Wouldn’t we all love to make vast sums of money with the absolute minimal amount of effort? Of course we would. Do we want money flowing into our bank accounts without having to work for it? Absolutely.
This is the mantra of every scammer who ever lifted a phone, emailed a phony plea, or offered free pharmaceuticals to the unsuspecting retiree. Many of these lowlifes are already living the dream. But for every ingenious scam, there are ten scams that are so incredibly stupid as not to be believed.
Phil Cannella has gathered several of the common scams as reported by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). Be sure to read these over so that you can detect a scam when you see one.
The Sehwan Scam
He’s the mastermind behind what he thinks is a fiendish internet plot—though, because it’s so unbelievably stupid, it is highly unlikely it will ever work. For one thing, people can see everything someone sends on Twitter and realize that Sehwan Jung—the mastermind— sends the same message to people over and over again—asking for half a million dollars, mostly from Hollywood celebrities.
“This guy’s a real winner,” said the well-known Consumer & Senior Advocate, Phil Cannella. “[Jung’s] celebrity list is almost as entertaining as his request for $500,000 from these people. He’s definitely an optimist, that’s for sure.”
The African Prince
The African Prince ploys have become so tired, yet time again you’ll see one appear in your email. This is a reward scam allegedly offered by the English royal family. “Hello, 250,000 pounds has been awarded to you from the Queen’s Foundation. Please send us your name address, telephone number and country’s origin, and other vital information.” Yea, OK, it’s on the way.
Greetings from John
Then there’s the “John” greeting. This character fails to mention what he even wants to con you out of. He usually write in the subject line, “what are you sale,” then sends the reader greetings, “Hi, my name is John and I am interested in buying what you want to sale from you. I will like you to give me the final asking price and the latest condition; also I will like you to scan the pictures for me for proper verification.”
Multi-Million Dollar Inheritance
This scammer doesn’t even attempt to establish a personal connection with you before offering you $18 million dollars. “Hello Beloved, I am a Christian; I picked your email randomly for an inheritance of $18 million. Please contact me for more details.” Like the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
In this hilarious scam, “Professor Farnsworth” selects you to survive a man-made black hole with him:
“The truth is that this experiment that CERN are conducting is extremely dangerous, and could cause global disaster. The experiment has a 95 percent chance of causing a black hole, thus swallowing a large area of the planet. The scientists do not want you to know this as they know it will cause panic. However, I can help you. I am arranging a number of selected people to be evacuated to a safe location on an island in the South Pacific by aeroplane. You have been selected at random to take part in this evacuation, thus ensuring the survival of the human race.”
“None of us are safe from running into an online scam,” cautions Phil Cannella, “Just being smart is not enough to protect yourself from these vermin.”