Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Consider the Source

A little skepticism is a good thing.

The Japan Today news site ran a Kyodo News story about a 57-year-old Japanese businessman who had been abducted in Johannesburg, South Africa but was then rescued safely. The story struck me as odd because it indicated he was kidnapped immediately after arriving, then reported that fact to his company, and the company's president received an e-mail message demanding a ransom. Police were said to have found him two days later and arrested six men and a woman of whom six are Nigerians and one a South African.

Fair enough, but I thought the timing of the kidnapping, and the involvement of Nigerians, sounded a lot more like a 419 scam than the simple ransom abduction it was portrayed as by Kyodo.

Checking with a South African newspaper's website proved it: the Japanese had been lured with promises of a lucrative business deal, and captured virtually upon arrival. They were waiting for him, and he's lucky he escaped with his life and no more than 100,000 yen loss.

From innocent victim to greedy gullible fool at the click of a's not a bad idea to check the source of news. Or of too-good-to-be-true get-rich-quick offers.

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