The Con: How Scams Work, Why You're Vulnerable, and How to Protect Yourself

The Con: How Scams Work, Why You're Vulnerable, and How to Protect Yourself

James Munton, Jelita McLeod

Language: English

Pages: 190

ISBN: 1442207310

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


No one thinks it can happen to them, but Americans are 40 times more likely to be defrauded than to have their cars stolen or their homes burgled. Con artists ruin people financially and emotionally, leaving in their wake a trail of destruction, broken hearts, and deflated dreams. The first step to combating fraud is to understand it. What do scams look like? Why are they effective? The next step is to take action. How can we protect ourselves and our families? The Con: How Scams Work, Why You're Vulnerable, and How to Protect Yourself informs and engages with accessible stories of ordinary people from all walks of life thrown into unexpected and disorienting circumstances. The book goes behind the scenes of real-world cons to examine the logistics and psychology that enable scams to succeed. The goal is to help people understand and recognize deception, and in the same way that they avoid other potentially dangerous situations, take a detour. Once readers gain a clear idea of what scams look and sound like and learned simple strategies to reduce personal risk, protecting themselves will be just as instinctive as putting on a seat belt.

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a threat to cut off service. Buy, Buy, Buy “I had a job one summer in college selling encyclopedias door to door,” says Jun. “And in hindsight, it was probably some kind of scam too,” he decides. “But I thought it was an honest job. I was always polite, never aggressive. What happened to my folks, I never could have imagined it.” Jun’s parents, the Chongs, live in a predominantly Chinese neighborhood in New York. Their English is limited, but one day they opened their door to a young Chinese man

makes the Internet a treasure trove for con artists. It provides camouflage, speed, and access to millions. There are several ways to scam people through social networks. Hijacking accounts like Gina’s is a popular ploy. Other cons have also migrated to social networking sites, and con artists don’t need to be hackers in order to reach victims. Many people allow their information to be accessible, if not to the general public, then to a smaller, but significantly large number of people—for

sporadically and rarely surfed the Web. Then her daughter Hazel showed her a magazine article about online dating. “It talked about how older folks were also using the Internet to meet people. I started to think, hey, maybe it’s not such a bad idea. I already had the computer. Might as well put it to some good use. Hazel set me up with an account on one of the dating sites. We worked on my profile together. I said I was just looking for friendship, which was true. She took a photo of me and we

expensive. “The cashier has Brianne’s phone number, but I’m the one who found the ring, so I say, how about we call the owner and split the reward? The only thing is, I’m on my way to work and I can’t hang around long. Nine times out of 10, the cashier will offer to buy me out of my share of the reward. It’s not unusual for them to offer me a hundred bucks. They’re thinking one of two things. Either they’re going to call Brianne and tell her they found the ring, or they’re planning on selling the

a payment. As each new level of recruits is added on, the structure takes on the shape of a pyramid, with people paying out to their “upline,” individuals further up the pyramid. The premise usually involves the sale of a product, but unlike legitimate organizations, companies or individuals engaged in pyramid schemes do not sell their products to the general public. Rather, when sales do take place—and they don’t always—the products are sold to other members of the pyramid scheme, who are often

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