First rule of the con.
“Find somebody who wants something for nothing, then give him nothing for something”
Cons are all around us. Some are obvious. (Or at least I hope this is obvious…) Like buying a “Perfect replica!” of a 1.8 million dollar car for “THE LOW LOW PRICE OF ONLY $49,000!!!!!!!!” This is what the completely legitimate, nothing fishy here, company called Super Replicas (Aka Top Gear Replicas, aka Top Gear Carbon Copies, aka We Seem Totally Legit Right?) is offering.
Side Note: I use sarcasm a bit but I realize in text it maybe a little hard to follow so anything in italics is sarcasm or hyperbole.
Now at first you should be thinking to yourself “Does this seem too good to be true? Why yes self! It does!” Most good confidence schemes will understand for any con to work they have to convince that side of you that it is both too good to be true and yet also true at the same time. Let me show you.
Random Person: Hey there, hold up.
You: What’s up?
Random Person: Can I give you $100?
You: Sure.. What’s the catch?
Random Person: No catch. I just want to give you $100.
Random Person: Well I just inherited a lot of money and one of the terms is that I give half of it away so I’m giving random people $100 in hopes it will make their day.
Right about now your subconscious should be trying to convince you that this might be legit. Heck you might even be starting to figure out how you would spend this $100. Cons come in many shapes, sizes and from people you might never expect would try to con you. My example is obviously a little ridiculous and in the same league of “Make $11,420/Month from your home now! As Seen on CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX!!!” but people fall for stuff like this all the time. And just in case you are wondering a good next move for the con artist would be to have thought up a company that could get this money out to people in need. Either getting you to put seed money in to start the business or having you go out and get more investors. That’s only one possibility, con artists have many cons at their disposal at any point in time.
The Snatch and Grab Vs The Long Con
Some cons don’t care about taking millions of dollars from one person. Getting 5,000 people to pay “$9.95 plus shipping and handling for this amazing limited time offer for a packet on how you too can make millions in the real estate market!” gets them their money too.
Some things are out right thievery. Imagine if that camera you’ve always wanted that regularly sells for $1200 is online for $350. While looking for cameras over the years I came across a few websites that claimed just this. Many of them were based out of Nevada and would sell me my dream camera for a fraction of the price. Brand new. No catch (or so they said.)
So what did I do? I searched for the name of the company or website with ‘scam’ behind it in Google and got countless stories of people ordering gear having their credit card numbers stolen, maxed out, and the company shutting down within a month, usually reopening soon there after under a different name. Again. If it seems too good to be true it usually is.
The long con is more likely something that would affect the wealthy and powerful. From investing in hotels, casinos, airlines to having an ‘in’ on the stock market that allows you to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in a day. They are all lies. (Except for the stock market one, but that will land you in Federal Prison so best to stay away from it.)
These cons usually require the con artists to invest some money. If someone will give you, the mark, money; then you are more likely to trust them. As a result, a little bit of money up front from the con artist is seen as an investment. And these investments pay off. Big time.
Con artist are smart at getting money though, and they don’t really care who gives it to them. It doesn’t matter to them if you are very wealthy, if you are willing to give them the money they want, then you are the mark. Sometimes they don’t even need to give you money to get your hard-earned cash. Be smarter. If something is too good to be true, if someone is offering you something for nothing, walk away.
Until The Fat Lady Sings
I should probably state right about now that I am not a con artist. I don’t know all the tricks but I’ve seen people fall for cons over the years I feel like its something people need to be made aware of. Cons don’t work on honest people… Usually. (It’s probably important to mention that it was a con artist that said this. So take it with a grain of salt.)
They work on people trying to make something from nothing and people who are naive. So realize the only reliable way to make a lot of money from home is working hard. You can make money on the stock market but there is always a risk. Flipping homes can make you money but it usually requires a decent amount of money and hard work first. You are at the mercy of the market and a lot of research can be the difference between making money and going broke. If something works on a pyramid structure (you make money if more people join because of you and you need lots of people under you to make any real money) it’s a scam.
Let me repeat that, because I think some people might have missed it. If a business venture works off a pyramid structure, it’s a scam.
From selling stuff from your house to doing work online. More often than not, they are scams. Just try Googling “Make money online.” Now you have a list of scams and sites not to trust.
Common sense goes a long way. Watching shows like White Collar, Hustle, and The Real Hustle. Unfortunately, The Real Hustle doesn’t appear to be streaming anywhere legally in the US but they have a decent number of clips on their YouTube channel. I suggest watching some because these shows can help to open your eyes. They are also great shows. So there’s that too.
Here is a really good reason to not let random strangers borrow your phone, for example. (It’s probably important to note that this scam does in fact work on honest, albeit naive, people.)
This is hardly the end. Cons are only one way people are being unfairly being robbed. I hope to start a series that will talk more about this and ways to protect yourself.