Con artists are slick scammers who take pleasure in preying on naive individuals. While most people are on the lookout for phishing emails and strange phone calls, many fail to realize that most con artists are still up to their old school tricks. Even if you think you won’t fall for it, it won’t hurt to take a look at these five classic cons you might actually fall for. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
1. The Flop
So, you’re out for a drive when someone steps in front of your car, slamming onto the hood. What seems like a regular, unfortunate accident is actually one of the oldest scams in the book. Con artists have long been using their old injuries as a way to make some quick cash, demanding monetary compensation for the injury you caused them. Today’s scammers however, use already broken items instead of their bodies to carry out their schemes. If you think someone’s trying to pull a fast one on you, offer to get the police involved. The scammer will most likely get scared and leave.
2. The Fake Workmen Scam
Some con artists are even bold enough to show up at your home! They’ll show up in uniform, posing as the employee of a gas, water or electrical company. They’re supposedly there to check on a leak or shortage and once inside, will ask you to go outside or to the basement to check on something. While you’re distracted, your home is actually being looted and by the time you’ve caught on, it’s too late. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to ask for their ID and call the company to verify their claims.
3. The Overpayment Scam
The ever-increasing popularity of online shopping has led to scammers sprucing up the old overpayment trick. If you’re an online seller, a con artist could send you a bad check for more than the agreed amount, and upon notifying them, they’ll tell you to deposit it then wire the difference back to them. Days can pass before the bank realizes this, and because federal regulations require funds to be available the next day you are held liable for the check. To avoid this, never accept checks over your set prices and definitely don’t wire funds to a stranger.
4. The Bank Examiner
No sane person will allow a stranger to examine their bank account, and those con artists are very much aware of that. That’s why they present themselves as investigators who convince you to withdraw your money so they could match serial numbers, mark bills or examine it because a teller was suspected of passing counterfeit bills. And without noticing it, the real cash is switched out for fake ones, or they simply walk away with it for, you know, “business reasons.” And how do you avoid all this? Simply turn down their offer and refuse to cooperate.
5. The Melon Drop
The melon drop scam gets its name from a time where melons were pretty expensive in Japan. Hustlers took advantage of the insane prices by bumping into Japanese tourists, dropping the melons, then demanding some large payment, which the tourists would hand over without much thought. Now, instead of a melon, they’ll throw some pieces of glass in a box and claim it was a valuable item, sometimes with a fake receipt as proof of its value. Most people, due to guilt, will quickly pay up. Remember that inattentive people are usually targeted, so be alert while out and about!
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