02 March, 2011

Scammers and the Gift of Sociopathy

Wifie has just been scammed by a company she got involved with online. It's an American company that ran a print ad in an Australian women's magazine offering a free trial of their product for the price of the postage. She paid the $7 postage with our credit card and the product duly arrived in the post. Then, when the credit card bill arrived, we saw the company had taken over $200 on top of the postage.

Wifie started emailing them demanding her money back. They ignored her. That was a month ago and we'd pretty much decided to let it go and write it down to experience. Then this month's credit card statement arrived and they'd done it again, taken another $200. This time Wifie spoke to the credit card company. (I had to speak to them too because Australian banks don't have the concept of joint and several liability on credit cards like everywhere else on the planet and our "joint" credit card is in my name!) She wanted them to block that particular company from ever drawing money from our account again.

You'd think this would be easy, since all they were ever authorised to draw was $7. But no. We had to cancel our credit card and start a new account. Can you believe that? So we now have no credit card and a wait of 10 business days before the new one is available!

The good news is that the bank hopes to be able to reimburse us the $400 we lost. I'm not sure why they would do that (unless there is an insurance included in our fees that I haven't noticed) but who am I to argue? Possibly it is because they feel guilty that they run a dodgy financial system where people with your credit card number can steal your money, but that would be strangely altruistic of them. As far as I can see, we got scammed and it's largely our own fault for trusting an unknown company with our credit card number. Maybe that's it? I suppose the banks want us to trust potential crooks, because then we will buy more stuff online. Well, it looks like another $400 may now have to be added to everybody's bank fees next year.

Nice smile, Mr. Madoff.
Wouldn't it be nice though, to be so completely heartless and soul-dead that you could just take other people's money if you felt like it? Wouldn't it be nice not to care about how much effort it took your victims to earn that money, how hard it had been for them to save the amout you stole, what they might have to go without because of your greed, or how upset they might feel because of what you did to them? I think sick, heartless bastards must be the happiest people in the world. Their brains, crippled by the lack of a normal conscience, are incapable of feeling all the usual concerns, the empathy and the compassion that bother the rest of us, leaving them able to laugh at and enjoy the unhappiness they cause. They don't even mind being despised, in all likelihood. What a gift sociopathy must be to these lucky people.

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