The genie in the lamp scam that shouldn’t work but does

Shutterstock.com/ Fer Gregory

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When Christina Aguilera said the now-famous lyrics “I’m a genie in a bottle, you’ve got to rub me the right way” she was of course not saying that she was a genie, she was likely instead referring to her sexual frustration and how a man needed to do the correct things to bring her pleasure. Yet most of us know that. Despite Christina Aguilera’s shocking rise to fame given her low level of talent, none of us think that she has magic power. This is because most of us know that genies don’t exist. However, there is always some gullible fool out there that likely listens to this song in a very different way. The following story recently went viral about a man who clearly believes in genies.

Laeek Khan is a doctor from Uttar Pradesh, India. While doctors are usually regarded as highly intelligent many of Khan’s clients may be looking elsewhere for their next appointment given Khan’s recent story. Khan rang the police late one evening and told them that he had been sold a lamp for seven million rupees (about $93,000) with the promise that a genie was inside. As there was no genie he felt he was ripped off and wanted the men who sold him the lamp arrested.

It is difficult to know where to start with this story. Yes, the men in question committed a crime but much like the Nigerian prince that emails you every so often, if you are silly enough to fall for the most obvious scam then maybe you deserve to be scammed. We don’t know what age Laeek Khan was or if he had any health conditions so we don’t want to poke too much fun as perhaps there is a good explanation as to how he fell for such a story. The men were guilty of fraud and the Indian police caught them soon after the call was made. They had fooled several others with the same plot so it does appear that Khan was not the only foolish victim.

The two men who sold Khan the lamp had an entire story worked out. Khan came to their place of business to inspect the lamp and the men actually made a genie appear. It was just one of the men dressed up but must have been impressive because it made Khan, and others, want to purchase the lamp. When Khan asked to touch the lamp he was warned not to because it may harm him unless he was the owner. This clearly intrigued Khan as he soon agreed to become the owner. Authorities suggest that he agreed to pay a much larger sum than seven million rupees, this was just the down payment.

Authorities have warned residents that genies do not exist and if anything appears too good to be true then it probably is, especially when money is involved. It is a funny story that makes you wonder how people can fall for such scams but the reality is that it happens every day.

The Nigerian prince example is the most famous online version. You receive an email from someone in Nigeria claiming to be a prince with vast wealth. However, there is trouble in the country and he will lose all his money if he doesn’t send it offshore soon – would you be able to help him. The idea is that after you have given him enough information about your account and personal details, he will rob you, instead of gifting you millions.

The reason this scam works is that it is so obvious. If the scam was more subtle, someone posing as a friend or co-worker then many more of us would fall for it in the opening stages. However, many more of us would figure it out as the scam continued. This would mean we were wasting the scammers’ time. Scammers deliberately make their scam so clearly false that only the most gullible people will fall for it, and those are the people they are trying to catch. The next time you laugh at an email for being so obviously fraudulent you should realize that this is all on purpose. Take care of anyone senior in your family or that may suffer from a mental illness as it is often the most vulnerable people in our society that are targeted.