It’s a nice Wednesday morning, you open your computer as always, and, to your surprise, you find an email from a prince. Someone, who must be a prince, or the heir of a prince, because he just presented himself as such, finally found your email. And, for once, fate turned around, because it seems this prince needs your help. He inherited a large sum of money and he needs help moving them around. And, being royalties and all, they are generous enough to reward those who are helping them. By “those who are helping them” they really mean, actually, you.
Of course, you have your doubts. You think this is just a message in a bottle, and it just landed in your mailbox by some sort of a weird chance. They must have send this to thousands emails, hoping that someone will respond. Well, one more reason to answer this fast, before others jump on this opportunity.
And so you start this correspondence with this Nigerian prince, doing your best to help him move his father’s fortune (in excess of $10 million, as it seems) and you don’t even spare some minor expenses, like, you know, bank commissions, administrative costs or logistic overheads. These things are needed for these events, you know that very well.
A few months after, and a few thousands of dollars spent on these minor inconveniences, it suddenly dawns upon you, after weeks of silence from your Nigerian prince, that maybe things are not what they seem to be. Maybe there’s no Nigerian prince at all. Maybe you sent thousands of dollars to some punks in an internet cafe, pretending to be Nigerian princes, and taking you for a fool.
And that, my friend, is on you.
Lack Of Education Is A Liability
What I just described is just one variation of what is called social engineering. It’s a type of business which thrives on lack of education. It literally converts naivety into cash. And by “naivety” I don’t understand that subtle candor that makes you experience life as a continuous miracle, no, not at all. I understand a specific type of credulity, based on ego inflation (of course I know what’s going on) with lack of education (I literally have no idea what’s going on). Those two tendencies, combined, are a lethal combination.
You see, it’s very easy to turn against those punks in the internet cafe and victimize yourself. It’s easy to say the world is a bad place because people like this exist and you are an honest person. I’m not saying what they did is ok, on the contrary, they are loading up their karma with huge amounts of shit.
What I’m saying is you shouldn’t be a victim in the first place. This is in your power. You can avoid that.
If only you took the time to update your hard-drives. To refresh your knowledge, to stay on top of things. You don’t need to be an expert. But you can became skilled as spotting things that are too good to be true. There are ways to self-educate in such a way that you’re not just an easy prey. There are ways to actualize reality to the safest version of it.
It’s called education and it’s based on the assumption that you may be wrong.
And it applies not only to social engineering.
You should continuously self-educate for the most sought-after skills. You should continuously self-educate for the friendliest places to live on Earth. You should continuously self-educate to spot all the investing opportunities you’re not even aware you’re missing right now.
It takes time, that’s true. It’s not always easy, that’s also true.
But it’s worth it.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Initially published on my blog.