I’m A Winner

I’d been working for a few hours, so the timing was good – I needed a break. The phone scam was new to me, so I played along.

The caller told me I had won $85,000 from some online gaming board. I should have been taking notes – much of what was said I didn’t retain. Including important details like the name of the organization that was gifting me this money.

It came as a complete surprise. I have never visited an online gaming site of any type. That may be because I am naturally cautious. It may be more respectable to call it gaming, but it remains gambling to me.

Gambling strikes me as a risky business to start with. My impression is that people who gamble tend to be those who can least afford to lose money. And you always lose money – that is why casinos are pofitable.

There’s also the desire to get something for nothing, reward without labor. We lazy humans (myself included) find that appealing. It is that hope that explains why someone will buy a lottery ticket, knowing the odds are 14 milllion to one against winning. We figure someone has to win, and it might as well be me.

It never is.

The occasional person might get lucky, but most gamblers lose. And if you gamble long enough you will definitely lose, no matter how lucky you are . The odds are always in the house’s favor.

Online strikes me as the wild west of gaming – no regulations, no controls, no assurances. My assumption would be the only winners are the people who run such sites. I avoid them, so there was no way I could be a winner on one. Despite the assurances over the phone.

There was just one thing i needed to do before receiving my winnings. I needed to pay a security processing fee so the bank could release the money to me. Does that sound suspicious?

I played along. Which means I played stupid. For me that isn’t too difficult.

I asked which bank. The person names a popular one. I said I had an account there, so the bank could just deduct the fee from my account. (I’d alread tried unsuccessfully to get it deducted from the prize.)

Apparently the system doesn’t work like that. The bank, I was told, had nothing to do with the money they were sending me. I pointed out there was a logical contrdiction- how can a bank issuing a cheque not have anything to do with that cheque?

There was no response. I think the scammers, who are betting on a combination of human greed and stupidity, really don’t know what to do when someone asks simple questions. They just stick to the script.

So I suggested the cheque be sent C.O.D. and I could pay the fee that way. Not possible. I asked why. I was told they could only do things the one way.

The reason seems pretty simple to me. Any of the ways I suggested had a drawback. If the $85,000 failed to arrive, I could get the fee back. And the scammers could be traced. Since there really was no money, my ideas fell on deaf ears.

I could really use that money. I’m sure you could too. But now I’m stuck. I didn’t get any contact information for the scammer, so I can’t call back and say I’ve changed my mind, I’ll pay the $250 processing fee to get my money.

Just kidding – I would never do that.

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