It isn't for nothing that besides being a favourite testing ground for connoisseurs of the latest brand of liquor in the whole country, Goa seems to be finding itself to be a lucrative destination for thieves, rogues, cheats and bandits. All these characters prowling in Goa and from outside it are however neat white collared men and women who have discovered that Goans can be taken for a ride faster than their brethren in the rest of the country.
So if the 10 rupee gang which distracts you with notes stashed at your mercy at the front of your feet and keeps you busy collecting them while they gobble your belongings- does not find you, you will be found by numerous others in the guise of good samaritans who are busy devising their next strategy to relieve Goans of their possessions. Banks, ATM stations, stores, bus-stops and all other public places seem to have turned into haunts for these tribes of street smart thieves who have the ability or the hypnotic thrill to occupy the Goan senses before you try to locate the nearest police station.
Then there is the pack of wolves who enter unabashedly into shops and while some of their family keep the owners occupied with their brutal enquiries about the products, the rest of the family is engaged in a decent job of packing the products into their shirts, pants and brassieres. This suave art is painfully not limited to the Jewelry stores in Goa but has found able adaptation in computer shops, retail stores and even cloth shops which have not been spared.
You also have those who help themselves to the long haul of the Goan largesse. That too in a very open and acceptable manner. Classified advertisements in Goan newspapers have become a great source to find gullible Goans who pour their money , stock and time into mindless promises of no-hoper monks who promise to build a fortune for you in the least possible time and with the smallest of efforts but with the involvement of thousands of rupees. When their numbers of Goan followers starts growing, they simply collect the booty and leave town - lock, stock and barrel. What is left is Goans writhing, angrily in pain with police stations filling their pages with countless applications seeking redressal. However nobody gets caught. Worse, no lessons are learnt. The next advertisement can still get them hooked again for another bite at a hoax. "Salient Online' was one such scam faced by Goans among the thousands most of which went unreported.
The latest one to hit town is a delightful sms which Goans are gleefully receiving, almost luring them into celebrations. The sms gives you some bountiful news that your mobile number was randomly selected for a draw, which you won and are now sitting on a pile of currency notes amounting to millions of dollars or pounds. At the end of the sms is an email address which you are expected to contact urgently.
Of course in the excitement the receiver does not bother to think how the sender got his mobile number into a draw. Neither does he bother to think that any such contests ( if any in this world) need to be entered with a contest fee. Simply receiving a bounty of millions seems to cloud normal thinking of the receiver - who unfortunately is the victim. What follows next is milking of the receiver by the sender of the SMS.
The sender when contacted over email lures the receiver with peppy language asking for bank details to transfer the millions. At some point the sender mentions the need of an attorney in UK or US to help in transferring the money. the fees of the attorney run into lakhs of rupees. However our Goan chum who received the sms, finds these lakhs of rupees a paltry amount compared to the millions at stake. So what does he do? He rushes to his bank breaks his fixed deposits, loans some amount from his friends and even sells some jewellery to transfer the required amount to his "new found saviour" (read Demon) who receives the money through online transfer and promises to transfer the millions "soon". Needless to say the millions never see the light of day and our Goan friend frantically calls some phoney telephone numbers provided to him by the rogue sender and is at a complete loss as to what hit him. End result is a poor Goan sitting at a police station narrating his tale of woes.
When will Goans stop being so gullible?
The above sms trick is also being relayed to victims regularly over email all over the world. The game-plan is , bogey letters pouring in from various parts of the world most of them from Africa, narrating their opportunity to divide some cash with you if you play to be their dead husband,cousin,wife, or father. Eventually you get milked of your own money.However now the same trick is being executed through the mobile.
Isnt it time that Goans shunned all such vain attempts laced in greed and keep their hard earned money in their pockets rather than running after a alluring shadow? After all dont we know a bird in hand is worth two in a bush?