My latest work…
I don’t like holidays. All that sun and sand and relaxing. It’s enough to make you sick.
But if you must take time off and travel, make sure you look after yourself. Con artist love scamming tourists
That’s why they all wear glasses.
Here’s a few scams to look out for.
1) Taxis sans Meters: You get in at the airport, twenty minutes later you’re at the hotel and the driver is demanding a huge amount of money. Since he never turned on the meter, you’ve got no way to argue. Get around it by a) demanding the meter is turned on at the start or b) prepaying for the taxi at an official taxi rank.
2) Money Changers: The goal of all money changers is to buy as much of your money as they can, for the lowest price. The illegal ones do it by underpaying what they promised, passing off fake bills and wrapping high value notes around low value ones. Take your time, do the math and count everything twice.
3) Three Card Monte: Every big city in Europe has people playing my favourite game of chance. You’ve got possibility of winning. You will never find the queen of hearts or the little ball under the matchbox. Don’t even try.
4) Card Skimmers: We have these at home of course but, on holidays, you let your guard down. So double check every ATM for removable devices and protect your PIN.
5) Accommodation Vouchers: How about a scam that gets you before you even leave the house? Faxes, emails and phone calls come in offering you amazing deals on hotels. However, when you read the fine print, you end paying for meals and other services you just don’t want.
A dodgy game of chance. Just look at ‘em. Dodgy.
Did you that if you block your nose and close your eyes, it’s impossible to tell the difference between apple and potato?
For one man in a Yorkshire car park, it’s also difficult to tell the difference between an Apple iPad and a sack of potatos.
The man was approached by a swindler offering a brand new iPad for £200. When he got home, he discovered the iPad was nothing but a sack of spuds.
Police described the suspect was a chubby white man in his forties with an irish accent…and a sack of potatoes.
Everyone knows how to play solitaire. It’s the second most fun thing to do by yourself with a computer.
Hundreds upon thousands of people have wasted time playing the somewhat pointless game.
Mathematicians have figured that between 82% and 92% of solitaire games are winnable.
Surprisingly, mathematicians have figured out how to beat the game.
Take blackjack. In 1962, Edward Thorpe wrote Beat The Dealer, outlining basic strategy and card counting. Countless other thinkers have figured out odds and statistics of every possible way of playing the game.
But Solitaire? Nothing.
Stanford University have figured out a method for increasing the chances of winning, but not how to get to that magic 82%.
“ Many people play this game every day, yet simple questions such as What is the chance of winning? How does this chance depend on the version I play? What is a good strategy? remain beyond mathematical analysis”- Solitaire: Man Versus Machine
Of course, the best strategy is to hit Shift + Alt + 2.
I hate the advertisment above.
First and foremost, I don’t need to be reminded I need to lose a few kilograms by a crudely drawn animated gif.
Secondly, the ad links to a scam.
According to website Gawker, the scam plays out like this.
- An animated ad, featuring an inflating and defalting stomach, catches your eye, and you click through, landing on a site called ConsumerOnlineTips.com or WeeklyHealthNews.com or something like that.
- You are presented with glowing testimonials falsely attributed to ABC, CNN and USA Today. A fake TV hottie from “Channel 7″ might pretend to “investigate” the product in question (her initial skepticism is quickly overcome!).
- You are sent to a third site and asked for a credit card number to order “free” or trial samples. The number is presumably solicited for shipping costs or a nominal cost. The scammers then go to town on your card with bogus charges, according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC. In at least some cases, there was very fine print warning you that you were agreeing to a “free” sample followed by two $80 samples. Ha.
The FTC in the US is cracking down on these scams and also on website who make money by showing the advertisments.
Based on the number of times I’ve seen it, there will be a lot of charges laid.
You’ve probably heard now about the woman from Spartenburg, South Carolina who paid $180 for an iPad in a McDonald’s car park. When she got home, she opened the package to find it was made from wood and she’d been scammed.
When the con artists felt the need to make the iPad look like that is beyond me. Was it meant to actually fool her? Or were they just rubbing salt in the woman’s wound?
Weird thing is, the same swindlers (or one’s matching their description) showed up in the same city and pulled the same scam again, this time scamming the victim into buying a $250 laptop that turned out to be made of paper.
I would have paid $250 if the paper laptop looked like this.
Are Spartenburg people really gullible or are their con artists just really ballsy?
Imagine you’ve been chatting with this nice Nigerian gentleman who would like your help cleaning several million dollars in black money that he claims has been treated with dark ink for ’security purposes.’
If you pay a few thousand bucks to the men, they’ll clean the money and give you half.
You’re not sure about this and so you google ‘black money cleaning’
At the top of the page you see two advertisements for companies that specialise in the process: Anzia and Century1.
You click on the links and find information that verifies the men’s claims.
So you hand over the cash.
In reality of course, the whole thing is a scam. There is no such thing as black money.
The con artists have paid google to advertised their fake businesses. Google are not just taking money from the swindlers, they are actively helping them promote their cause. They may even be considered accessories.
Even the search engine regular results support the swindler’s claims. Over the ten links on the front page, one is the wikipedia page explaining the fraud and one is a blog about scams.
The rest of the links are created by con artists to promote the swindle.
You can watch dailymotion/youtube videos, visit facebook pages and buy products on alibaba. All related to black money cleaning.
Google’s mission statement has always been “You can make money without doing evil”. I don’t know about evil, but this does seem a little dodgy.
Ever wondered why it is that people keeping on throwing money down on the roulette wheel, even when they’ve already lost?
Can’t understand why suckers keeping sending money to Nigerian swindlers even though they never deliver.
The answer could be found in economist Martin Shubik’s Dollar Auction game.
Imagine an auction where two people are bidding for a dollar.
The two bidders take it in turn to make a bid for the buck.
The catch is, everything they bid, they have to pay. So if you bid a single cent, you’ll make 99 cents profit. Unless the other person bids 2 cents, in which case you lose your penny.
Website io9 explains it best.
Eventually, the first player bids 99 cents, accepting a simple penny as payment for their effort. The second sees any hope of profit dissolving, but they do see a hope of breaking even. Only one penny more and they can walk away ’square.’ They bid a dollar. The first player now has a choice; it’s silly to bid over a dollar on a dollar. But it’s even more silly to give up 99 cents. Paying a little more minimizes their loss. In the end, both will bid far more than a dollar, putting them in debt, in the hope of making the smallest loss.
The same thing happens when we gamble or give money to a con artist. Rather than just cutting our losses and going home, we keep on betting and believing, hoping to recoup at least some of our losses, unwilling to admit that we’ve been played for fooled.
So what’s the solution?
Be the the guy selling the dollar.
nice try regent_plaza
Remember It’s A Wonderful Life? When Jimmy Stewart offered to lasso the moon for Donna Reed?
If you love that saccharine stuff, you’re going to love the latest swindle to rear its head in Australia.
Swindlers are claiming they can sell you a chunk of the moon, offering lunar land packages at sixty bucks per square kilometre.
The company, Moontastic, is doing the same thing that American star and lunar sellers have been doing for years, selling off property that the owner can never actually claim.
The whole scam reminds me of Gregor McGregor, the Scottish con man from the nineteenth century who invented a fictional country called Poyais. 240 victims paid to settle the new country. 180 of them died looking for the non-existent land.
Once you’ve paid the earth for the moon, you get a certificate that the company owner calls “a bonafide statements of intention to own.” You don’t own it, you just ‘intend’ to own it. In the same way that I ‘intend’ to lose 10 kilos and do my taxes on time.
The scam isn’t illegal but the secretary of the Space Industry Association of Australia Michael Davis said it best.
“Just because there is no law prohibiting something does not mean it is lawful and legitimate.”
Or maybe I’m just a cold hearted old cynic who can’t see this for the romantic gesture that it is.