November 21, 2005

Carve My Turkey!

posted by Will Wilson @ 11:02 am

Last week, the 47 states and the District—just “the District”—leveraged $8M out of the Western Union piggy bank. AGs and the Union—just “the Union”—agreed to form a “national consumer awareness program.” Or “national peer counseling program“—we aren’t sure which grandiose term will gain ascendancy.

Seems that some folks, maybe even some folks reading this, have been suckered into those silly wire fraud scams. You know, “Millions are Trapped in Nigeria (we’ll give you some of the millions, but we needs $15,000 first),” “You’ve Won the Big Dutch Award Lottery Sweepstakes (but must pay taxes to receive your winnings),” and “Gimme $30 for a little carton o’ somethin’ somethin’ via the FedEx.” Consider yourself educated.

How this the Union’s fault, we’ll never know. But, the hope for reelection springs eternal, so the AGs pounced on the money messenger. Facing a draining disagreement with AGs and the attendant public relations headache, Western Union gladly paid the $8M.

But just $8M?!?! If this is really Western Union’s fault—and not just a headline-grab ploy by the AGs—why only $8M? As the AGs are fond of noting, scam losses to Canada alone amount to $113M. Do AGs routinely get only 7% back from criminals they catch red-handed and cash-ready?

Or put another way: the $8M educational program, when spread evenly across the Western Union universe, amounts to less than forty bucks per WU location. What sort of slipshod awareness counseling do they expect to fund with $40?

AGs plan to hold American businesses and consumers hostage for non-crimes and the greedy foolishness of con patrons; can’t they at least do it effectively. If AGs had the courage of their proclaimed convictions, they would close down Western Union, prohibit tobacco entirely, ban wine, bar oil, block every transaction by which anyone prospered, make the minimum wage a million dollars, mandate a merry Christmas, and carve my turkey.

Ah, carve my turkey!