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Best Scams

  1. Apr 21, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    What are the best scams that you've heard about or fell for? I must admit that I've been had once; about ten years ago.

    We received this letter telling us that we had won a lottery of some sort. At the time we often filled out contest forms and such, so the idea that we had actually won something was plausible. We didn't recognize the name of the company but that was also reasonable since we had sent in so many of these things.

    As nearly as I can remember: The letter said that we had won and something like $120,000 was to be dispersed - not a staggering amount of money so again it seemed reasonable. It said that we were guaranteed winners. This is not a scam; we had already won. I read this thing about fifty times and could not find any way that this was a trick. It seemed to me that either we had really won $120,000 or the company was into some serious fraud. In fact, and this is what got me, it said: The dispersement of the $120,000 is guaranteed. This is not a trick.. Also, I checked and the company existed and the address was good.

    So, here's the part where I get all red in the face. It said that we had to send in $5.00 for processing fees. The letter went into all sorts of detail about how they just manage the contest, and shipping and handling fees must be paid by the contestants. So, even though I knew better, it was only five bucks so I let them reel me in. I sent the $5.00.

    When some months later we hadn't received any money, and my numerous phone messages had gone unanswered, I sent the company a threatening letter. About a week or two later we got a check in the mail!!!

    It was for $1.26, IIRC. There were 90,000 winners.
    90,000 X [5.00 - 1.26 - postage] = ~ $315,000. Not a bad deal.
     
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  3. Apr 21, 2005 #2

    matthyaouw

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    One I heard about a while back. Two con artists are in a bar, pretending not to know each other. One of them acts like a loud, annoying drunk, and through various means, systematically annoys everyone in the bar, and makes very sure he is not liked. At this point, he goes and starts up a conversation with his partner. As it progresses, the two start to loudly debate the bible, so that everyone can hear easily. The drunk man insists that no it was not Delila that cut off Samson's hair, it was someone different. He then announces a bet to the whole bar that it wasn't Delila. With a bit of encouragement, a few people will join in this bet, because the man is obviously drunk and doesn't know what he's talking about, and plus they really don't like the man so they'd love to see him put in his place. Once this bet is agreed upon, he will produce a bible, and point to the passage in which it states Delila sent her servant to do it.
    D'oh!
    Money is handed over, man walks out, followed shortly by his partner. They both walk away considerably richer.
     
  4. Apr 21, 2005 #3

    brewnog

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    Advert in the back of a newspaper advertising 2 pairs of trousers for £4.00. Loads of people fill in the form and send off the cheques, specifying colour and size. 'Company' just banks the money, and never sends out any trousers. Company ignores all letters asking about trousers. If ever they get any letters threatening legal action, they just go out to Marks & Spencers, buy a couple of pairs of trousers and post them! Most people just forget about it, - after all, it was only £4!
     
  5. Apr 21, 2005 #4
    When I was 15 I worked as a cashier in a grocery store and had someone do a change raising scam to me (which can be described here http://www.fraudtech.bizland.com/short_change.htm). The guy bought a news paper and a candy bar for $100 because he said he "just came from atlantic city and won a lot". He then kept asking for all this change, like I would give him a 20 and then he would ask to get it broken into 2 tens. Then he would hand me another 20 and ask for more change. I don't know, I still haven't figured that scam out. In the end he ended up stealing $153 dollars. God I wish I could stab that guy or get my hands around his neck since I had to pay for it ( I only made like 7 dollars an hr. too at the time so it took me a long time to pay that much off.)
     
  6. Apr 21, 2005 #5
    Back in the late 70's a company offered to cut your bills in half, if you sent them 10 dollars processing fee. In return you got a cheap pair of kids plastic scissors.
    They were charged with mail fraud, after hundreds of people complained, but they must of made a a ton of money.
     
  7. Apr 21, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re gravenewworld, it is amazing how easy it is to fool people. You can hand a busy cashier a five dollar bill and say, "I'd like two tens for a five", and more often than not they will start to make change. I have even had a few give me the money, at which point I just smile and ask if they really want to do that.
     
  8. Apr 21, 2005 #7

    JasonRox

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    I'm too lazy to fill out forms... so I guess that leads me with nothing so far.
     
  9. Apr 21, 2005 #8

    Evo

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    I had a change artist try to short change me when I was in my teens. He did exactly what was in the link you provided except I didn't lose track of what belonged to me, so when he handed me two tens and said, oh just give me a twenty, I said "sure, just give me another ten". He got all flustered pointing to the $20 in my hand and I calmly explained to him that one of the tens I already gave him change from was the ten that now belonged to me. It wasn't his and I needed another ten to make twenty. He wasn't expecting this to happen and was getting nervous because now I was holding his money and my money. I motioned the store manager over and explained what was happening and the guy ran out of the store leaving his money I was holding. When the police showed up, his description matched a short change artist that had been working the area for a couple of months. :approve:
     
  10. Apr 21, 2005 #9

    Moonbear

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    Yeah, they pretty much operate under the assumption that anyone working as a cashier is young, naive, and not very good at math. When I worked as a cashier, my drawer always matched the receipts perfectly, nothing over, nothing under, except on the days when the store owner couldn't resist spending an hour at the register (he was either manic or ADHD when I think back on his behavior...nice guy, high energy, but every so often he wanted to work the registers for kicks or something, and we all dreaded it). That was my first job and I really enjoyed it...it was a party store that I started working in before it even opened. That made it a lot of fun to be there behind the scenes to know what goes into getting a store ready to open. Just figuring out the layout and stocking all the shelves the first time, learning how to operate ALL the equipment (those of us who were the first employees were trained to do everything because the owner hadn't figured out who would do what jobs yet once the store opened...my favorite job was getting to blow up the balloons; everyone is so happy when they buy balloons). When I left to go to college, they were so disappointed, they had wanted to make me a manager.

    Okay, scams: not one I've experienced personally, but someone told me about it (they read it in the news or online or something). Someone sells something with a full money back guarantee. After someone sends them the money for the order, they then send a letter that the item is out-of-stock and is being discontinued and refund the money by check (the check is good), so nobody has any reason to file charges of any kind. Except, the check they write the refund on has a different business name on it, something like "Child Pornography Videos Inc." For those who cash the check anyway, nothing is lost, but most people are too embarrassed to cash the check, so just don't bother. :rofl:
     
  11. Apr 22, 2005 #10

    Danger

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    Is everyone overlooking televangelists, or just not mentioning them because it's too obvious? :devil:
     
  12. Apr 22, 2005 #11

    Pengwuino

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    I occasionally visit a website with people who find people who do scams and scam them back. A normal anti-scam scam is to get these people who want to purchase things off of you for gaga bucks and want it delivered immediately but can only pay check. You send goods after u get the check and later the bank notifies you teh check bounces. What these people do is they 'hunt' these people down and get them to do the scam on them. What they do (after making sure its truely a scammer... there normally from nigeria and want to send shipment pickup to you and a few other tells) is they send absolte junk and garbage to the people instead of the products (in many cases, they want computers shipped to them). Check inevitably bounces of course and theres some funny arguments and corrospondences and its just .... absolutely hilarious to hear hteir stories. One guy sent a washing machine to a guy in nigera (The shipping and customs must have been ungodly for the scammerl.... one guy found out some guy paid $1000 in shipping for the junk :P) so that must have sucked for the scammer D:
     
  13. Apr 22, 2005 #12

    SOS2008

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    Exactly, we often overlook the obvious, like the guy I've been dating. :grumpy:
     
  14. Apr 22, 2005 #13

    Danger

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    'Obvious' is one thing, but I can't imagine him overlooking those. :bugeye:
     
  15. Apr 22, 2005 #14

    ShawnD

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    How is that a scam? They simply ask for donations, and they don't try to trick you.

    Moonbear, that scam you mentioned is probably the smartest scam ever. Now I at least have a plan for my summer job :tongue:
     
  16. Apr 22, 2005 #15

    matthyaouw

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    Not a true scam as such...
    And advert in Private Eye magazine: "Lazy students, need beer money." I often wonder how much response it got.
     
  17. Apr 22, 2005 #16

    Danger

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    Of course they trick people. How much trickier can you get than convincing little old ladies that they'll regain their health and then eventually go to heaven if they turn over their money to you? (And don't give me any crap about 'they don't say that'; they imply it with their pay-to-talk prayer lines and overpriced crucifixes.)
     
  18. Apr 22, 2005 #17

    Nereid

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    My sister fell for this one (I'm summarising; I don't have the actual words): "make $mega$ by starting your own mail-order business from home! Guaranteed results!! Just send £5 and we'll send you the full starter kit!!!" What is this magic starter kit? Why, it's a set of instructions for how to place ads like these (etc), under your own name!
     
  19. Apr 22, 2005 #18

    Pengwuino

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    Actually that is pretty dumb Danger. Implications are subjective. Where you see someone implying you must pay them, everyone else in the world might not see it. And if overpriced products = scam, then i think downtown NY is a 10 square mile scam.
     
  20. Apr 22, 2005 #19

    brewnog

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    A guy saw an advert in a telephone box with a picture of a sexy scantily clad lady, with a premium rate phone number, and the words "Hear me moan!"

    So he phoned it up, only to be put on hold for a while. When the woman eventually answered, she whined "You haven't washed the car, you haven't done the dishes, you haven't taken the dog for a walk.....".

    Apparently the customer tried to sue them for misleading advertising. The ASA told him that he'd got exactly what the advert had said!
     
  21. Apr 22, 2005 #20
    Late one night I was watching TV. A man was selling The Soap of God. He claimed it would wash you free of sin, that God has personally blessed this soap. I was very sleepy and it was very surreal, it just cracked me up. It was a white bar with a blue plastic cross stuck to it. It makes me wonder how many he sold?
     
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