Scams & Cons

Scams & Cons

Why would anyone give thousands of dollars to a Nigerian prince? Or play a well-known scam like Three Card Monte? Scammers and con artists convince people to do it every day. We will tell you why people become suckers and how it is done.

Episodes

May 19, 2022 15 min

Those little slips of paper -- coupons -- are real money and someone has to pay for the discount you just received. It could be the store, the manufacturer or someone else. You may have paid for it before you left the house.

The world of coupons is complicated and there are lots of ways scammers can creep in. The average person is the most common way. It happens when we buy coupons online or try to print our own.

Then there is the co...

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Three-card-monte can take all your money in fewer than eight minutes. Long cons can take days, weeks, months or years -- just ask Bernie Madoff.

The con artists generally have to put up significant amounts of money to pull it off.  They usually enlist others and must gain use of offices and facilities.

On top of that, they have to think on their feet because many things can happen over time. 

You've got to be good to run a long co...

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April 21, 2022 14 min

Don't you just hate it when the new $5,000 sex doll you ordered turns out to be a cheap knock-off? Or that super-fun-pack of condoms you bought is counterfeit?

Men thinking with the wrong head are mostly the victims of these crimes, but their variety may surprise you. Like that help-wanted ad you saw for a sex toy tester. I don't want to spoil this one -- you just have to listen.

Vice article about online adult games

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April 7, 2022 18 min

Art scams are like no other. They are like a theatrical play with scammers and art forgers producing, writing and directing the show. Even the suckers are part of the script, anxious to play their roles, even when they suspect there may be an unhappy ending for them.

The majority of the rules that apply to most scams, don't apply here. Some people get involved for fame, some for ego and others for fortune. Those that are in it f...

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March 24, 2022 13 min

Most cons are well planned. After all, the con artists don't want to go to jail.

But sometimes, things come together in such a way that the scams have to be pulled off quickly while the con artists make things up on the spot.

Today we'll tell you the story of three scams that were run only once. OK, there's a fourth one, but you'll know it when you hear it. Listen closely.

The Kitchen Table Historian

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Recently -- and I kid you not -- I found a $100 bill as I got into my car after buying groceries. It was on the ground beside my door, folded in thirds. I immediately thought someone was setting me up for a Pigeon Drop, but no one approached and no other people were around, so I put the bill in my pocket.

It took weeks before I used that money. Finding $100 is just too rare a thing. I wondered if was counterfeit. I eventually went t...

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February 24, 2022 15 min

The idea of unconditional love is unknown to scammers, unless you're talking about a sucker's money. There's never a trick they aren't willing to perform for a treat -- except being told to "stay."

Doggone it, we should have seen it coming, but there's more involved than companionship. Our emotions get wrapped up and that makes us perfect suckers.

Listen in and we'll tell you how to protect yourself.

Co...

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Falling in love is a risk, but on Valentine's Day, we're all suckers. We're sharing our love by telling what to look out for.

A scammer's poem

Words of love from my keyboard make your heart take flight,

So don’t mistake my plea for money as a reason for fright.

My needs are genuine and my motives are clear, 

So please wire your money so I can disappear. 

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Season Two of Scams & Cons begins Feb. 10 with an episode on Valentine's Scams. It will be good to see you again, but don't feel as if you need to send flowers.

While we were putting that episode together, something caught our eye -- QR code scams. It requires no human interaction and there are only a few ways you can see it coming, so we decided to do this mini-episode telling you all about it.

XOXO

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Scams & Cons will be back with new episodes in February, but until then, we thought we’d share some information about the man pictured in the corner of our logo – Victor Lustig.

Lustig conned Al Capone and sold the Eiffel Tower twice. That's how he earned his corner seat. 

Other con artists have sold public monuments, so to tide you over until the new season, we’re sharing their stories.

Buy Me A Coffee

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I have sand between my toes, a perfectly positioned  chaise lounge and plenty of suntan lotion. It's a welcome break to mark the end of Season 1.

Fear not! I've already begun work on Season 2 with stories about ... well, listen in to this 3-minute episode where you can join me on the beach and I'll tell you all about it.

Until next year, be happy, healthy and watch out for scammers and con artists.

And stay safe.

P.S.  I ne...

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November 18, 2021 11 min

Carpenters need hammers and saws. Cooks need pots and pans. Con artists need a good story to tell and a mark to believe it.

In this episode, you’ll learn about the basic skills a con artist needs to succeed. Strap your tool holster on for this apprentice class on how to set up and execute a successful con.

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Don’t you just hate it when you come home from vacation to find that some scammer now owns your home? Or when con artists move in, and the law allows them to stay while you go through a long court battle to have them evicted?

House stealing is a real thing and it is frighteningly easy to do and once you learn how the scam is run, you’ll never want to leave home again.

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October 21, 2021 16 min

Science explains life's mysteries using procedures intended to weed out false results and outright lies. That process doesn't always work.

Don't worry, Scams & Cons is here to help. We'll tell you how fake science happens, the people who flush it out, why DNA evidence isn't that reliable and how Charlie Hatfield (maybe) made it rain.

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October 6, 2021 11 min

When tragedy strikes, you’re vulnerable and that makes you a prime target for con artists. Death is a time when we’re most vulnerable.

 Scammers sweep in to sell family history books, offers to bring your loved one back to life through cryogenics, and unneeded and expensive caskets that are destined for incineration. Even before death, scammers may sell you a pre-need policy, then disappear with your money, leaving your insurance wo...

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Some would say parking lots themselves are scams: $20 for two hours. Really?!!!

They are also places where, for at least a short time, you’re trapped. When backing out of your parking space, someone could rap on your window, and ask for money to buy food or for a bus ticket to get home. There is no escape and you must deal with the situation somehow.

There are many more scams that depend upon confronting you in vulnerable moment. In ...

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September 9, 2021 15 min

When the Trojans rolled the horse into their city, they thought they were claiming the spoils of war. Instead, it was a hoax that eventually allowed the Greeks to sneak in and destroy their city.

So, is a hoax a scam, or is it the other way around? Fortunately, Ian Keable stops by to sort it for us as we talk about the differences. His new book, The Century of Deception: The Birth of the Hoax in Eighteenth Century England, includes ...

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August 26, 2021 13 min

Admit it, you’ve played the game that asks “What would you do if you won a lottery?” The first step is to make sure you actually won a lottery.

Lottery scams abound. Some trick people into sending cash to cover a few fees and taxes before the winnings can be sent to them. Others approach actual winners as experienced, trusted advisors only to pad service fees. Then there are those who try to cheat the lottery itself by rigging the g...

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August 12, 2021 10 min

What’s the first thing you do when you trip on the sidewalk – you look around to see if anyone noticed and, if so, did they laugh.

But what if you were recorded comparing bits and pieces with someone on the internet? Maybe someone caught you with an illegal substance in your pocket or, as we describe in this episode, ride escalators in hopes that someone will take an upskirt photo of you.

 This is the badger game. You can call it ext...

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July 29, 2021 10 min

Impersonators hide in plain sight. They tell you who they are and back up their claims. Trusting soul that you are, you think, “why would they lie?”

They lie because they want your money and they use other people’s credibility to gain your trust.

Some of these scams are relatively harmless. The con gets a free meal, maybe a hotel room or some other relatively low-value prize. 

Other impersonators go for big treasure. They pretend to b...

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