Thursday, 29 January 2009

Actuaries and other scams

I think that someone tried to scam me yesterday. I had gone out for a pint of milk, around 8 in the evening, when a man came up to me. At first glance he seemed well dressed - although the suit wasn't hand-made and the tie wasn't silk - and he had a sob story. His wallet had been stolen. He had no money. Could I lend him a tenner to get the train home? Sadly he rather ruined the spiel by clutching a mobile phone, with which he could have presumably have called a friend or work-mate. And the script was rather similar to one I have heard several times before. But what completely ruined it for me was that he claimed to be an actuary. He even showed me his business card, presumably in an attempt to establish his credentials as a trustworthy person. Now, dear reader, if you know what I think of actuaries, you will know that this back-fired.

What happened next? Well, I didn't steal his mobile. Although I was tempted. But he didn't get the cash. So the lesson, scam artists of E1, is when you are trying a con, pick a profession that your interlocutor doesn't think is fundamentally mis-guided.

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