In our daily life, we come across with a lot of scams and frauds and agents associated with such scams. Most of them are labeled as fortune machines by themselves, promising a lot of wealth in just a single business deal. I also have heard about many such scams and thought of writing a mega article on them. Some fraudulent business models promise and deliver their promise to its partners, at least for a certain period of time. I don’t wish to talk about international forgeries here, but covering a few among the most common types of frauds. By learning their tricks, you can easily find and defend such plans when an agent meets you with such a need, to enroll you into that scam. Almost all frauds offer you huge profits by the completion of the project/deal and the deal will cost just 1/10 th or lower than that of the original value of the asset you will get, as per their promise. This makes their offer too tempting and it is the ability of agents to make you believe and spend money on them. The agents will probably meet you as if they are in short of money and that is why they themselves didn’t join the deal. Here is the list of common types of frauds:
- Multilevel marketing/ network marketing/ Investment marketing
- Lottery scams (online and offline)
- Valampuri shangu
- Rice puller iridium alloys
- Titanium metal scam
- Bulk gold or costly materials with customs/excise/enforcement officials
- Double headed Indian snake, Silver eyed owl, Star turtle
- Panchaloham or costly alloy idols, valuable paintings
- Farmland and estate scams
- Regular internet scams
- Girl or costly parcel from abroad
Multi level marketing, Direct mktg, Network mktg, Investment Mktg
This itself is a topic to discuss about. Multi level marketing, binary marketing, network marketing, direct marketing etc. are the common names seen with this type of business. You will be asked to join the network for free, but should purchase something. By purchasing the thing, you will be given an opportunity to be a partner of the business and you can encourage others to buy the products and earn attractive commissions. Agents will inform you that the products are of best quality and doesn’t have any costly advertisement. The huge commissions you earn comes from the savings they get by avoiding advertisements and the product has no middlemen to loot away profits. This will look like a useful and non-hurting business at first. There will be a few high class profiles/people who have already joined the scheme, to encourage you too to join and earn huge commissions. So, what is the fraud included?
None of the products are genuine or if genuine, unsuccessful models in the market. I was called for taking partnership in a scam like this. One of the products they had was CIMIER watches. They claimed that it is one of the top 10 brands in the world, placed above ROLEX & RADO. Being a watch collector, I was surprised. I havent even heard about CIMIER. They asked me to search internet in front of them. There was a web page among the results, which was from a crappy blog, placing CIMIER above Rolex and Rado. Models were costly too and fell in the luxury category of watches. I asked the agent, If I give you that much money to buy a watch, which brand will you choose? He suddenly answered that he will choose only ROLEX. That it the thing. You can pay your agents, good commissions for selling craps at luxury prices. Usual products under direct marketing are:
- Insurance policies of some so-called international companies (except vehicle insurance and property insurance)
- Household products of brands which rebrand products from China
- Membership access to some paid websites entirely made for this purpose
- Courses, mostly online, in some foreign universities which you can get at a fraction of course if you go directly
- Membership in some clubs offering a paradise
- Books which seems like original but counterfeits
- Tour packages to foreign countries during off season, with a lot of conditions apply
- Health insurance which doesn’t cover any diseases affecting human species
Lottery scams (online and offline)
Online lottery scams are very popular and you may know about that if you are using your email regularly. In the spam box, you can see at least 10 of them, every month. The theory behind: You will be notified that you have won some lottery and your price money is ready. You may think that your email ID was given accidentally by someone, instead of theirs, while purchasing lottery. You will contact the guy behind to make sure that the lottery doesn’t need the ticket. For proceeding with price money release, they will ask you to pay the tax or some amount. This paying will continue till you realise that you are cheated.
Offline lottery scam is somewhat different. A fraudster will come to you and tell you that he is in urgent need of money. He has got a lottery ticket which won a good amount of money. For proof he will show you a newspaper in which results are published and the ticket with same number in the results. He will be asking about 1/3 rd of the price money and ticket will be new. You wont think twice and give the money to get he ticket. You will realise to be cheated when you try to get money from the bank or concerned department. Either the lottery ticket or the newspaper cutting is a forged one. The rest you can imagine.
Valampuri Sangu (Conch Shell)
This is a famous scam based on Hindu religious beliefs. Valampuri Shangu or Dakshinavarti shankh or Lakhsmi shankh or Conch Shell is a species of rare sea shells from the species Turbinella pyrum. But in business, there are 2 types of this shell. Sinistral whelk species is the most commonly used fraud shank for business. Sellers attribute rare qualities like rice pulling and magical healing to these shells, which are purely unscientific ways to test its originality. The real test is too do an Xray test to find thee species.
fraudulently sold species
Cost of original Valampuri shanghu is around 300 to 1500 Rs per gram, in India market. Anything above is most probably fraud. However, Panchanjanya shangu, which has 5 folds in the inside, are more costly and extremely rare.
Rice puller Iridium alloys east India company raanthal vilakk petromax/ Anna coins
This is a magic and chemistry based fraud. About the theory: Some rare coins or lanterns during some time of history (it differs according to the story teller), has specific properties due to a rare alloy used in it. There are only a very few pieces in earth with such an alloy combination. Such alloys have some special properties like absorbing milk, absorbing white part of rice and leave the husk behind and so on.. They are ready to show you these magical properties in front of you. Some alloys need certain astronomical positions to exhibit its abilities. Keeping this in hand will attract lots of wealth and so, rich people are behind this to buy and keep them for themselves. You will be shown a sample piece and its owner is no more ready to keep it or wishes to sell it for a bargain price. If you can buy this, you can sell it soon for 100 times the money you spend. For proof, you will be shown some so-called rich people, ready to buy it for a lot of money.
What is the climax of this story? You will buy that thing and will check its properties by yourself at home and you will find yourself to be cheated. Once you have purchased the thing, there will be no more buyers or market. To the extreme, the seller may tell you to keep it with you to attract profits and fortunes.
The brave fraud
Titanium/costly metal scam
This is a newer scam in this list. You will be met with some agent holding costly titanium metal or such metals. He might have a bulk amount of the metal. They will convince you that it is a very costly metal and costlier than gold or platinum and is used in certain labs or so. Due to some glitches in handling, the seller has got this much metal in excess and he cannot stock it easily. If you can buy it, you can sell it soon for a much higher price. You may probably buy it and keep it. Later, when you try to sell it you find that it is not costly or to the max, it is not pure metal.
The real thing is, titanium is not a very costly metal. Even the chain of my watch is made up of it. It is used in making propeller blades and some parts of aircrafts because it is light weight and can withstand high temperatures. I know it personally, being a commercial pilot. All metals they advocate for, will be like this. The resources they may show you are incredible fraud websites or forged records.
Bulk Gold or costly items with customs/excise/enforcement officials
This is an old scam in which you are tempted with a bulk amount of gold (say 20 kg) or very costly items like a box of 100 luxury watches, being caught by customs people at some airport. The agent will inform you that he has got connections with the officials and will arrange it to you for half the value. You should sell it for them and give 50% (25% or original) of the value to them. You will suddenly agree with the deal and people who look like officials will come to you with the parcel. The story behind is; the parcel will not contain original gold, but a box of gold plated steel bars or counterfeit products which cost just a fraction of your expense. In further research, you will find that the so-called customs officials are just criminals.
Star turtle, Silver owl, double headed snake (Eryx johnii)
This is a regularly heard-about scam. Purchase, captive storage and export of certain plants and animals are prohibited in certain countries to prevent extinction of such animals. Double headed (tail and head looks alike) snake in this picture and some other species of animals like star turtle, silver eyed owl etc. are the most famous examples. It is said that they are of high demand in some foreign markets. You will be given an opportunity to buy such an animal and stock it for sale in near future. No such sale option will occur, once you bought it. Your money is so snatched.
photo credit-The Hindu
Pancha loham idols, costly paintings
This is an old strategy of frauds, in which the agents come to you and tempt that they have seen some centuries old idol or statue somewhere and will steal it for you. That idol can bring you good luck and fortunes. Usually agents try to trap rich people for this. Once the buyer is confirmed, they, with the help of some idol maker and make an idol, which looks similar to that shown to you in photo. They have techniques to make it look like and old one. A new idol will cost less than 1/10 th value of the old one. If the idol is from some temple, they will even tell that they have arranged a duplicate idol for the temple and fixed it over there with the help of corrupted temple authorities.
Farmland & estate scams
This type of cheating are done with people who are unaware of real estate businesses. Fraud real estate agents come to you with a golden opportunity to buy a large area of agricultural land, or a small but costly area for a tempting bargain price. Usually these lands will belong to one or more among this:
- Waste barren lands which are simply good for nothing
- Fabricated documents and sometimes even a fraud arrangement of entire registration office (if online registration is not there)
- Online registration of lands in some fraud but original look-alike websites
- Lands which don’t have clearance certificates from authorities
- Lands of deceased people, and land may not have a claimed legal owner at present
- Land in forest area or such prohibited areas
- Costly lands with only right to rent, but fabricated documents seems like original ones.
Regular Internet scams
There are a lot of internet based scams all over the world. All of them exploit the trust of users, who may share important account details to transfer money to their accounts. A few of the most common internet frauds are:
- Approved educational loans for schemes you havent applied for
- Approved VISAs for settling in some countries
- A huge sum of money left by a billionaire for charity purpose, asking you to fulfill his/her dreams to spend it on charity
- Asking you a little donation and to share your bank/credit card details on later stage
- Blackmailing you that somebody ordered to kill you. You can escape by paying a ransom amount
Girls who are ready to marry you from abroad/ gift parcel from abroad
This is another type of fraud now getting popular through social networks like Facebook. You may meet a gorgeous girl (or guy, if you are a girl) and send a friend request. It will be accepted and you start personal conversation through messenger. Later on it turns to whatsapp and then to brief phone calls. They will tell you that they have relatives in your country or they are planning to visit your country soon and wish to meet you. You will be more than happy and will be eager to receive her. On the exact day as per the promise the person will arrive, but in a far away airport, in your country. They will call you from a local phone number and tell you that their credit card is not working in your country and they are in urgent need of some money to reach you. Without thinking more, you will send the money to the said account, which might be account of some taxi driver or so, as per her claims. If you ask for current photos, they will become furious and may even cry. I hope you understood the procedure..
Another similar fraud is the gift fraud. Your online friend builds up trust in you and tell you that he has sent you a gift. It is a costly gift and even has some money inside the parcel to pay for any customs duties or taxes. On the day which the gift is supposed to reach your place, someone from customs office will call you asking you to pay money for customs duty. They seems to be in a hurry and will ask you to deposit the money in their account so that they will courier the parcel. Sometimes, they will even blackmail you saying that the parcel has some dangerous materials inside and you should appear before them for investigation. They will give you a chance to escape by paying some money as bribe, transferring the amount to their account.
I know, you might have known a few of them or all in this list. Anyway, this is to enlighten you about the most common of frauds. If you have experienced or know some other frauds like this, please share it with me through comment column below. Thanks for your time.