The scams and cons that could clean you out.


Last time I gave you advice from the Real Hustle team, it was how to grab a few free drinks. A bit of harmless fun. This time, it’s much more serious. These former professional con artists take you through some of the easiest, most effective ways that thieves can rip you off. Anything from a simple watch theft, to grabbing everything you own.

I looked through The Real Hustle archives and found so many scary scenarios, but these are the ones that seemed to affect everyone. So, watch carefully and keep your guard up at all times. It’s a jungle out there.

1. Waitstaff Card Cloning

I’ve always had a problem giving my credit card or debit card to anyone, especially in a restaurant when you typically lose sight of it for several minutes. Here, the con artists show you how easy it is for someone to copy your card and clean you out.

2. Crutches Spell Trouble

I believe a certain Mr. Ted Bundy used crutches to lure his victims. Well, these days con artists are also using them. Here are two ways that being a Good Samaritan could leave you out of pocket. You have been warned.

The ATM Scam

All it takes is a few seconds of distraction, and worse still, you don’t even realize you’ve been robbed. Don’t think you’d fall for it? Well, I’m sorry to say I fell for something very similar and I thank goodness the bank refunded my money.

The Watch Swipe

Not something to worry about if you have a $20 Casio on your arm. But if you happen to love your watch or have a Rolex on your arm, helping out a limping stranger may leave you looking for a new timepiece.

3. The Window Tap

How many times has someone distracted you while you were sitting in a bar, restaurant or café just casually getting on with your own thing? Well, be careful where you place your valuables. Lose sight of them for a second and you could lose sight of them forever.

4. Pickpockets

We've all heard of pickpockets. But as we evolve to outsmart them, they're always one step ahead of use. Watch your wallets, purses, phones and other personal items closely.

Jacket Pickpockets

It’s amazing how downright brazen some thieves can be. In this clip, the expert con artist spots three “marks” and grabs a whole bunch of valuables in less time than it takes you to drink a cup of coffee.

The Newspaper Wallet

First of all, I would never carry my wallet in my back pocket. I just don’t feel like it’s safe there. But some guys do, and will often reach back now and again to make sure they still have it. Well, that could be just a bunch of newspaper they’re safeguarding.

5. The Booster Bag Scam

Sometimes, the simplest cons are the most effective. By using a larger bag with a hole cut in the bottom, a good scammer can walk away with your precious cargo. And for you ladies who keep everything in your purse, that could mean walking away with your most valuable possession — your identity.

I hope this has opened your eyes to just how many ways there are to lose anything and everything you call valuable. Generally, if you keep your wits about you, you’re safe. But drop your guard, become too trusting or just be in the wrong place at the right time and a stealthy scammer can take you to the cleaners. Stay safe, people.

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Guest's picture

Very nicely done. Someone once tried the Newspaper Wallet trick on me...too bad all they found in my back pocket was the London Underground Tube map.

Guest's picture

Excellent post and use of video. Watched the ATM-scam and will come back to watch the rest later. Thanks a lot.

Guest's picture

Just so you know
the phantom wallet one is a fake, as I assume most of them are. Watch it REAL close.

Paul Michael's picture

I've talked to a policeman in England who confirms this has happened often in busy areas of London. Do you mean the set-up is fake? That may be, they can't always risk ripping people off, just in case it goes wrong.