Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Playgrounds for Scam Artists

--Many and Varied are the Playgrounds Upon Which Scam Artists Conduct Their Con Games--Are you Ever Tempted to Join in on the Fun?

Fraklin's Rule hits this theme right on the head: Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed. But, more likely it is that most people will follow this slightly altered version: If you started out with nothing, and still have most of it left, you might be tempted.

What are these scam artists' games? Here is the basic menu--26 playground areas for you, as the victim, to swallow--or reject:

> Home improvement frauds. Termites you don't have. Other phantom pests. Recommendations by phony city inspectors. Marriage is said to be made in heaven; so is thunder and lightening. These scams are some of the latter.

> Phony bank examiners. Soliciting your "cooperation" in tracking down dishonest employees, misplaced funds, etc. Trying to justify these is like watching a foreign film without subtitles.

> Phony legal threats for non-cooperation with F.B.I., refusal of jury service, etc. Your reactions can run the gamut. At one extreme, you can ignore or report to the police. At the other you can completely succumb in a panic, by going to your court house steps and protest by setting yourself on fire.

> Vending machines. Easy to unload. Great sales appeal. Just park the machines; they will work for you; all you have to do is empty the machines of their cash, bank the money and get rich. The con man worships such post-scam activities as a government bureaucrat worships operational mediocrity.

> Investments, franchises, land frauds. Most common. Most overdone. Most profitable for the con man. Suckers are baited with these lures over and over and over again. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets annoying. Better to walk away, back turned.

> Inventions. The person who has invented a revolutionary toothpick rotator device in his garage usually knows less than nothing about marketing. These scam artists, therefore, crawl out from under their rocks to "show him the way." For a small fee, of course.

> Work-at-home. Sit home, stuff envelopes on your kitchen table, and make a fortune. Popular appeal. Schizophrenia beats being alone.

> Phony degrees. Covered thoroughly in our article, How to Earn a College Degree Without Earning a College Degree. Appeal to vanity,and ease-of-achievement. Check the Archives.

> Postal frauds, chain letters. Old as the hills. Still work. Suckers jump. All we can say is: A thing not worth doing is not worth doing well.

> Unordered merchandise. Letting yourself get suckered in to accepting these would be like shooting yourself in the head to stop a headache.

> Charity rackets. Total of 90% of some charitable donations go to decorate the linings of the con man's pockets. Stick to the charities you know.

> Computer dating. Incubator for lots of sparks. First off, a computer makes as many mistakes in 2 seconds as 20 people working 20 years. Secondly, men can't be sexist; broads hate that. Third up, it confuses men about their manhood, and, it makes broads fret And hell hath no fury like a fretting broad.

> Debt consolidation. These are convoluted, complex formulas designed to delay and confuse. Remember, the longer you wait in line , the more likely it is to be the wrong line.

> Dance Lessons. After 60 years Arthur Murray's footprints still loom large. And, a natural urge ever persists to be Gene Kelly dancing in the rain. Go slow though. If you are a slow-footed klutz who can barely walk straight, you would be wasting your money.

> Freezer plans. Fifty years ago these were popular. Today they rank with the boldest of out-and-out frauds. Don't touch. To err is human; to eat a muskrat is not.

> Psychic fraud. Aimed at those who have to study to become a half-wit.

> Health clubs. Great appeal, both legitimate and illegitimate. But, always consider: If God wanted us to fly coach, he would have made us narrower.

> Employment. Dangerous. Too much personal information is required for resume filing.

> Lonely Hearts. For women, you might like him, but still not want to see him work with sub-atomic particles. For men, you might like her, but not want to see her win crocheting awards.

> Medical quackery. You cannot produce a baby in 1 month by impregnating 9 women Yet, much of the medical quackery out there is of similar lunacy.

> Missing heirs and inheritance scams. check the Archives for our article on inheritance scams It was popular, revealing.

> Referral Sales. Easy way to make millions, huh? Sure When you see this one, tell yourself: There is no time like the present to postpone or cancel a decision.

> Lonely hearts. Men emanating a piney scent, wishing to smell masculine, and ladies marinating in strong perfume, make up the bulk of this huge, huge,market.

> Talent scouts. Vanity appeal. Before jumping into this, ask yourself: If a fool and his money are soon parted, how did a fool and his money get together in the first place?

> Self-published books. If a book about failure doesn't sell, is it a success?

> Anti-aging devices and products. Time may be a great healer, but a lousy beautician.

Now, in confronting all of this you must face a typical bean-bag reality: If your shadow stops doing what you're doing, look out. It means, simply, your common sense has taken a vacation, and a shroud of illogic is taking over.

You can counter this by adhering to one solid principle:

When in doubt, procrastinate--until all of these "opportunities" pass you by.


Terry said...

Nice year-end review, Jack...it seems to cover the waterfront.

Ione Hesber said...

It is nice to see you back, Jack. Its been so long since the last post that I began to think that you had retired again and forgotten about all of us. There are a lot of things to ponder as the New Year appoaches, and the threats of fincancial disaster in the economy are all around us. Its times like these that all the scum seem to crawl out from under their rocks to take advantage.

Doug F. said...

I must say I have been disgruntled and upset at times due to terrible things that have happened to me, but I have never been so upset that I wanted to protest by setting myself on fire.

Waren M said...

Debt consolidation is the biggest fraud of them all as far as I am concerned. Have you seen how much personal information they want in order to bail you out? Look out.

David H. said...

Jack, do you think Bernie Madoff will start a blog next year to compete with yours? I wish you a happy, healthy 2009.

Warren M said...

Vending machines are the biggest racket of them all. My nephew got stuck with $10,000 worth of these things with the promise that he'd get rich just emptying the machines and banking huge profits. Naturally, he went bust instead.

Jack Payne said...

You are right, Ione. There are a lot of threats of financial disaster in the air these days.

If you're not a terrorist I don't think there are too many people who would consider setting themselves on fire, Doug.

Bernie Madoff will probably have lots of time to devote to building a blog, David. Most Federal slammers have computers for the entertainment and amusement of their inmates.

What's going on with you, Warren? You post twice, and even misspell your own name on one. Or, could there be another Waren M? Ah, the sweet mysteries of life.

Bern said...

Men emenating a piney scent and women marinating in strong perfume. These sound like intriguing people, do they not?

Lynn said...

Fake colllege degrees, in which the buyers of these fall right in with and go along with the purveyors of these, are among the most insidious scams of them all.

Gene Kranik said...

Just wanted to wish you and everybody a Happy New Year's Eve.
Watch out for some new fired-up scams next year...but today watch out for Police DUI check points.

Stan's DartBoard said...

I like your advice, when in doubt, procrastinate. When it comes to the danger of getting involved in scams this is good advice. I am very good at procrastination.

Andy D said...

So, you're saying that if I want to impregnate nine women to get a baby in 1 month this is not possible? I'm disappointed. I had my heart set on it.

Angie said...

So, while sitting home alone on New Year's Eve I am supposed to be scared out of my wits about what con men can do to me? I agree. I am scared out of my wits. Now, I can only go to bed the same way, scared out of my wits. Great welcome for the new year.

Earl T. Clydson said...

When you think about scams in general its easy to merely yawn and tell youself that you have a good handle on everything and these can't happen to you.

Then you see a list like this and realize all the sides and angles these con artists can use to come at you, and it makes you think twice.

I for one appreciate this kind of information.

Kathleen said...

Happy New Year to you! I honestly did not know that vending machine business pushers were on the list, but it makes sense. I guess if you build your own...lol.

Hope Riggers said...

My son got stuck with a lifetime supply of cheaply made, shoddy vending machines, Kathleen. They are junk. Our basement is full of them. I've been just sick over how my son was taken by these hot shots and all the money he lost.

Terry said...

If God wanted us to fly coach he would have made us narrower...that is a line I love, Jack.

Jack Payne said...

Yeah, Bern, when you get into the introductions realm of the internet--for social purposes--you get to meet a lot of strange people.

You are right, Lynn. the purhasers of these fake college degrees are just as guilty of fraud as the people selling them.

Sad to say, Gene, but the fact of our current economic collapse insures an uptick in con man shenanigans this new year. They will be out in force to take full advantage of all the misery over personal finances that they can find. Count on it.

Jack Payne said...

Stan, practiced procrastination is a true art form.

Andy, I'm glad to see you are straightened away. It's one woman at a time; one baby at a time.

I hope you didn't get up on New Year's Day scared out of you wits, Angie. You gotta start out clean and hopeful, somewhere along the line.

Jack Payne said...

Yes, Kathleen, be very careful of vending machine deals. Observe closely Hope's recounting of her son's experience, right below your entry. It tells the story.


Thank goodness I am a procrastinator as I have fallen on a few of these but pass most by. Love stopping by here and am always entertained. I think I have said before how much I enjoy your style of writing. You would be fun to sit down and have coffee with. Have a Happy New Year and I look forward to many more posts!

Roy said...

Where would the scam business be without home improvement frauds? I can see these growing again, as they are supposed to have during the last Great Depression.

Robin Easton said...

WOW! What a great year end wrap Jack. As I was reading this I could hardly believe some of the insane scams people do...and yet I receive them all the time via email. I'll tell you this: you writing has really educated me more than anything else I've ever read about scams. AND you have made me laugh all the way. I mean, tears rolling down laughter. Your delightful, insightful and so very kind ways have touched me deeply over this last year. You have helped me so many times. You are a real joy to know Jack. Hugs, Robin

Anna Lefler said...

What a great post! So much to peruse...

So happy to have you stop by my blog today - thanks!

And happy 2009.

:^) Anna

robingreen said...

Some of these I have not heard about yet. It just boggles the mind what people will do to take advantage of others.

David, I hope Bernie Madoff is in jail where he belongs. If he does set one up, he surely want use his real name or picture.

Another con artist to look out for online in the near future. LOL

roentarre said...

Spot on with your words. I love the writing and it helps me to ease the frustration with legal people in general.

The Muse said...

Thanks for pausing by my blog :) eerie? LOL well yes, it may have been a bit ! :)

mike allen said...

I agree, the best advice being to procrastinate and let the so-called opportunities pass you by.

Great reading. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you :) take a look this emo boy hair on this blog:

Fake Transcript said...

Nice Blog....

Anonymous said...

Nur wenn man dran glaubt..