Scams

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Archive for the ‘scams’ Category

The Melon Drop Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: First, a word about the name Melon Drop Scam. You may or may not have been aware that at one time, melons were selling for more than £40 each – in Tokyo. Armed with this knowledge, enterprising British scammers, while holding a melon, would orchestrate an accidental-on-purpose “bump” into a sightseeing Japanese tourist. To the mark, the value of the melon that just fell to the ground and shattered was….£40! They would, of course, accept responsibility for the “accident” and compensate our hustler accordingly.

That scam has morphed itself into a much broader hustle. Now, a lovely lady scammer practices her nefarious trade using more common valuables, and on a much wider sample of folks walking the streets.

The Mark: Usually a male (remember, our scammer is a fetching female) who is well-dressed, walking in an up-market part of the city. He looks like he would want to avoid a scene, and he looks like he has a few pounds in his pocket as well.

The Scam: There are three distinct phases to this scam: the “bump”; the “apology”; and the “appeal.” Here’s how it works:

While walking in an area of high-end shops, our scammer is carrying a wrapped present, which ostensibly contains an expensive vase. In truth, the present contains nothing but broken glass, which has been packaged and festively wrapped during the set-up phase of the sting.

When an appropriate mark is spied, she positions herself so that she is walking in front of him, and at a slower rate of speed. As the mark comes to a position just behind and to the side, our scammer abruptly stops and turns – forcing the mark to bump into her.

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The bluetooth hack

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The Bluetooth Hack. You may have never heard of the term “blue-jacking”, and you certainly hope you are never its victim. When your phone is blue-jacked, a scammer can take control of your mobile and use it to make himself quite a handsome payday, indeed.

The Mark: Any owner of a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone – if he has forgotten to disable the Bluetooth when he is not using it. As is typical, a mark is someone who is too lazy, or too careless, or too just-plain uninformed. Visitors to this site have no such excuse.

The Scam: The piece of equipment that is key to pulling off this scam is a mobile pocket PC, set up to hunt for a blue-tooth connection. Due to a flaw in many Bluetooth enabled mobile phones, a remote mobile looking for a signal can actually pick up the signal of another nearby mobile. This defect is the only crack in the armor our modern-day cons need to exploit your phone, and your wallet.

Our scammer works in any crowded public place, seemingly intent on his pocket PC, but in reality searching for a signal to blue-jack. When he finds one, he has two jobs: one is to stay in range so he can control the hijacked phone; the other is to use his PC to make a call on the hijacked line. This is where the hustler stuffs his pockets.

Prior to instituting the scam, our con men have set up a premium-rate telephone line, which will charge those who call the line £1.50 per minute of call time. So all our hustler has to do, whilst in range of the mark’s phone, is dial up the premium-rate line using the mark’s connection and keep that connection going as long as possible. Every minute that goes by makes him a little richer.

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The Counterfeit Cash Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The Counterfeit Cash Scam involves some deft sleight-of-hand to put the dip on shopkeepers and clerks. Though trained to spot counterfeits, these clerks are badly fooled by our resourceful con, and are duped in accepting notes from the scammer that were printed by, shall we say, less than reputable sources.

The Mark: Any shopkeeper or clerk can become a victim of this scam. If you handle money and operate a cash register, hustlers see you as a potential mark.

The Scam: Loaded with a pocketful of phony £20 notes, our hustler takes to the street in search of a likely mark; a clerk in a convenience store or any small shopkeeper. He casually picks up some small items at the counter – gum perhaps, or mints. But he also picks up something a bit larger, like a cheap DVD so frequently positioned right near the register as an impulse purchase.

The purchase of the DVD is a key step, because it will eventually serve to conceal the actions of the con.

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The Hired Car Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: Breathtakingly devious, The Hire-Car Scam is a straight greed play. When an almost-brand-new car is offered at a deep discount, the marks line up to hand over their cash; but if this car was going to be their ride, they may as well start walking right now.

The Marks: They just cannot resist this bargain. The car is so underpriced that they should have been suspicious from the outset – but greed blinds a man to reason, and they wind up with no car – and quite a bit lighter in the pocket as well.

The Scam: Our scam begins with our team of professional hustlers renting a sleek new car for a day. Quickly, they begin removing all vestiges that the car is a hire; documents come out of the glove box, rental agency tags are removed from the key chain and all decals are peeled off the body.

Bringing the car to a vacant house that they have acquired for the day, they proceed to make the house look lived in by scattering toys about and leaving a tricycle in the driveway. It is important that the marks feel a sense of permanence about the place, and there’s no better way to accomplish this than to portray the place as home to a young family.

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Poker Scams

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The Poker Scam requires some sleight of hand, but nothing so difficult that a small gang of determined hustlers couldn’t pull it off with a moderate amount of practice. When a rigged deck of cards is smuggled into the game, the odds against you go off the charts. Then your chips go off the table – right into the scammers’ pockets.

The Mark: Anyone that likes to sit down for a few hands of cards with a bit of high wagering could be a victim. If you’re not suspecting anything, and our hustlers have a deft touch, you haven’t got a chance.

The Scam: Our scammers have taken what is called a “cold deck”, and set it up so that it deals a winning hand to the player of their choice; this is done in secret, before the other players arrive. First, the hands are created, face up, around the table. The cards are carefully arranged to achieve the desired result, with certain players dealt bad cards so that they will fold, and others dealt cards just good enough to keep them in the hand and betting generously. Of course, the winning hand is reserved for one of the two scammers sitting at around the table. The cards are then restacked to achieve the desired result and placed in the possession of a female “smuggler” – this can be done with more than one deck, but not so many as to raise suspicions.

Our two scam artists play their regular brand of poker for the better part of the evening; maybe winning a bit, maybe losing a bit, but all the while angling for the fantastic run of “luck” that they know is yet to come. Our female hustler is playing a role too, most frequently as a cocktail waitress, regularly walking into the poker den with her notepad in hand to take orders. It is imperative that the players become quite comfortable with her movements in and out of the room, since she is also playing the role of the aforementioned “smuggler” – and special attention is the last thing she wants.

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The Postman Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The Postman Scam is merely a clever twist on the normal workings of a ring of pickpockets. The primary goal of our gang is simple: NEVER GET CAUGHT! Elaborate schemes to divest themselves of stolen property lowers the odds of them getting pinched – so that they can continue to put the pinch on other unsuspecting marks.

The Mark: A man or woman standing in a queue at a public place, perhaps daydreaming about last weekend’s activities, tonight’s dinner, or next month’s holiday. Sadly, because our mark is not paying attention to her surroundings, it may not only cost her a purse or wallet, it may cost her dearly in time, money and aggravation. Not to mention the frustration attached to knowing she was the victim of a very preventable crime.

The Scam: Three scammers are working today’s mark, an unsuspecting woman standing in line at a bus stop. Our first hustler is directly behind the victim, wearing an overcoat against the chill, with her hands thrust firmly into her pockets. But wait – are they both really in her pockets? An examination will reveal that her coat is set up to facilitate the “dip,” since one of the arms and hands in her coat is phony, leaving her a free hand hidden safely within the coat next to her body. Done correctly, nobody will see anything unusual – our hustlers “hands” never leave the warmth of the coat pocket.

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The Black Money Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The Black Money Scam is one of the truly unique hustles. Our gang is selling “canceled” £10 notes – overprints that the English mint is sending to be burned, but which must first be “canceled” by painting it with an indelible black ink. This ink, of course, cannot be removed – or can it?

The Mark: This sting is effective across a wide swath of the population, particularly with young people in debt. It is the promise of easy money – the prospect of turning £30 into £100, over and over again – that lures otherwise sensible individuals into falling for a scam which is, of course, too good to be true. They try to remove the black ink, and wind up swimming in red ink.

The Scam: We find our gang set up in a tent at a U.K. Car Boot Sale, a popular location for scam artists, dipsters and hustlers. The gang has carefully prepared a supply of £10 “notes”, inked completely black so that no printing may be seen beneath the ebony covering. Of course, these are merely blank pieces of paper, carefully cut to be the exact size of a genuine note. And when they are artfully pitched as a windfall to our greedy marks, they will fetch many a real ten pound note in return.

The crowd gathers before a table manned by our scammer, upon which are stacks of black notes bundled together in lots of ten. Also on the table are an inexpensive, plain, printer’s ink roller and some ordinary, lemon-smelling, cleaning liquid. The hustle begins in the form of an explanation to the rapt audience. “When the English mint,” begins our hustler, “prints too many notes, they must send the excess off to be burned…” So begins this improbable tale. He explains how he and his compatriots have “accidentally” come upon a van full of these notes, and further, they have developed a “solution” that will quickly and easily remove the ink from the perfectly genuine – not counterfeit, merely “canceled” – £10 note.

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The Ring Reward Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The Ring Reward Scam taps a single mark for some serious money with a practically worthless bauble. A “lost and found” scam, it intricately sets up an unsuspecting barman with an eye for both the ladies and a few hundred suspiciously-gotten pounds. When he fronts reward money to the finders of a lost “diamond” he finds himself the victim of a real hustle.

The Mark: A local bartender in a quiet pub, lazily going about his business, setting up for the night’s trade. This turns out to be one mark we cannot feel too sorry for, since it is not only his greed that winds up costing him dearly – but also his dishonesty.

The Scam: The setup for this hustle starts with the purchase of a seemingly expensive ring, but which is actually a cheap piece of costume jewelry worth no more than £5. In the hands of a seasoned scammer, this junk will be passed off as a genuine diamond ring worth more than £3,000!

The sting starts with a fetching female scam artist, the owner of the “diamond” ring, walking into a pub on a quiet afternoon, and striking up a conversation with the bartender. After asking him to make change of a £50 note (to establish herself as a woman of some means), she casually mentions that the fifty is a birthday present – today is her 21st birthday! – and that she is waiting to meet a friend. In the world of hustlers and scam artists, however, there are no real friends. She is waiting to meet an accomplice – another striking female – and together they will set what’s known as The Honeytrap.

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The Mind My Bag Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: The Mind My Bag Scam is merely another way scammers use misdirection to distract the mark and lift his valuables. Asking someone to keep an eye on your things means he’s keeping less of an eye on his own; and this particular scam throws in a twist that renders the mark almost completely vulnerable – and quite a bit poorer in the end.

The Mark: If you’ve been paying attention to this site, you know that all too often when we are talking about a mark we are using the phrase Good Samaritan. Sadly, that is the case once again with this scam. The mark is doing only what any responsible, well-intentioned citizen would do when asked – helping a fellow human being who seems to need a little bit of assistance. Little does he know that our scammers are counting on his good intentions for the hustle to work properly and his kindness will cost him dearly.

The Scam: Our swindlers, two men and a woman, are arrayed at three separate tables in a café. The mark, who has his laptop slung onto the back of his chair, is minding his own business, oblivious to the fact that before he even finishes his cup of tea, he will be missing his computer and all its precious files.

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Fairground Scams

Posted by Awareness


The Definition: For all of our adult lives, The Fairground Scam is one that most of us have secretly suspected existed. We have all tried our luck at these games in order to win “valuable” prizes – but in reality, we have probably never seen anybody walk away with that giant stuffed toy on the top shelf, have we? There is a good reason for that – they are often almost impossible to win.

The Mark: Any guy or girl out for a good time at the fair. Usually it is a young gentleman who wants to show off his prowess in games of skill and chance, and along the way win a prize for his fair beauty. We hope our mark has come prepared to lose his money – because the best bet on the midway is that he’s going to.

The Scam: The ways that scammers dupe marks at the fairground are as many and varied as the games of chance themselves. Today, we shall take a quick look at the “pop the balloon” game.

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