Frauds and Scams: The Schemes and Cons of Criminals and the Victims They Prey Upon

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Fraud, scams and cons are everywhere. They affect many people every day, making this a form of crime likely to affect most people, in some way, during their lifetime. The various types of scams and cons are staggering. A Google search for a list of frauds netted over 1,000 types of schemes, scams, frauds and cons. The simple truth is this: There are people out there with the desire and motive to profit from the misfortune and deception of others. They will use the methods they know to succeed (usually financially) and make a situation profitable for themselves. Some schemes are very simple, while others are incredibly complex; walking a fine line between legal and illegal. We will examine some of the various schemes and scams that have been used in the past and many of which are still used today.


Fraudulent means to obtain something by means of deception. Usually, it is known by its shortened form, fraud. Different types of fraud account for a notable number of the crimes committed in the United States. Fraud is always evolving, keeping up with changing technology and attempting to stay ahead of law enforcement. Most likely, fraud will not go away. It is important to note that the best way to combat fraud is to be knowledgeable about fraud. The following paragraphs outline several typed of fraud and the people affected by these crimes.

Fraud tends to capitalize on opportunity. If there is an opportunity to gain from a situation, the chance for fraud is present. One case of this is Charity or Disaster Fraud. Persons looking to commit fraud take advantage of the misfortune of these situations and the willingness of others to help. On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 Earthquake shook and nearly leveled the island...

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...ail form and have evolved to using false names of military soldiers stationed overseas and ailing socialites in London with a last dying wish for assistance. The e-mails are usually not very well written; full of spelling and grammatical errors, they can raise a flag of suspicion. The best way to avoid this scheme truly is common sense. If it seems too good to be true, it just might be.

In 1919, Charles “Get Rich Quick” Ponzi began redeeming coupons obtained overseas for between 100 to 300 percent profit. The investors in his plan were promised 40 percent profit on their investment within 3 months (Hagan, 2011). Word quickly spread about the money-making opportunity and Ponzi found himself with more investors than he could handle. He paid the early investors with money obtained from later investors, creating a situation that simply couldn’t be sustained.

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