Who Wants To Be a Star?

The ingredients of a swindle

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A group of people from a popular television show approach a girl at an airport and ask her if she would like to appear on air. They tell her that she will be involved in a comedy-like prank and spray with perfume a guy who will be passing by. Moved by the allure of gaining fame, the girl agrees and executes the prank. But the group was in fact not from a TV show and the spray is actually poison. The victim after being sprayed died within an hour. And the girl was arrested for murder. This is the true story of Aisyah of Malaysia.

We find stories like this to be incredible. We often react this way because at the back of our minds we believe that something like this could never happen to us and only unthinking, gullible and ignorant people would fall prey to such machinations. Yet we often hear about individuals who have been victimized by so-called budol budol and similar groups. And even after hearing the details of how the victims were swindled, we still fail to accept how they could entrust their money to total strangers.

A warm smile, use of an empathic tone, sharing an emotional story, trust freely given by the stranger to the innocent victim and an apparent urgency are some of the more common elements of a swindle. It usually takes a complicated and somewhat lengthy process. And swindlers will identify those most likely to be manipulated.

And if this is the case, what should concern us is whether we are among those who appear to be likely victims of a swindle. Trusting easily and being a people-pleaser are potentially among the traits that make individuals prone to swindlers. If we do not wish to be victims, we should ask ourselves whether we are too trusting. And do we tend to please the people around us? And if so, we may need to approach each conversation with cautious suspicion especially whenever a stranger talks to us.

See the story of Aisyah on: businessinsider.com


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