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The Elusive Timepiece

by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)

It is very common to see messages on our mobiles and computers saying that we have won a big amount of money and that we should meet a certain party with bank charges or some such thing. But, except for a gullible few, nobody is taken in by such frauds anymore.


But there was a time 4-5 decades back when these charlatans thrived well, feeding on the utterly gullible public.

Those days watches and timepieces were still precious possessions. The day you were gifted with a wrist watch marked your entry into adulthood. But now, thanks to the advent of digital technology, watches have become ubiquitous and very cheap appearing even on the body of a dot pen.

Once we were staying in Delhi IIT quarters. I saw an ad in a magazine which promised a timepiece as a gift if I were to propagate an ad for stainless steel vessels through chain letters. The offer looked very simple and attractive. All I had to do was copy the matter and mail it to 6 more people through post cards. After I did it, I was to get the timepiece delivered to me at home.

When I did not get the parcel by the promised date, I contacted the people. They said that it had already been dispatched. Then I rang up the post office and enquired. I was told that a parcel had arrived for me and that it would be delivered to me at home shortly.

I waited for the parcel in vain. I even threatened to take action. In the mean time a shocking tragedy occurred in the family. My elder brother of 39 years in Bombay had died of a massive heart attack and I was in a shock. One day, the postman brought me an envelope and asked me to sign for it as it had been routed through the embassy. It was a letter from my sister, probably giving me all the details of the sad event. In my state of abject depression, it did not even strike me to ask why a letter within India had to be routed through the embassy (That’s no excuse, of course). I just signed where he indicated. Thus the postman had secured my signature for something I had never received.

That was the last I ever heard of the elusive timepiece. Even to this day, I do not know whether its disappearance had anything to do with the company or with the postal staff.

So long as there were sitting ducks like me, who could stop the tricksters from getting away with fraud?


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Feb 04, 2014
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fraud
by: vimalaramu

It is amazing how people continue to be gullible whether it is handing over jewellery to the fake policemen for safe keeping or being the'lucky winner' of a 'lottery' or some other such fradulent scheme.

Feb 04, 2014
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Good
by: NuggehalliPankaja

Nowadays it has become an everyday affair, tempting us with fantastic offers! I am glad you pointed it out in your own entertai g style. If more people toe the line, will such ads stop?

Feb 04, 2014
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fraud
by: vimala ramu

Dear Komal and Saroj,
What I could not figure out here was whether the fraud was on the part of the company who advertised their ware through the scheme or the postman was the culprit as the post office had acknowledged the receipt of the time piece.
Thanks for visiting.

Feb 04, 2014
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Tricksters always find a way
by: Saroja Vasanth

This article made me remember so many of my simillar experiences. Although there are new ways of fraudulent these days. Recently I recieved a call telling that I won in a lucky draw of KBC and I have won some lakhs. To retrieve that money I need to pay 25k. Whoa! Tricksters just find a way to cheat people and lure money.

Feb 04, 2014
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message
by: Komala

Just read the article.it is a simple one with so much of hidden message for people,especially for those who are crazy about chit funds and attached gifts.

Feb 02, 2014
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Bonanza
by: vimala ramu

Wow! what a bonanza!! I hope the whole amount minus tax will not be disbursed in the form of old issues of RD!!! Congrats anyway!!!!

Feb 01, 2014
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A crorepathy in the making
by: Seetharam

I have just been told I am the lucky one selected out of hundreds ( or is it millions? )for Reader's Digest's offer of 17 Crores !! I have forwarded it to the editor of RD asking him if this is genuine. If it is genuine and I do get the money you have a friend who is a crorepathy, not just one crore but a seventeen crorepathy !!

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