble. I SMSed Pastor Thuso and asked him (or his acolytes) what diseases he promised to heal. His reply, 5 minutes later, was simple: “All diseases including AIDS”. My friend Thuso is on very dangerous ground. Offering cures for AIDS is illegal, as is offering cures for cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Maybe he shouldn’t have offered to cure them as well? Apparently all I have to do to get these cures is “blv that God can do it”. Unfortunately for Thuso the law makes no provision for supernatural intervention. If you claim you can cure disease you need to be able to explain yourself.

Despite what some people might say I have no problem with people having religious belief. It’s their business, not mine, but it becomes my business when charlatans are making promises to my brothers and sisters that they can perform impossible miracles. It’s my business when the health of my family, neighbours and friends is threatened by false promises.

Another reader got in touch and asked “I have been receiving predictions from the psychic medium Tara. I want to know if she is legit or a scam?”

Let’s go through this one step at a time. Psychic powers don’t exist. If they did someone would have claimed the $1,000,000 prize from the James Randi Educational Forum, which offers the money to anyone who can prove that they have supernatural or paranormal powers. So far not a single person has passed even the simplest of tests to prove their psychic claims. So I think we can assume “Tara” is not genuine.

Then you have to ask yourself why these fake psychics aren’t doing some good in the world like predicting earthquakes and tsunamis (nobody ever does BEFORE these disasters happen, they just claim to have done so afterwards). Or why aren’t they winning national lotteries and giving the money to charity?

The reason is, of course, that they, like all psychics, are fakes and charlatans.

So-called Tara, like most online psychics isn’t even a human being, she’s a work of fiction. They are no more than computerised generators of text, assembled from standard sentences that are assembled randomly to make a “unique” reading for each sucker that coughs up their credit card details. You can rest assured that none will predict that you’ll have a car accident or that your auntie will die next Tuesday.

In September last year we warned people about yet another fake awards ceremony calling itself the "World Quality Commitment Convention". Unfortunately they’re back again.

The two key pieces of evidence that this is a scam were firstly that they invited a company who had never even traded to receive an award and secondly that they wanted cash up front. Last year they wanted €3,700 (about P30,000), this year they've gone up to €3,800. That's BEFORE you cough up money for flights, hotels, booze and fun.

Well, they're back, enticing people with promises of celebration, fame and fortune. But this also is a scam.

Please don't fall victim to fake awards schemes. You'll get a worthless, totally unrecognised piece of paper, a silly ornament for your corporate mantelpiece and lose a huge amount of money in travel, accommodation and embarrassment.

Frankly I sometimes feel that I’ve had enough of these lying scumbags stealing our money from us with their liars and cheating. Surely the time has come for us to stop sitting back and allowing ourselves to be taken in by these crooks? Isn’t it time we stood up and told them where they can stick their scams?

This week’s stars
  • Beatrice and Kgomotso at Botswana Savings Bank for being extremely helpful and considerate.
  • Albert at Air Botswana for “being brilliant”.

1 comment:

365 cups of coffee said...

Yeah. Where will all this end...
It goes without saying that its the poor who always end up paying the most in the long run.... Keep up the good work Richard. Thanks.