Posted by: Martin Scherer | 27/02/2011

Internet scams and Brittain’s cradle to grave health care.


…No doubt you are tired of all those Nigerian e-mail scams. Here is one with a different twist.   

From:Lady Martha Stirling,

12889 Surrey Avenue, Chelsea, SW3, England.

I am Lady Martha Stirling,Laird of Keir,recently my Doctor diagnosed that i have limited days to live due to cancerous illness which i am suffering right now,as my late husband was renowned for his philanthropic grant,Sir D.S,Chairman of Stirling & Wright General Partners,i hereby bequeath you with my £20 Million Pounds to build a Martha Stirlings Foundation,as my sole benefactor for charitable purposes and i will also issue a Letter of Authority that will empower you as my beneficiary of this fund through my Lawyer,please respond using my personal email address:

Lady Martha Stirling.

Whilst Nigerian scams portray themselves as utterly corrupt, I am a little offended by one that similarly portrays the Scots.

Whoever wrote this scam, did their research. The Honourable Sterlings, Lairds of Keir, do exist. Colonel Sir Archibald founded the Special Air Service. With a name like Archibald this is beginning to sound somewhat pythonesque. Laird is Scottish for Lord, and therefore a man, not a woman. Not that such confusions are new to the world of aristocracy, judiciary and bishops who dress in ancient frocks

You may wonder why ‘Sirs’ are always addressed by their first names but Lord’s by their place name. The tradition stems from the time when the father was the Lord of the Manor. The peasants addressed his ten-year-old son as ‘Sir’. I said Peasant not Pheasant or Grouse, which is about all that most Scottish land is worth. The Scottish aristocracy are ‘dirt rich’ as Americans would say. However, it is always worth trading on snobbish susceptibility to a Lordship. You can purchase such titles, for as little as $20,000, and I’ve known such a title to convince judges you simply could not be guilty of drunk-driving at 100 mph through the streets of London.     

You can imagine some shoe-less Nigerian in downtown slum Lagos hearing that a fellow Nigerian had just received a cheque for £20 by such a scam. Now, £20 for such a person is a year’s income, an irresistible temptation to sit for hours in a greasy internet café sending such e-mails. Rather than the tired “I am the son of a Nigerian diplomat / bank manger who swindled £600,000,000’, this scamster has used her imagination. So excited by her fictional creation, she hit the button six times sending me six copies.    

The British Fraud office has recently decided to target scamsters, as reported by the BBC who interviewed an impeccably dressed and spoken dear old lady, living in her one bedroom London apartment, who had fallen for several of these scams. Lets call her Cynthia Turner in honour of my ex-wife’s distinguished family.

With a smile for the camera, Cynthia calmly showed the dozens of scams she had ‘fallen’ for, saying that each time she sends her money in the hope of salvation but salvation never comes.

Hang on a moment. Should’t that raise a question mark for any worthy journalist? Why isn’t she distraught? Why does she keep doing it? From what is she seeking salvation? The indignity of living in a one bedroom flat, where she once lived in a mansion? The indignity of being old and ignored, where once she was the belle of the ball? How seductive to be considered a worthy administrator of the £20 Million Pounds Lady Martha Stirlings Charitable Foundation, from which she could then syphon a £1,000,000 annual stipend.

The sad indictment here is a society in which the elderly are so lonely as to be seduced by these scams. Whilst many Americans look enviously at the British National Health service they may care to read recent reports that the elderly in hospital are often ignored, left without adequate pain medication and starved of their meals. Hospital meals do little to aid recovery 

That is what baby-boomers look forward to. Another report predicts 60% of British hospital beds will be filled by elderly patients because there is nowhere else for them to go. In this age of youth, no-one wants to be reminded that we all grow old and decrepit. Their families don’t want them. No-one wants them. As portrayed in a recent British sit-com by the comedian, Jo Brand. I admire Jo, but its very difficult to laugh at such abuse.

Now I’ve sent a shiver down your spine and a tear to your eye. If both baby-boomers and young of today don’t do something, then that is their future. What can you do?

Will anything be resolved by the Fraud office requesting you send them your postal and e-mail scams? Or is that merely more jobs for the boys. What has happened to journalism that it fails to investigate beyond the headline? Can we justifiable criticise the 3rd world starving poor, when our judiciary are conned by the same snobbishness of ancient title and the problem is created here by the neglect of our elderly?  Do Americans really believe the anonymous state will provide the human care Grandma needs?  

She only wants someone to listen. We might learn something of yesteryear.       

Go steal a grandma, there’s one in your neighbourhood. Let’s get off our fat TV arses and take grandma for a walk, with her Zimmer frame, or wheel chair. Then maybe grandma wont be so desperate to fall for these scams. Preferably, take grandma for a walk down the middle of Main Street, with a ginormous banner. “If we cannot respect and care for those who built this society, then we have no right to benefit from it.

And in that act alone, we will have protected the elderly from such e-mail scams.


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