Statisticians hate small numbers (samples); now there is another reason to hate small numbers. In one word, scams.
The FTC has shut down a scam in which the crooks have sneaked through 1.35 million fraudulent credit-card charges, each valued at $0.25 to $9 -- after letting it run for four years. What's shocking is that less than 5% of the victims (78,724) noticed and reported the charges. So, instead of stealing $1 million from one person, steal $1 from a million.
Reading this article, I'm reminded of similar schemes:
- In 2006, a "student entrepreneur" asked Web users to buy $1 each to own one piece of a million-piece on-line jigsaw puzzle. The proceeds would "pay for his degree" -- how a degree can cost a million bucks I'm not sure. (his site).
- Once in a while, I get a notice of the results of some class-action lawsuit that I have been made a party to without applying. They would tell me that I am eligible to receive some tiny amount of compensation (say, $5). If less than 5% bother to collect their share, I wonder who gets the spoils (the lawyers?). I'm not a lawyer so I don't know the answer but I have my suspicions.
The onlyOne difference being that our society does not call these "scams".