The funny side

Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Contents - edited by Rob Rose

South Africa doesn’t have the mo­nop­oly on ran­dom acts of theft, it’s just that author­i­ties in other coun­tries some­times take a more cre­ative ap­proach to ad­dress­ing it.

Take the US state of Idaho. Ac­cord­ing to a story from the As­so­ci­ated Press, the state’s author­i­ties were ini­tially stumped about how to deal with the fact that its high­way signs de­not­ing 420 miles from the be­gin­ning of the road were fre­quently get­ting nicked.

This has much to do, ap­par­ently, with the fact that among the dope-smok­ing com­mu­nity of the US, “420” is seen as a code word for the time to light up. So street signs em­bla­zoned with 420 be­came sought-af­ter high­way para­pher­na­lia.

It hap­pened in states like Washington and Colorado too. Weary of­fi­cials re­peat­edly tried to re­place them.

So Idaho this month re­acted by putting up signs say­ing 419.9 miles on high­way 95, which weaves through the state.

Dare we sug­gest that these new signs might be cat­nip for the sort of scam artists who spend their days fir­ing off e-mails in­form­ing re­cip­i­ents that they’ve been cho­sen to re­ceive mil­lions of US dol­lars for their as­sis­tance in help­ing some for­mer min­is­ter get his trapped cash out of some coun­try you’ve never heard of?

These scams took their name from sec­tion 419 of Nige­ria’s crim­i­nal code, af­ter all.

Pic­ture: iS­TOCK

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