Tell my story?
First up, my $10 million estimate is a complete guesstimate. The company involved has however been going for a decade or three, with rooms full of staff, so expect that $10m *might* be conservative.
My story: 2013, a letter arrives in the mail. A newspaper reader has won an award, in recognition of their global excellence in services.
They think, "Yeah, nah", and hand the letter into the "Samoa Observer", an independent newspaper in an independent country. Long 35-year media history of exposing carpetbaggers, scam artists, and straight cons; anti-corruption from day one.
So there I was, one in a long line of reporters, journalists, editors and dozens of others, same publishers, different decade, more scams. Quick scanned the letter. Was about to chuck it in the rubbish. Had received similar awards at a newspaper in another Pacific country, decades ago! Then looked at it sitting edge up in the bin.
"Wait, those awards *still* going around?"
Long story short, that letter lead to a story that has had by far my widest interaction from around the world. Same scam, same company.
Best part - the scam is completely legal.
Thousands perhaps millions of awards go out, a few hundred accept the awards every year.
As a new member here, won't go into details, but the original story and a few dozen comments can be found here:
About a year later, an investigative journalism non-profit reported on the same company:
In an era of globalization, scams can come from anywhere.
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