Boat Rides

Name
Boat Rides

AKA
Fictional Tours

The Mark
Tourists

The Con
This scam can happen in any tourist city if it happens to be near a river. People offer tours around the city on their boat, seeing the sights. These are often legitimate businesses offering nice city tours.

The con man will set up a stall, near a few boats, that has a lot of foot traffic. The Con Man sells these tours at a very competitive price. After purchasing a ticket the marks are told to come back in a few hours for the tour, and the Con Man points to the boat to meet at.

The people turn up, the Con Man does not. The Con Man just points at a random boat, and hands out self printed tickets.

The Score
£10 - £100 depending on local prices.

How to avoid being scammed?
The internet is your friend, you can check for reviews, and see if the ticket seller is legitimate.

Light Bulb Salesman

Name
Lightbulb Salesman

AKA
Replacement Scam

The Mark
Homeowners

The Con
You get a knock on your door and open to see a man in a uniform for a handy service company. He says he has been doing work down the road and has a lot of spare bulbs. If they like, the man will change all the bulbs in their house for £10.

You give him £10 and he changes all of the bulbs and goes on his way.

What you don't know is that the bulbs are actually not new. But what you are even less likely to know is that they are in fact your neighbors bulbs.

The con man starts off will some old bulbs, then goes door to door exchanging old bulbs for other old bulbs, getting £10 at each house. This scam might not even register as being a con, as the bulbs might take a long time to blow.

Variations
This can be done with any household item that has a life spawn that warrants replacing.

The Score
£10 for every house that agrees.

How to avoid being scammed?
Just knowing about this scam is enough to be able to catch the signs of a con artist. Be wary any time someone knocks on your door to offer something. Remember they are looking for money, but you are not looking for whatever service or item they offer.

 

The Old Fiddle

Name
The Old Fiddle

Aka
Dog in the bar, prize dog

The Setup
A man walks into a bar, he doesn't look very 'well to do'. He orders a drink and realises he can't afford to pay for it. He says to the barman he will go get the money, but leave his fiddle as a deposit. He exits and leaves the fiddle behind.

He eventually comes back and goes to pay for his drink. The barman being a nice guys offers to buy his fiddle from him, and for a good price. They barter for a while, as the man doesn't really want to sell it, but decides in the end he needs to. The barman gives him a whopping £300.

The Con
So where is the con, after all the barman offered to buy the fiddle for that price. You may have guessed that the fiddle is worth nothing. But why did the barman offer to buy it in the first place. Well to answer that we have to find out what happened after the man left, but before he returned.

Enter con artist number two. They enter the bar and notice the fiddle. They ask if it is the barman's. After learning it isn't his, the con man leaves their business card telling the barman they will buy this fiddle off of the owner for £2000 and leaves.

When the first con man returns, the greedy barman offers to buy the fiddle at a hugely reduced price. Once the purchase is made and the man leaves with his money, he calls the number on the card which rings a disconnected number.

This scam can be preformed in any communal location, and with any object. Famously done with a dog in a bar.

The Score
Depending on how greedy the barman is, anywhere between £50 - £500

How to avoid being scammed
This scam works on the greed of the barman. Morale of the story, don't be greedy.

 

Bowling Ball Swing

Name
Bowling Ball Swing

AKA
Pendulum Game

The Setup
This is a game usually seen at traveling carnivals and funfairs. A game is set up where a bowling ball is suspended from the roof, a few centimetres from the floor. In front of the bowling ball is a pin (or a bottle). The aim of the game is to knock over the pin by swinging the bowling ball. Only catch, they must swing the ball around the pin, and hit it on the back swing. You must arc the ball, hitting it straight on, doesn't count.

The Con
This might seem like a fun game, but it actually can't be done. As the ball swings past to the left on the throw forward by a certain margin, it will also miss by the same margin on the right as it swings on the way back.

The con man may 'show' you how it is done, but in this case the pin has been placed off centre making the shot possible.

The Score
Usually not more than anything over £5 per person, but depends on the scammer and how addicted the mark becomes.

How to avoid being scammed
If you ever see a game like this, ask to see if it can actually be done. Then pay close attention to how the game is set up, there will be a sleight difference between your turn and the scammers. When it comes to your turn, ask the con artist to move the pin, as you think it wasn't quite the same. They won't want to play will you after that.

Greek Return

Name
Greek Return

Aka
Return fraud

Mark
Retailers

The Scam
You work behind the customer service desk, a customer bring up an item, hands you the receipt and asks for a refund. You give him cash and he leaves on his merry way.

So when does the scam actually start you may be asking. Well he just got money back on an item he never purchased. The start of this scam isn't very glamourous, the con-man will have to find a used receipt, this could just be lying around, or could even be found in a bin. Once a receipt is acquired, the con-man goes into the store and finds an item that is listed on the receipt. Now all the con-man has to do is make sure no one is looking, and take the item to customer services. Free Cash

Take
£5 - £100 But could be more, if you have the guts and the luck.

How to avoid being scammed
This scam is hard to beat, but vigilance will help fight it. Common customer service question will help, such as 'was there anything wrong with the product?', 'would you like an alternative?'. The answers will often be unusual or vague. Good stock keeping can help to, you'll notice if something is missing.

 

Evil Twins

Name
Evil Twins

Aka
Look-A-like Hotspots

Victims
Public WiFi users

The Con
You've spent a morning shopping, and decided to get a coffee and check your emails. You go into a local coffee shop, lets call it 'Bart's'. You look up the availably WiFi options and find that Bart's has it's own Wifi. For only £1 you can browse all day. You enter your details and go about your day. A few days pass and you have no money in your account.

So what happened? Well Bart's doesn't offer WiFi, Bart's sucked the money out of your account. The Con-man has set up a WiFi spot near by, called it 'Bart's WiFi' and put it behind a pay wall. This part is actually fair, stealing your card details and draining your account isn't quite as fair.

The Score
Credit card numbers, identity theft and bank account information.

How to avoid being scammed
Ask the staff if they have Wifi, they'll direct you to the right one. If in doubt, don't use any Wifi spot you're not familiar with. Would you give a stranger your credit card to hold? Unsecure connections are just the same.

 

Coin Collector Scam

Name
Coin Collector Scam

Aka
Value inflating.

Marks
Inexperienced collectors

The Con
Imagine someone tries to sell a perfume. It has a foreign name, and smells nice, so you purchase it for your mother's birthday, and at only £20 it's a bargain, and Au De Toilet usually sells for £55! (apparently) This might sound obvious but this scam comes in a number of different forms but always has the same core method. The Con-man convinces the mark to buy something that they don't know much about, but sounds like an incredible deal.

Originally a coin of significant value is sold to someone that knows nothing about antique coins, and as the owner needs a quick sale the mark can gain the profit. When they try and sell it, they find out it is worthless.

Don't think this would happen to you? How many things have you purchased that you don't have a 100% understanding of? Probably everything (I am fairly sure phones work on magic). You assume you aren't getting conned because you are in a shop, or trust the seller. So watch out, especially on sites like eBay. A seller will use several accounts to sell an item at an inflated price. When you search for the item, all the prices you see are inflated prices, therefore you assume that is how much it costs.

The Score
Usually under £200, but there really is no limit.

How to avoid being scammed
Being aware and always check multiple shops/websites for price comparisons and reviews.

 

Charity Collectors

Name
Charity Collectors

Aka
Cheggars (Charity Beggars) or Chuggers (Charity Muggers)

Marks
Charitable People

The Con
The con-man pretends to be raising money for charity by collecting donations. They get the mark to either give money there and then, or sign up to a pay monthly system. The con-man will just keep the money, not giving any to charity.


Commision Chuggars: This scam has a nasty cousin, mainly because it is actually legal. If you were to ask the con-man for his charity number, he would have to lie. Commission collectors actually do give money to charity, and have legitimate charity numbers. BUT they likely give less than 20% to the actually charity. The rest of the money goes to the organisation that runs the collection, and the collectors themselves (commission based).

The Score
Depends on how charitable you are.

How to be abode being scammed?
This scam can be stopped by a couple questions. Firstly ask for a charity number and check there credentials. Secondly, ask what percentage goes to the charity, and where does the other portion of the money go.
Final note, if unsure, just ask for information about the charity and find another way to donate.

Buy A Star

Name
Buy A Star

Aka
RegiSTAR

The Mark
Present buyers

The Con
Not sure what to buy for someone's birthday? (Or any other day for that matter) You could buy someone their very own star! Send in the name you'd like the star to be known as, and a little bit if cash of course. Receive a certificate showing where it is in the sky, and it's new official name!

Not too much to this scam other than the fact that a star can't be owned. There are also clever terms and conditions that make this scam totally legal. All you are really receiving is a piece of paper.

The Score
Around £20 - £40 per star

How to avoid being scammed?
Easy! Don't buy a star. But if you really want one, send me an email, I promise to beat anyone else's prices!

Bar Code Switch

Name
Bar Code Switch

Aka
Price (tag) fixing

Marks
Big retail shops with large range of products

The Con
This is a very simple scam where the bar codes of two items are switched. A DVD player that cost £20's bar code
is removed from it's box and attached to a more expensive DVD player. This newly coded DVD player is taken to the till
to be purchased. This saves the con man a lot of money, or the item can be taken back for a refund by removing the bar code
from the box and claiming to have lost the receipt. The store may only give store credit or refund at the lowest price it was sold at,
but you can't complain at something for nothing.  

The Score
Mainly small items under £100, but can be used for higher value items, with more risk.

How to avoid being scammed?
If you work in retail, knowledge is key to stop this scam. Just being aware of particular brands price range will help when someone brings you an Apple iPod and it rings up at £19.99. If the barcode looks like it has been tampered with, just have a look at another box of the same product or even just saying that there could be something wrong with a bar code is enough to send a Con-man running

Animal Safety

Name
Animal Safety

Aka
Puppy scam, dog.con

The Mark
Animal lovers

The Con
The Con-Man takes out advertisements in newspapers, websites or anywhere else the victims may see it. The advertisements
are looking people to adopt pets, usually dogs, to save them from cruelty. They can even get the animal for free,
but have to pay the customs/vets fee in advance.

The money clears, the animal never arrives.

The Score
£20 - £500 per animal

How to avoid being scammed?
Quite simply only buy or adopt animals from approved organisations. Think about why an organisation would want an injured animal to be sent on
a long trip out of the country (Hint: they wouldn't).