Striking Gold

Gold-coinLife has its ups and downs but once in a while you get an offer that you just cannot refuse. You strike Gold! In my case quite literally. I was having lunch with my folks on a peaceful Sunday afternoon and I got a call on my mobile. The speaker said, he is from a remote part of Rajasthan and while digging some ruins for archaeological purposes they found gold. A good number of kilos. I don’t remember the exact number now. This was about a 5-6 years ago. But it was a good number. And now he had to give it to the government which is as per the law. So he proposed a solution, he could sell me the gold at almost half the market rates. I transfer the money and he ships the gold to my house.

Great deal, right? Except I am not a gold enthusiast and more importantly I could tell this was a scam, so I refused. The guy asked me to reconsider. He persisted and also lamented for I was letting go of such a fantastic opportunity.

Then I got talking to my Dad and it indeed was a scam! A thumb-rule that you can apply here, If something sounds too good to be true then it most probably is!! This is just one instance. There are many variations of this call. I plan to write a serious of these posts with the details of scams I have come across or have friends who have come across these instances.

Why is it that people fall for these scams? Well that one is easy. Easy money!! Easy money and the lure of a windfall. This one comes with an additional incentive of being able to screw the Government; Sone pe Suhaga(pun intended!). Irresistible package.

Now how to deal with these people:

Do NOT engage with them. I thought I am the smart one and just wanted to see how the caller responds so I did ask him a few questions on how he got my number, how is it that no one else knows about him finding the gold and the likes. He had an answer for all of them. He had anticipated these questions and had the answers handy. In hindsight, I should have just cut the call. Do not get into a conversation with these people. Just hang up.

Do NOT share any personal information whatsoever. And that includes even your name. It is not a big deal to find a bunch of phone numbers and the corresponding names. Especially not in our country with such lax regard for data privacy both by the Government and the individuals. So even if the caller is able to identify you and rattle off a few details of yours from some list do not fall for it.

Report scam. Actually I haven’t tried this one yet. If you get in touch with the police they should be able to direct you to the cyber crime cell. Registering for DND(Do Not Disturb)  to 1909 is something I have tried and works to a certain extent. You can also call 1909 which is toll free number and is a service offered by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India). If you are a frequent recipient of scam/spam calls and messages, there is also an android app “India against spam” which is an award winning app. Not sure if the other OSes have this app. Let me know in the comments if any of you are aware. This helps report the call/message with a single tap.

Last and the most important of all: Be skeptical, be aware of things happening around you and question people before you buy into anything. And remember there is no such thing as a easy money. Anything that you get easily gets squandered easily too. This cliched gyaan makes sense. Think about it!

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Stay Safe

Yesterday was one of the rare weekdays when I was home and the bell rang in the afternoon at around 2 pm. I was wondering who would have come at this hour and opened the door gingerly. There was a man standing who asked “Saab nahi hai?” A line that would work in almost all cases. All the houses have atleast one saab, no? He then said “The Saab” has asked him to do some repair work in the bathroom. For a second I was relieved that finally we managed to find a repairman for the pending work since weeks. But wait I hadn’t seen this repairman in any repairs that we had gotten done at our place and our owner clearly stated many times earlier our house problems while we are staying are our own and they can’t be of much help so he wont be sending any men for repair. Then it striked he was a conman!

On me saying I don’t know of any such repair to be done at our place, he tried many things like

  • I have come all the way from Alandi. Insert any far off place. It will work
  • Isn’t it A sir’s house. How difficult is it to get the owner’s name against the flat number from the society board
  • He then pretended to call the saab. Asked me if the number was starting with 987… Again common starting number for Pune numbers.
  • Fortunately I had the sense to not leave the door open and rush to get my cell and call.
  • He then asked me if the owner is from Rajasthan. I can guess that too from the surname.
  • And he finally left after that when I closed the door shut properly.
  • A call to our owner confirmed my suspicion

I thought he was a conman because this reminded me of a similar incident with my Mom when we were kids. My mom didn’t fall for this because my Dad has always been communicative. He would have informed my Mom for sure if she was to expect to any repairman.

Just the same day when I read the news in the evening I read of three people losing gold in Pune to gold-polishing conmen. The oldest trick in the book for stealing gold and yet people fall for it(just like the Nigerian scam).  Roof repair scams are pretty common too.

We need to be more careful who we let into our houses even if it is for repair. I know this sounds like a Savdhaan India/Crime Patrol tagline but I am going to saying it anyway

Stay Alert! Stay Safe!

Chain of events

Chain snatching is a common phenomenon in India. Indians are obsessed  with gold and what better way to make some quick money than snatch the gold chains from unsuspecting ladies walking down the street.

csNot only do these thieves snatch the chains but also harm the women. To avoid getting into such situations most women these days resort to artificial jewellery.

Recently when Me and my roomie were trading our chain snatching stories, we came across one where the guy snatched a chain went off on his bike. Very quickly he found out the chain was not real gold so he came back, threw the chain on the girl’s face and slapped her hard :O Talk about misplaced sense of entitlement.

Talking about  misplaced sense of entitlement, the one that takes the cake is MCPs who believe to rape is a man’s right . Check out the recent statement by Mulayam Singh Yadav on Shakti Mills rape case.

God save our country from such #idioticLeaders. Hopefully God is listening. In the meanwhile we can do our bit by voting responsibly in this elections.

Such leaders have snatched more than just gold chains during the last 60 years. Now time has come to act. Please Vote and vote responsibly!