Why are hustlers easy targets for fraud?

Media reports show that hustlers are predominantly the victims of fraud. This includes buying fake power tokens, being arrested by police at night and forced to pay for their freedom and buying fake products.  

Being a hustler is already a big struggle, which makes any other burden unwelcome. Hustlers fall victim to fraud for a number of reasons.

1. They tend to be very trusting. As a result of religion and tradition, they have learnt to trust those in authority; it doesn’t matter if it’s economic or political authority.

I was once conned on Ronald Ngala Street in Nairobi by a woman who asked me for bus fare, but insisted she didn’t want the money. All she wanted was for me to pay for her fare to Wangigi, where I had just come from. I discovered I had been conned after another person asked me for the same thing.

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2. You’re more likely to be a victim of fraud if you have no money. Hustlers, by nature, have little money, so any deal that promises them more of it is welcome.

Hustlers are like bees, they work hard to make honey. From fake fertilisers to tokens, anything cheaper is considered better. We could argue that’s also why they bet – for with only a few shillings, you could win millions. 

3. There’s a general lack of information. You need information to avoid being defrauded. I recall reports of fake gold. How many have seen real gold? I remember a job advert with two emails, one with the familiar name of a big firm, except with a few tweaks, and the other an individual email.

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Once the email to big firm bounces, you resort to the other, and then the email owner demands some money. But how many will confirm the real email address of a big corporate? A hustler might not have data bundles.

4. Patterns. Hustling is not easy and one easily develops a routine, and it is this pattern of activities that fraudsters capitalise on. Whether they’re religious conmen, witchdoctors or traders selling fake products, they seem to ‘talk to you’; they know about you, your family, dislikes and so on.

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They’ve studied our behaviour, which makes us vulnerable. Casanovas use the same trick. The affluent rarely have a routine, though they can be vulnerable online.

5. Hustlers are rarely protected. They’re on their own. They walk at night, which leaves them vulnerable to being arrested by the police, while the affluent are in their cars. They can call their lawyers, while most hustlers can only call a relative.

Hustlers are also victims of political fraud, with politicians promising heaven around election time. To confirm hustlers’ vulnerability, they give them small amounts of money to get their vote.

Socially, mentally, economically and politically, hustlers are victims of fraud. Even laws and regulations are often against them. What is loitering, for instance, which has its origins in colonialism?

Is getting rich the only way to escape fraud for hustlers? Advanced societies are known for taking care of their weak, not pampering the strong. Perhaps that’s why corruption is so popular, as hustlers try to gain freedom and respect by making money as quickly as possible.

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Can someone find out if a hustling background increases your propensity to be corrupt?

It’s time we protected hustlers; they’re already weakened by the struggles of life. The hallmark of a great society is how it protects the weakest, not the strongest.

[XN Iraki; [email protected]; Twitter: @Hustlenomics7]  

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