Street market scams. Don't believe the hype.
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.
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