12 Types Of Scam / Fraud / Cons That Everyone Ought To Be Aware Of

People cheat for the same reason that dogs lick their balls. Because they can.

Over the years countless people have been intentionally mislead to achieve financial goals of unscrupulous people. The first known scam ever published by the press was in 1849 during the trial of William Thompson who was known as the ‘confidence man’. He would chat with strangers until he asked if they had the confidence to lend him their watches, whereupon he would walk off with the watch. Thompson was captured when a victim recognized him on the street.

Below are 12 types of common scams reported around the world.

  1. Prizes and lotteries
    • You have been proclaimed by people or letters to have won a vacation, prize or competition you do not remember entering.
    • You may be asked to pay a deposit to access your prizes.
    • Some others are just ploys to sell cheap stuff like poor quality jewelry at exaggerated prices.
    • Some may ask for personal details instead of money. Providing any detail will only widen the exposure to other scams. Victims’ bank account number have been used to make unauthorized withdrawals and credit card to incur additional charges.
    • Some approaches to consumers are made by overseas lottery ticket sellers. Most are illegal. Even in the USA, there are restrictions. Find out more about it here.


    • Always ask yourself, ‘What’s the catch’?
    • If you really have won something, you need not pay a cent.
    • Never give your personal banking or credit card details to unknown traders or companies.

  2. Astrology / Psychic Related Cons
    • Consumers will be told by psychics, who claim to have seen visions of your rich future, to pay a fee to receive their lucky numbers, talismans, golden eggs or guides.
    • Some people are just so vulnerable. Consumers have been known to send thousands of dollars in the name of ‘good luck’ to only realize that the items that they receive are crap quality pieces of cards or beads.
    • Respond once and you will be targeted for further scams.


    • Do not respond. Once they sniff interest from you, they will keep hounding you.
    • Never give credit card or bank account details to people you don’t know about.

  3. Advanced Fee Scams
    • Nigerian-style scams are one of the most common types of advance fee frauds.
    • A ‘relative’ of a senior government official in mainly African countries writes asking for assistance in getting funds out of their homeland by depositing the money into your bank account.
    • A response will trigger them to ask for advanced money to process the payments or bribe officials.


    • Do not ever give personal information to someone you do not know or trust.
    • Do not respond to any offers.

  4. Pyramid schemes
    • Also known as franchise fraud or multilevel marketing are investment frauds in which an individual is offered a distributorship or franchise to market a particular product.
    • It is a system of selling in which you sign up other people to assist you and they, in turn, recruit others to help them.
    • You see, success in multilevel marketing means continuously getting additional people to join the pyramid. What many people don’t see is the practical limit to how many distributors can be found and to how many product units that can be sold.
    • Many of them will have no real commitment to the program. They may have been high-pressured, just like you, to become a distributor.
    • Entrance fee to include yourself as a node to the pyramid is usually very high.


    • Understand the fact that there is no easy way to wealth, with the only exception of the genius who originated his multilevel marketing organization.
    • NOTE whether the basis of the promotion is the sale of a product at the retail level, as opposed to an emphasis on recruiting more and more distributors to help you increase your income.
    • Refuse to commit to anything at high-pressure meetings or seminars. Take time to do your homework on the scheme. Think it over and seek professional or legal advice.
    • Check that any products can be returned if unsold. Refuse schemes that require you to purchase more inventory than you need.

  5. Email Scams
    • Email spammers have access to lists of email addresses to send fraudulent emails to which can cover millions of internet subscribers in an instant. Word lists to registered Internet domains not even knowing if they are actual email addresses.
    • A handful of replies from victims at no cost is still a good deal to them.
    • An option to unsubscribe to their mailing list has become a method to verify that they have reached a real email account. By replying, you may find that you are targeted with more spam.
    • The most common scams will claim that they come from your bank or credit card company. Your account details and your PIN will be requested by return email or through a website. By responding you are opening yourself up to identity fraud, spam and viruses.


    • Do not open email from unknown people. Delete it from your in-box and empty your email trash can.
    • Do not open email that is not specifically addressed to you.
    • Do not open email that promises you some unrequested benefit.
    • Most email systems today provides spam/junk protection. If not check this out.
    • Remember spam can be used to send spyware that saves your keystrokes.
    • Be careful of unsubscribe and remove options on unsolicited email. Do not click on any link. The link may be used to confirm your email account details and send more spam to you.
    • Protect your email address by only providing your email contact details to organizations that you know and trust.

  6. 1-900 Premium Rate Numbers
    • Fax back scams that usually offers weight loss programs, employment opportunities or competitions, use 1-900 premium rate numbers to incur very expensive charges per minute.
    • There have also been reports of defrauders using slow responding fax machines to suck more cash out of victims.


    • Know that ALL 1-900 services will always cost higher than average phone services.
    • Ignore any 1-900 offers that are supposedly urgent or time limited.
    • Avoid any overseas services linked with 190.
    • Avoid any 1-900 services that do not clearly disclose the total cost of their service.
    • I know it may not be easy but read all terms and conditions carefully first.
    • Shop or ask around locally to see if the offers are available elsewhere, cheaper.
    • Shopping locally will always give you better redress if something goes wrong.

  7. Directory Listings / Registry Scams
    • Posing as publishers of magazines, directories or internet sites, these scammers will call business and community groups.
    • They repeatedly send invoices and demand payment without signed authority for an advertisement in a poorly circulated or non existent publication.
    • Some may even pose as government officials. Victims have reported being sent business invoices to ‘renew’ their internet domain name registration for double the cost.


    • Do not give personal or banking details to anyone you do not know and trust.
    • If a call or letter is supposedly related to an existing arrangement, contact the organization yourself to verify and request a copy of your signed authority.
    • Request the street address and phone number of any new advertising offer and check them out with Consumer Protection.
    • All orders regardless of how small, should be recorded and cross-checked by the person who pays the accounts.
    • Never pay anything that has not been authorised or fully understood.

  8. Investment scams
    • The calls often come from overseas and offer you high returns for your money. Sometimes an appointment is made for a ‘senior adviser’ to call back. They generally offer share, mortgage or real estate investments, high return schemes, option trading or foreign currency trading.
    • They are persistent and bent on making you look foolish when you say no.
    • People with specific religious or community interests are targeted with promises to send profits to charity or worthy causes.
    • Solution

      • Work out the risk first.
      • Always investigate money making schemes very carefully before parting with your money. Take time to seek professional or legal advice.
      • Take time to do some homework first. Don’t be pressured into making a decision on the spot.
      • Ask for published independent substantiation of projected earnings, current financial statements, and prospectus. Ask for proof of testimonials of financial success.
      • Ask the scammers these questions and they’ll probably hang up in embarrassment:
        – What is your securities dealer’s license number?
        – Who is lodging your prospectus?

  9. Employment scams
    • Defrauders are using the internet, newspaper advertisements, seminars, mail and direct approach to lure people into self-employment schemes. Instead of making money, it ends up costing money.
    • Look out for ‘make large amounts of money quickly and with little effort’, ‘work from home’, ‘requires payment for registration or for more information material’
    • These scams sell information of no value, some pretend to provide skills which turn out to be unmarketable, and others pyramid schemes which rely on recruiting or luring others into joining.
    • Computer gambling or share market software programs that guarantee winners is a scam.
    • Money transfer or money mule schemes are worse. It’s money laundering. You will be prosecuted. There is no way around it.
    • Anti-fraud experts say the money being transferred is often stolen from other people’s bank accounts via the Internet. Defrauders use Trojan and key logging viruses to capture customer online banking details. Once you receiving the money, you take your share and pass the rest to a prearranged overseas destination.


    • There is no ‘easy way’ to make money from home.
    • Get details before committing to anything.
    • If you are asked to pay money, find out more.
    • Always ask yourself, ‘Why contact me when we have no business relations at all’?
    • Find out if there is a market for the work you plan to do.
    • Check whether there are special legal requirements such as licenses or other constraints on working from home.

  10. Door to Door
    • The product or service may be real or fake. Either way, con artists can still act illegally to the detriment of other people.
    • It may be roof repair, maintenance, bitumen work or telephone services but they are itinerant and flee as soon as they have their money.
    • Payments come in the form of deposits or full, in cash or by credit card. As checks can be easily canceled, they are not an option.
    • Genuine door to door salespersons will always show personal identification and neither pressure nor require you to purchase any good or service.
    • Genuine sales come with an official receipt with the company’s registration number, name, address and telephone details.


    • If it’s a survey, ask for identification. Surveys are often a means to make an appointment for a salesperson to call. If you accept, make sure you know the name and address of the salesperson and of the company.
    • If you are smart enough like the rest of the world, you won’t be cheated of claims such as `your roof needs painting’ or ‘your vacuum cleaner doesn’t work properly’.
    • Never accept quotes at face value. Always do your homework, compare prices and terms.
    • Get everything in writing. Ask about warranty coverage and periods and know all the costs before signing anything.
    • Salespeople are required to show you company identification when you request it. Make a written note of the person’s and the company’s name, address and telephone number.
    • If you think the salesperson is pressuring you or preying on your emotions, such as your fear, need, curiosity, sense of obligation, then give a simple ‘No’ ask them to leave. If the message didn’t get through, then just tell the salesperson to f**k off.

  11. Gambling systems
    • Will you sell a system to make money if it was a certainty? Isn’t it like finding a treasure chest and telling the world where to find it.
    • Usual targets are retirees and people with funds to invest.
    • The promotion of the system of reaping money from horse racing, lottery tickets or share market do not have the word ‘gambling’ on it.
    • They will promise huge returns based on past results which are actually manipulated to prove a particular outcome.
    • The schemes may involve a SMS service to your mobile phone to tell you which teams to bet on.
    • Let’s take a look at how the football picks scam works. First, the scammer sends out tip sheet stating a game will go one way to 50 potential victims and the other way to another 50. The next week, the 50 who received the correct answer are divided into two groups and fed another pick. This is repeated until a small population have received a series of supernaturally perfect picks then the final pick is offered for sale.


    • These are high-risk schemes and are not worth wasting your money on.
    • The high-pressure sales tactics and slick presentations are crap. Let it swirl around your head first.
    • It is very easy to claim that you predicted that a particular team won a match after the match has finished.
    • If it’s a horse race, ask yourself how a computer can make an accurate prediction on a horse race based on weather conditions, the state of the horse, the jockey, the track, the draw and luck? How can a computer predict what numbers will be drawn in a game of chance like Lotto?
    • All ‘Get rich quick’ schemes are crap. Higher returns mean higher risks. If common sense says that it sounds too good to be true, then it is.

  12. Telemarketing
    • Though annoying, telemarketing is a legitimate marketing practice. However consumers need to be alert to con artists who use it cheat people.
    • Telemarketing is big business with companies wanting to sell you goods and services, to participate in surveys, or to make donations to charities.
    • You may be contacted by an operator, sometimes a telemarketer based overseas.
    • There are also automated prerecorded voice messages and, pop up internet ads which require you to contact a telemarketer. Some may also encourage you to respond to voice interactive premium telephone services which can charge up to $5 a minute.
    • Automated dialing equipment which randomly dials numbers, and if you answer the phone, the telemarketer is switched through to you.
    • Most telemarketers are very good sales officers that catches you off guard and try to get you to agree to something right there and then.
    • Consumers usually agree to buying services and goods without understanding exactly what they are getting, or the exact terms and conditions of the offer. For example, people have agreed to buy overseas accommodation without realizing the package does not come with airfare.
    • Some telemarketers start their sales pitch with ‘Congratulations! You’ve just won yourself a ….’ or ask you to participate in a survey, when in fact they are just trying to hook you in.
    • Never agree to buy anything until you’ve done homework and find that it is of value to you. Introduce a delay to allow you to ‘sleep on’ the offer. If not, forget it.


    • Tell them to ring back at a time that suits you.
    • Always check out the terms and conditions of the contract before agreeing to anything.
    • Compare prices on any goods or services offered with local traders first.
    • It is very difficult to enforce your consumer rights with a company based overseas.
    • Any opening pitch which says ‘Congratulations, you have won …’ is questionable.
    • If you are asked to participate in a survey or poll, ask questions to make sure it is legitimate and not a pitch to sell you products, or worse, criminals trying to ascertain your movements
    • Your personal details are worth money to others, like telemarketers, so guard it carefully.
    • Below is a video of the greatest thing ever said to a telemarketer.

3 replies on “12 Types Of Scam / Fraud / Cons That Everyone Ought To Be Aware Of”

[…] Companion Scam – a stranger enters the victim’s life to win their affection and gain influence for the sole purpose of financially exploiting the senior victim. The perpetrator uses undue influence including threats (or real) physical and emotional abuse. Seniors, overwhelmed by intimidation, the fear of be left alone or the embarrassment of being duped, are less likely to report the activity to trusted family or law enforcement while there is still a chance to recover at least some of their assets. […]

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