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5 Common Scams - What You Need To Know To Avoid Being A Victim

Updated on July 16, 2010

Impostor Burglary

This scam, more often than not, is performed on the elderly and involves two or more suspects. The scammers will come to the victim's home pretending to be legitimate workers of some kind with a seemingly legitimate ruse. One will try his best to occupy their attention by talking about home repairs or something similar while the other searches for valuable objects around the house.

Frequently used ploys are: Posing as a water department worker that needs to check your water pipes or meter; a cable worker needing to check your electronics; will often request to use the bathroom.

These scammers may go as far as to carry fraudulent worker identification cards and communicate with each other through radios.

Women or children may accompany the scammer as to help distract the victim's attention.

Home Invasion Burglary

Very similar to impostor burglary, this scam will usually involve three to four females. One will drop the other three off in a neighborhood and cruise around while they look for elderly people that are working or sitting in their yards.

One will then engage in conversation with the elderly person by pretending to have lost a dog, be interested in the house, etc. The others will sneak inside the unlocked residence and steal any valuable they can find without ransacking. The suspects are careful not to leave any signs of them being there and the thefts are often not realized until days, or even weeks, later.

Home Repair Fraud

Nationwide, billions of dollars are lost each year due to home repair scams. The most common scenario is a con artist will approach a residence offering to do some type of job at a very low rate (cementing driveways, chimney cleaning, roof repair, etc). They will claim to have extra supplies left over from other jobs or to be a friend of a friend.

After completing the job, however, the bill will be several times the original quote. Suspect will demand that they be paid immediately in cash and may threaten to sue, call cops, etc to make themselves seem legit.

Work will often be inferior and/or incomplete and, if the opportunity is there, con artist may attempt to burglarize the victim's home.

Envelope Switch Scam

In this scam the suspect is approached by an individual, often at a bank. They will be asked for a bigger bill in exchange for the small bills they have because they need to mail off some money for a birthday or something similar. They will try to get the victims big bill first and quickly place it into an envelope.

After counting their money, they will realize they don't have the exact change for the victim and will need to go to their car or leave for a short time. They will then hand the envelope to the victim for security until they return.

The scam here is that they switch the envelopes or don't actually put the money the victim gave them into the envelope, even though it appears that they did.

There are many variations to this scam that could involve more than one person.

Landscaping Scam

An individual will approach the victim offering to prune trees. If victim accepts, the alleged landscaper will finish job but will bill the property owner per limb instead of per tree as originally implied. Everything will seem legitimate but this is actually a very common scam.

Landscaper may also "Ball" your trees cuttings with soil and try to sell them back to you as seedlings.

Theft by deception is illegal and it is the job of law enforcement to protect those that cannot protect themselves. Don't let embarrassment keep you from reporting a scam happening. Many scams go unreported because of the simple fact that the victim doesn't want to admit they've been scammed. 

If something seems fishy, don't hesitate to gather all information that you can on an individual who you think may be trying to con you. Double check behind them by calling their superiors or place of business.

If it seems to good to be true, it usually isn't.


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    • penningl profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from U.S.

      Thanks for the kind comment the pink umbrella. Very glad to hear you were able to catch the cyberscam before they actually got your money. They were most definitely expecting you to not notice the funds were missing until it was too late. Very good job you did getting the transaction reversed. Untold amounts of people let things like that slip by unnoticed(I know a few). You've given me the idea to start putting together a top cyberscams hub. I know a few just off the top of my head and it would be a good topic to research. Hopefully everything goes good with the -8mil and you may want to check into the dangers that card may still be facing. I know it sucks to do, but you may need to look into getting a new card or something. Once again thanks for the nice comment and thank you very much for sharing/rating up this hub.

    • the pink umbrella profile image

      the pink umbrella 

      8 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

      funnily enough, i was the victem of a cyber scam today. I checked my account at 5am (always do before i go to bed) and when i went to the mac machine, it said that my available balance was 49.00 less than what i had checked this morning. It was an online source that had gotten my information, and i was able to catch it in time. This wouldnt have happened if i wasnt proactive, and had not gone inside the bank and went home and made the necessary phone calls. Aparently, i got it in time for them to return the check, halt my account, and the money is to be returned by midnight tonight. haha, the lady on the phone did warn me that my account will read negative 8 million for the durration of the halt on my account. I was glad she told me, because if i had called to see how much was in there, and it said -8mil, i think i would have cried tears of blood! lol. Awesome hub, and although my comment is not relative, the violated feeling i had of someone using my info, is definately similar to the feelings that must be felt when someone has been scammed as you described. Rateing your hub up, and shareing it on facebook, people should know about these scams. In this world today, were so worried about electronic scams, one seems to forget that yea, people will actually still take the time to physically rip you off. Im impressed, great writing!

    • penningl profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from U.S.

      Thank you pisgahnf

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      nice job


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