Street market scams. Don't believe the hype.

By Paul Michael on 10 April 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 18 comments

Market

Part three of my Real Hustle compliation is the one I have wanted to feature for a very long time. The other two posts were lighter in nature, this one is more grim as it involves more of your hard-earned cash being swindled from you. And it's personal to me because, well, I fell victim to the first con featured. I consider myself a fairly smart guy, but I was way too naive in college. A hard lesson learned.

It's a long story, but I was in my 1st year of college at the time and had very little money in savings. I wanted to stretch my money as far as I could, and as Christmas was only a month away I thought the "auction" would be a great place to bag some presents for my folks for super-cheap. As you'll see from the first video, Jam Auction, it was nothing but a scam that played on your dreams of getting a great deal.

In my case, I thought I'd be getting a $1000 Kenwood audio system for around $200. What I got was $50 worth of junk for $200. It was a horrible scenario, over 60 of us thought we were getting something amazing. It turned out that the sheep mentality worked, coupled with the fact that "plants" in the crowd get freebies that kick-butt. Trouble is, those plants are in on the game and the free gifts go straight back in the van.

Here we are then. Remember, living large means being careful with your money. If it seems too good to be true, 99% of the time it is.

1: THE JAM AUCTION
As I said, it's a scam that dangles an amazing deal in front of you. Packages of PSPs, Digital Cameras, all kinds of goodies. They promise bargains beyond anything you could get in a high-street sale or even on the Internet. They hook you with cheap giveaways, and the bait is a huge bargain. But that huge bargain never ever materializes and everyone is left shell-shocked and out of pocket.

2: NOT-SO-MIRACLE BLADES
With a home video camera, a few chef outfits and some repackaging, the gang are reselling cheap & nasty knife sets as superior kitchen utensils. And it works. The fake infomercial and the new packaging, plus the story about it being a hot-seller, convince people in no time.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

3: ORGANIC FOOD FAKES
Taking advantage of a growing market is something scam artists do all the time. In this case, organic food is the big draw. Genuine organic olive oil, real organic hand-made sausages. Sounds great. Trouble is, they're really selling cheap mass-produced oil and sausages at a massive mark-up.

4: THE SKIN CARE SCAM
This one's even more convincing because the hustle team rent a store for their product. And this is one of the most common cases of daylight robbery around in the UK right now. If it's happening there, I guarantee it's happening here. All they do is buy a ton of cheap lotion, mix it with parsley (mmm, parsley) and repackage it in tiny bottles. The same idea goes for the soaps and hair care products. It's all sold at a 3000% mark-up!

5: DON'T EAVESDROP
Sometimes, you ARE meant to overhear a conversation. Especially when hustlers are trying to convince you that they've just found an incredible bargain (like an $800 plate selling for $60 on a market stall). You may think you'd never get taken in, but this con works exceptionally well because you believe you have insider information. All you're actually buying is a worthless piece of junk.

As I always say, it's a jungle out there. Watch your backs folks.

Photo by Toni V

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Guest's picture
She Who Is To Lazy To Log In

My college roomate & her boyfriend took their first trip to NY & got totally taken for a ride. Classic tourist screwed over story. The boyfriend bought what he thought was a video camera, albiet a hot one, but it was in a new box, shrink wrapped, etc. They schlepped the thing around all day & when they got back to the hotel room & finally opened it, they found out they had bought two bricks!

Paul Michael's picture

my teeth are fine. I think I'd rather have horrible teeth though, than a horrible personality.

Guest's picture
Guest

I am a proud Brit and I am not fat...care to explain that chap?

Andrea Karim's picture

That's right!

We're number one! We're number one!

In terms of obesity, anyway. We're clearly not winning the punctuation wars. though.

Guest's picture
Guest

Not all British have messed up teath, and not all Americans are fat.

Get over yourselves.

Guest's picture
Guest

Jeez, you're ALL stupid. The world is screwed when we have people make judgments based on nationality.

Paul Michael's picture

We seem to have drifted away from the subject matter at hand. Straight white blinging teeth or crooked mess, no-one deserves to be taken for a ride by a bunch of scam artists. I hope at least most of you have learned a little from the post, other than the fact that there are quite a few people out there with opinions that have no place in a blog about living large on a small budget. Unless, of course, you know a place to get free teeth whitening done?

Guest's picture
Guest

calm down calm down. both the red coats and yanks have their problems. the americans are unfortunately known for obesity, and the brits are just plain ugly. we can all just be happy we aren't french...

Andrea Karim's picture

But then, I'm a sucker for the Queens English. Rrrowr.

I meant to add that I liked the video about the knife-scam, Paul. The one about the face creams, however, distrubed me on a level that I don't want to think about just now.

Paul Michael's picture

Let's be honest, not many ladies would turn Bond down, or Hugh Grant, Ralph Feinnes, Jude Law, do I need to go on? English women...hmm, Kate Beckinsale seems to be flying high right now. So, this whole thing is silly. The scams are scary because so many people fall for them, including moi. I still feel foolish 12 years later.

webmaster's picture
webmaster

Hello everyone.

It has been brought to our attention that things are getting a little abusive in this thread. We've removed some of the more offensive remarks.

While we welcome open discussions, we also want to keep this a civil place where everyone will feel comfortable visiting.

A big thank you for the readers who spoke up in this thread to counter the rudeness. I apologize that by deleting some of the offending comments your comments may now look a little bit nonsensical.

Oh yeah. Please think of the children.

Yours truly, Will

p.s. not British

Guest's picture
Guest

They lady she got arrested at the end of the eavesdrop scam

When is taht vuid or is it coming out!?!

Guest's picture
Guest

Boy can these posters get off topic! Talk about your internet ADD. Ah those scammers, ought to give them a shot in the pills.

Guest's picture
Charles

A couple of weeks ago, the show Dateline on NBC produced a show showing how anyone can produce an infomercal and sell anything. I couldn't find the show myself but if anyone happens to watch Dateline, keep your eyes peeled.

In the episode, Dateline created a moisturizer pill which was only filled with Nesquick and successfully marketed it. It really goes to show that you shouldn't trust infomercials.

Guest's picture
Guest

So you see a poster and you buy?
Or you go to a store, they tell you it's natural and you believe it?
OMG I have to move to England, you guys believe anything!!!

Paul Michael's picture

Your analysis is spot on. I know full well, being from England, that we're way more susceptible to things like this than anyone else in the world. A recent study showed that on average, English people are actually 4 times more likely to fall for cons and deceptions than anyone else. In fact, the last know recorded case of anyone in any other nation falling for a simple con was in 1976. His name was Robert Sole. Thank you guest, your comment was not only helpful but darn insightful.

Guest's picture
Monica

For the people that are bashing the English for their gullibility, the same goes for Americans. Diet pills are a multi billion dollar industry in America, and as we can see they just plain do not work. Millions of Americans are tricked into believing their advertisements.

Guest's picture

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