Taking Advantage

I always believe in the goodness of people, until they let me down. Time and time again, I have acted on faith and trusted someone to be what they outwardly appear to be. And time and time again, after complacency and comfort have settled in, they show their true colours. And break my trust.

It’s called many things:

Taking the Mickey
Taking the Piss
Exploitation
Use For One’s Own Ends
Abuse
Milk
Extort
Play on
Manipulate

With varying degrees, the meanings are the same: to use someone in a position of trust, to further one’s own motives, which could be for financial gain, social status or personal gratification.

I’m not the only person who has been at the receiving end of this. Scammers like to take advantage of the elderly and vulnerable groups, or of the very naive. There’s a sucker born every minute, is how these scammers think. So, those email scams purportedly from your Banking Institution/Internet Provider/Credit Card Company etc, sure some people can see through them quick as you like, but there will always be others who fall prey to those tricks.

Some people make a living out of taking advantage of others, lying and scamming their way in the world. So much so that sometimes their race becomes almost synonymous with their nefarious activities, and becomes a stereotype. Which is very sad for the general populace, who find that a social stigma now follows them wherever they are, and they now have to fight to refute that stereotyping.

Everyone knows the “Nigerian Inheritance Scam”, that’s been going round for decades now. Which still gets refreshed every now and then. A couple of years ago it was the “Indian Microsoft Scam”, with Indian callers pretending to be Microsoft technicians wanting to “help” with your computer viruses. Nowadays it goes under the guise of the “Indian Internet Disruption Scam”, where a caller from India rings your home number pretending to be from your internet provider, and claiming that your internet service will be disconnected for 15 days due to the activities of…wait for it…”hackers and scammers trying to get into your system”. Speaking about yourselves, eh ;)!

Then, there are the Mail Order Bride Scams. Traditionally from Eastern European countries, and formerly known as the “Russian Bride Scam”. Now it’s spread across the world, and covers countries such as Thailand and the Philippines.

These scammers are women (not necessarily in their first flush of youth) who go all out on Social Media to snag themselves a Man, in order to gain access to the country of their choice a la “Green Card”. It doesn’t matter if the man in question is single or married, as long as he’s Caucasian and is gainfully employed or self-employed, and can afford to become their “Honey”. One thing leads to another, and before the poor chappie realises it, he’s paid for the girl to fly over to visit him (and she’ll show him a good time, for sure, as it’s in her best interests to keep him satisfied, so he’ll get her that all-important Permanent Visa). Once she’s in, she’s hard to shake off.

I’ve read stories where the man breaks it off with the girl, only to be told she’s carrying his child. So, out of a misplaced sense of duty, he marries her quickly. And, just as quickly, she suddenly loses the baby. But I’m sure we can try again, honey. No, wait, don’t worry, honey, here’s a couple of children of mine you never knew about, shall we bring them over? Go on, it’ll be fun!

And once she’s in…so are her relatives. Either her entire family want a Visa too, or else their familial home back in their country will suddenly inexplicably catch fire/fall down/get demolished and make them homeless. So dear new hubby or boyfriend finds himself buying them a new house, out of the kindness of his heart.

She must come from a very unfortunate family, for soon after, a relative dies, and oh dear…the family can’t afford to pay for his funeral or the cemetery plot. Out come the begging hands again, and out comes that wallet again.

Oh no, now her mother has had a heart attack, and she can’t afford the hospital fees and medication. Or the operation. And not to forget prolonged hospitalisation, physiotherapy and perhaps even moving to a Convalescent Home. What? Hubby didn’t pay enough, and now poor Mother is dead and guess what, there’s another funeral to pay for. Plus, because Mother was a Family Elder, ALL her relatives would have to attend her funeral, and once again, of course They can’t afford it.

And on and on it goes. Taking Advantage and Milking the Cash Cow.

This may come across as harsh, and may indeed rub some feathers the wrong way. On the other hand, many of you will know exactly what I’m talking about, and would’ve been nodding along with my anecdote above. Of course I’m not saying that all Filipinos/Nigerians/Albanians/Croatians/etc are scammers, but because of the popularity of the game of Taking Advantage amongst them, I’ve learnt to become very wary whenever anyone from those countries communicates with me on Social Media. Especially when I don’t even know them.

I really don’t want to stereotype anyone at all, from any race or creed, but time and time again I’ve personally been proven wrong when I decided to take them at their word. And I know I speak for many others who have experienced this type of scam before. I must be too kindhearted, or just soft in the head. I figure it’s the latter.

How ironic! Just as I’m writing this post, my Facebook Messenger pings and guess what, it’s an Albanian lady wanting to be my “special friend”. I kid you not. (Why is it always the ladies and never the men, hmmm?)

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(Image source: Google Images. Fb.com/AwesomeQuotes4Eva)

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