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Financial Scams

Updated on May 31, 2015

Financial scams and some books that can open our eyes.

Every day someone somewhere is being cheated out of their money. This frequently involves scams where people are taken in by the stories they are told, the offers that they receive, and the deceit that can involve anyone as a victim.

Many scams are now well-known and described in books - both factual and novels based on the true experiences of those that have fallen foul of this modern form of robbery.

Here are some of those books that can help you to recognise when you meet a would-be scam. Reading these books will enable you to recognise when the situation arises. By being aware you can save yourself not only financial loss but also a great deal of grief.

Read and be warned - it really could happen to you.

"IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE" - however much you want to believe it - "IT USUALLY IS."

The nature of financial scams

Modern day financial scams are frequently based on telephone calls, offers over the internet, or by some other form of direct contact. The common reason as to why it is you is that your name is on a list - we can call if the "suckers list". Such lists have been compiled based on the knowledge that you have taken part in a share issue (specifically one offered through a "boiler room" of traders whose sole job is to sell you near-worthless shares).

Being a small-time investor is no protection.

However, there are certain common characteristics to financial fraud, and these can be learned from the books I have identified in this lens. Be serious about this, and learn all you can - before you too are caught out.

How to Smell a Rat: The Five Signs of Financial Fraud
How to Smell a Rat: The Five Signs of Financial Fraud

This is the first of the books that you should read. It was written soon after the Madoff "Ponzi" scheme collapsed.

It identifies the signs of financial fraud for which you should look out in any transactions of your own.

This is a very valuable guide. Get it.


The human side of a scam. - A novel based on real events.

First-hand experiences always bring home the reality of the pain that arises from being a victim of a financial scam. Although this is a novel it is based on truth. The nature of the scam is revealed in detail. The story imagines the way that the scammers came together and devised their fraud, how they operated out of China, and targeted people all over the world.

The novel recounts how the lives of the scammers became as damaged as those who fell victim to their schemes. The ending will surprise you. The warnings should be taken seriously.

A good read as well as a serious message.


Based on a true experience - a novel with a serious message for us all.


Has anyone ever tried to defraud you - scam you? - Let us measure how widespread this is.

Have you been approached with what you believe to have been a scam?

See results

An anonymous poll - so others can see just how prevalent this is.

You may not have been broken but you may have been hurt.
You may not have been broken but you may have been hurt.

Have you been hurt by a scam?

See results

Some of the ways in which you can recognise a scam

Scams come in a variety of forms, but they all tend to have the same critical and recognisable characteristics:

1. They are unsolicited. You did not invite them to phone you or to write to you, or even to approach you.

2. They involve an offer about which you had no previous knowledge.

3. The approach to you usually comes with a claim that this is for your benefit - not theirs.

4. The person making the approach is plausible, well spoken, sounds educated and likely to know what they are talking about.

5. Eventually the process leads to you parting with money.

What you should do.

As soon as the phone rings check from whom it is coming (use your phone's call recognition feature).

If the number or caller is "witheld" be suspicious.

If the caller is not clear about your name - hang up straight away.

If the caller claims not to be selling you anything - hang up straight away.

If the caller asks for personal/banking. credit card details - hang up straight away.

NEVER send money in relation to any transaction that began with a "cold call" (whatever form it took).

NEVER send money overseas without first asking the advice of an experienced professional.

ALWAYS report any scam that you have experienced.

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 4 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks so much for writing about this. This stuff is the scariest Halloween story I have read so far! And too real for my liking. I have been defrauded before and it cost me plenty, but not enough to break us. However it could have. I smelled a rat right at the start but didn't want to believe it. I guess that's how everyone is taken in. They assume people are as trustworthy as they are themselves.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

      Interesting books about financial scams!