From 1920 to 1933, Oscar Merrill Hartzell
bilked thousands and thousands of people out of millions and millions of dollars in the midst of a Great Depression. But when he was forcably returned to the US to face trial, the "common man" hailed him as a hero and savior. As the author of (the highly recommended) Drake's Fortune
notes, confidence artists are a perverse echo of the classic Horatio Alger story, as swindlers build wealth by dint of ingenuity, perseverence, and breath-taking chutzpah
. Perhaps that is why we love to read books
and see films
of their exploits. But it doesn't explain why we keep falling for the same ruses
over and over again.
posted by Shadowkeeper
on Jul 17, 2002 -
Escrew Service. Worried about getting scammed on an Internet auction? "Just use an escrow service," is the customary advice. Not so fast. The latest auction scam is an elaborate swindle involving creation of fake escrow services, complete with convincing Web sites like www.escrow-is.com
posted by srboisvert
on Jul 9, 2002 -
About damn time.
If I ever get another email asking me to go to Nigeria on behalf of Mr.Ngkoskusomethingoranother for some large sum of cash I could just...
posted by lostbyanecho
on May 24, 2002 -
Saddam's oil scam
....and other tidbits of interest about Iraq versus US. oops. I almost said "and the world," but the world seems indifferent or annoyed at the American threat to Iraq.
posted by Postroad
on May 9, 2002 -
"Women Empowering Women".
This pyramid scheme
is spreading like wildfire in the UK, with huge amounts of money involved. Basically you get a lot of people to put up say £100. The more people you attract to add money to the pyramid, the better chance you have of moving up and becoming entitled to many times your initial outlay. However, no investment occurs; this is simple cashflow juggling. Someone I work with gained £12000 on it in under a month - now everyone wants in the act. But (and I've pleaded with these people) the participants don't seem to appreciate the sheer idiocy of such schemes. Their attitude is "my husband goes to the betting shop, it's just my bit of fun
". In the end, if you gain money, you're taking it directly
from another participant. This is exploitation of people (normally hard-up, heavily mortgaged parents, it seems), is morally wrong
and should be illegal - but it isn't in the UK
. Here's a link to a BBC feature on pyramid schemes
(aka trading schemes). This really
boils my piss, but it carries on because individual participants can benefit from the fraud themselves. I understand women are targeted in this case as men are more likely to get in fights when they realise they've lost large amounts of cash.
posted by boneybaloney
on May 3, 2002 -
Another way to quit smoking,
or is it just another ploy to make a quick buck? As a smoker, I think this could be a great way to quit, if it actualy works
. Are there any other Mi-Fi'ers that are trying to quit smoking?
[Stolen from Fark.com
posted by SweetJesus
on Jan 20, 2002 -
The next time you receive a pesky junkmail cheque promising you untold riches perhaps you should pause for a moment and consider the prospect that it may not be a zillion miles from the truth afterall. On the other hand - this rather tediously longwinded account
of someone scamming a scam might itself be nothing more than just a.. erm.. nother scam.
posted by Kino
on Jun 18, 2001 -
Who do you root for when everyone's a villain?
It turns out that everyone
involved in the "Internet Twins
" fiasco is scum. Sure as hell the biological mother is (she gave the babies up twice
and now wants them back; I wouldn't trust her to care for my cat); the woman from the UK
is, and now the man in the US
is. A plague on all their houses.
Now the biological father, Aaron Wecker
, has begun proceedings to gain custody of the babies. I hope he isn't as despicable as everyone else involved. Let's hope this circus doesn't follow the girls around for the rest of their lives. If there's any sort of lesson in this, I wish someone would tell me what it is.
posted by Steven Den Beste
on Mar 2, 2001 -
to England about free net access. I am shocked that a company in the honorable net industry could think of such a scam! Shocked I say!
posted by Mick
on Aug 22, 2000 -