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Saturday, 28 January 2017

9 people who pretended to be experts and everyone believed them

Do you remember the movie Catch Me If you Can? It was a dramatized biography of Frank Abagnale, played so expertly by Leonardo Dicaprio. Frank Abagnale was a con man. He swindled millions of dollars out of banks by forging cheques.

After he was caught and jailed, they offered him an option to become a consultant for the FBI to reel in other conmen who forged cheques. In short, all the watermarks and security features you see on cheques these days are because Frank Abagnale’s exploits. He was also an expert, the world’s foremost at that.

Then there is a different breed of conmen too. They pretend to be experts, but aren’t.

The following are the second kind of conmen:

1. Ankit Fadia, the “self-proclaimed” “hacker”

Ankit Fadia is an expert – in conning everyone – even the best journalists. This means that he was covered by The Hindu also.

His “bestselling” book has been dismissed as a load of crap by the real computer security experts. They have constantly said that the book has plagiarized over 90% of its content from various Computer Science experts. In a time when real writers struggle to get published, he got his book published by MacMillan.

He has hoodwinked journalists, editors, TV channels to the point that even today many people in the country believe that he is an expert in computer security.

Fun fact – He claimed that he helped the CIA in tracking terrorists after September 9/11 attacks, after GEORGE BUSH, the PRESIDENT OF THE USA sent him a PERSONAL EMAIL.

2. Vishwa Bandhu Gupta, world’s foremost authority on cloud computing

Vishwa Bandhu Gupta pretends to be an expert in everything – from cloud computing to coal scams to black money. Most of his interviews are hilarious and don’t contain an ounce of logic.

For the best demonstration, please watch his YouTube interview on cloud computing where he explains the concept with reference to actual clouds – in the sky.

He also claims that sometimes data from the SIM card in phones is transferred into the battery. Yes, you read that right – into the BATTERY.

3. P V Arun, who made people believe that he got into NASA and MIT

India has a unique breed of scam artists – conmen who claim that they got into MIT (Massachusetts Institute Of technology) or an IIT, or into an IIM.

PV Arun is one of them, and even he fooled a journalist from The Hindu and even The Indian Express. He claimed that he was recruited to be a part of NASA, and was working hard to make contact with Extra Terrestrials (aliens).

Finally, after two years, Deccan Chronicle caught up with the lie and turns out, he didn’t even meet the Prime Minister as he had claimed.

4. Nirmal Baba, the ultimate spiritual expert who almost killed a diabetic man

This self-proclaimed godman once had a devotee come to him complaining of a physical ailment. Nirmal Baba suggested that the devotee eat rabri – a sweet delicacy made of milk. The man’s condition deteriorated and later when he was diagnosed by real doctors, he was found to be ill with DIABETES.

Nirmal Baba’s “expert” solutions have found their way into TV channels like AXN, Star News and Sab TV.

Reports state that he charges 3000 rupees for sitting in one of the lectures he takes and 11,000 rupees for a personal consult.

The disciples didn’t stay quiet though. One group of 5 disciples took off with a whopping 1.7 crore rupees with a forged cheque. Karma is real.

5. Arindam Chaudhuri. Just going to leave it here.

Before we start on him, a very interesting point – Arindam Chaudhuri did his Post Graduate Diploma from IIPM, and institute HE FOUNDED. If that wasn’t enough, he got his diploma in 1992, whereas he founded IIPM in 1973. That means he awarded himself a diploma.

He has consistently marketed himself as a management guru and claimed that the institutes he has founded are better than IIMs.

Recently he shut down his institute and started IIPM 2.0, which people still have no idea what it means.

Also – ponytail.

6. Lance Armstrong

7 Tour De France titles. All taken back.

The USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) named him as the ringleader of “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

He disappointed millions who followed him and looked up to him as their idol. Many still argue that he did a lot of good for cancer research because he had raised hundreds of millions through the sale of his Livestrong bracelets.

But the reason he got those funds to come in was because he was such an awesome personality, because he won so many cycling tournaments. His whole foundation was based on a lie.

7. Dr. Oz who believes we can communicate with the dead.

Dr. Mehmet Oz has all the right credentials and very impressive ones at that – he has been a professor of surgery at the Columbia University and is a director of the Cardiovascular institute at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

In all ways he is technically an expert, but then things got very real when he got his own TV show which is very popular in the United States.

He promoted psychic communication with the dead, and health supplements that claimed to reduce weight magically without any change in exercise and diet.

8. Alicia “Tania” Head, who pretended to be a World Trade Center attack victim

Alicia Head pretended to be one of the survivors who made it out safe from the twin towers on September 11. She narrated her story so expertly that everyone believed her, and she eventually became the president of the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network support group that had over 20,000 members.

She had hoodwinked top journalists and TV channels by fabricating colorful stories about her alleged escape from the buildings.

Her elaborate hoax was caught when  The New York Times tried to verify her story.

Turned out, she was not even in the country when the attacks happen, let alone being in the building.

9. Marilee Jones, who faked her way into becoming the Dean of Admissions in MIT

The MIT is one of the premier technology institutes in the world, and the dean of admissions of the college is responsible for taking in the best and the brightest into the institution.

Turns out, Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions of MIT for 28 years got the job on completely fake credentials. Both her degrees were fake and finally had to resign from her post.

All this is after she was honored with MIT’s Excellence Award for Leading Change and co-authoring a book on admissions to premier colleges.

The outrage is not just in the scams. The outrage is that the people actually put them on a pedestal. These people, for a brief period of time, inspired people too. And then the people know that all the inspiration is based on a lie, leading them to feel cheated.

And how did they get away with it for so long?

As Mark Twain said – “It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they were fooled.”

True that Mr. Twain.

(Source: Storypick)

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