What is a Scam?

what is a scam what is a scam artist

A scam uses deception to take someone’s money. Some say it began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent talked Eve into tasting the forbidden fruit. Until recently, scammers had to meet their victim face-to-face and sometimes take great risks. In the Digital Age, a scammer never comes in contact with their victim and can scam millions of people at a time, virtually without risk of getting caught. Follow me to see how scammers do it and how to avoid their traps.

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What Is a Scam?

The word scam gets tossed about a lot online and is often misused. If you purchase a product and are disappointed with it, that does not necessarily make it a scam. If the seller did not use deception to make you buy the product, it’s probably not a scam.

what is a scam what is a scam artistOften online sales letters will over-promise and under deliver. While this is misleading and unethical, it still may fall short of a scam. Although, it certainly is approaching the realm of deception.

A scam is a deliberately orchestrated plan of deception to bilk someone out of their money.

In the past, before the Digital Age, a scam was known as a con. “Con” is short for Confidence because a con, or a scam, can only work when the scammer has gained the confidence of the victim.

Confidence is Essential.

Once a scammer has gained the confidence of the person they intend to scam, they can manipulate that person. In traditional con artist lexicon, the victim is known as a mark, but they are also called a sucker, bates, dupe, green, jake, john, rube, apple, and Mr. Goodman.

In the past, contact between the con artist and the mark was required. If a con only required one contact, it was known as a short con. However, if multiple contacts were required, it was known as a long con. Now, with the internet, no contact at all is required. Cons have become scams on the what is a scam what is a scam artistinternet.

Scams in the Digital Age.

Now, in the digital age, most scams occur online through websites, telemarketing, email, and social media. However, the core of online scams remains the same as age-old cons. They still abide by the same principles and tactics of confidence, deception, and misdirection to take people’s money.

To make matters worse, online scammers are often based in countries where they are safe from prosecution.

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Money Lost.

Unfortunately, once money is lost online, it is usually gone forever. However, if you paid with a credit card, debit card or PayPal there is a chance you can recover your money if you contact them quick enough.

Scammers know that money paid with a credit card, debit card or through PayPal may be reclaimed. To make sure they keep the money they scam out of people, scammers demand that funds are paid with a money order or a wire transfer.

If a merchant or online business demands payment with a money order or wire transfer, it’s a scam.

What Is A Scam Artist?

what is a scam what is a scam artistIn the hierarchy of the criminal world, scammers may think of themselves as above petty criminals and see themselves as intelligent and sophisticated.

Unlike common thieves, a scammer does not need to use force, intimidation or threats to get what she wants. In fact, a scammer probably doesn’t think of herself as a criminal at all.

Only a fraction of the population is cut out to be a scammer. It takes a specific personality type to charm a victim into trusting them and then talking the victim into giving them something for nothing. And that is just the beginning, a scammer must also be capable of taking money from the poor and needy without hesitation or guilt.

A psychiatrist would label such a person a sociopath.

True to the sociopath personality, a scammer has no conscience. Taking the life savings from an elderly widow or a dying person desperate for help means nothing to them. They have no sense of responsibility for the harm they cause others and usually blame the victim.

A scammer gets a rush from scamming people. They live for the thrill. When they pull off a successful scam, they might believe they are smarter than the mark. For them, working a scam is skillfully playing a game and winning the game affirms they are better than the rest.


For a scam to work, a scammer must first hook the victim into the scam. This is typically done online by stimulating a victim’s sense of greed. The scammer entices them with a promise of fast easy money, maybe even the promise of something for nothing.

Greed is a powerful emotion and any time we are in an emotional state, we cannot think properly. The scammer knows this and will try to make you greedy for the pig in a poke they are selling.

A sure sign you are being drawn into a scam is if you feel greedy for what they are offering, but don’t truly understand what it is they are offering.

Online Scams.

The Internet has opened a new cosmos for scammers. Law enforcement has described it as the Wild West and impossible to police.

Scammers have practically free rein online. If law enforcement shuts down the scammer’s server or ISP. The scammer can be on a new server within an hour. If law enforcement outlaws their activity what is a scam what is a scam artistin one country, the scammer moves to another country.

Also, online scammers often have access to a person’s personal information and financial information. Through the internet, particularly email, a scammer can contact thousands of potential victims at a near-zero cost and with no way to be traced. Plus, the scammer can pretend to be anyone from anywhere.

Failure to Deliver.

A leading online scam includes selling products and taking the customer’s money for the purchase but never delivering the goods or delivering inferior goods. Many of these scam websites are based in China. Before you purchase from an unfamiliar website, check the trustworthiness of that site at ScamAdviser.

Make Money Online Scams.

Make money online offers are perfect vehicles for scams because it permits the scammer to crank up a victim’s greed. Once a victim feels greedy for the scammer’s pig in a poke, they are lost.

Many online scammers have become wealthy promising to help their victims become rich.

Because of a common belief that it’s possible to make a lot of money fast online, many people fall for internet scams promising fast easy riches.

The truth is, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible for an inexperienced person to make money online quickly. It takes training and time. Most people don’t want to invest the time, money and energy it takes to properly learn how to make money online. Instead, they want the fast, easy way. There isn’t one, but that doesn’t stop scammers from promising there is.

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When you try to find an honest to goodness way to make money via the internet, you are met with a ton of false claims. It’s a minefield of traps waiting to take your money for as far as the eye can see.

That’s why I’m devoted to helping people learn how to make money online the right way.

Making money online is a lot like making money off line. It takes skill and effort. Fortunately, the internet allows you to leverage your efforts, so you can make more money more quickly.

But, this doesn’t mean you can get rich quick. It means with the proper training and support, you can be financially independent in years instead of decades.

And it’s not difficult. I’m convinced anyone who can write an email and research online is capable of building a profitable internet business, IF they are correctly trained and supported. That’s why we suggest the FREE Starter Level of the Online Entrepreneur Certification Course.

The FREE course will show you the fundamentals of digital marketing and will introduce you to a supportive community of online marketers who are ready to help you succeed.

When you sign up for the FREE Starter Training through this website, I’ll coach you one on one.

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If you found this article helpful or have an experience with scams, please leave a comment below. Thank you.

12 thoughts on “What is a Scam?

  1. This is a really good article on Scams. Most Scams do not look like one and that is why they are dangerous.
    People’s greed to make quick money is so inticing especially in the current economic climate.
    It took me forever to find an online program to make me honest money online.
    There are scams everywhere but at least I realised it before money was parted with.

    1. Hi, Karen!

      You are so right. Most scams don’t look like scams at all but if we can keep our greed in check, we can usually side-step most scams. The problem of course is once we respond emotionally to an offer, we are lost.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  2. I’m thankful for the opportunity that I am given the chance to comment on the sites of my fellow WAyers. I consider this as special privilege for myself. I hope I can make a good comment which is constructive and can help the site’s owner to strive more in improving his/her site and become a role model for other WA members to replicate.

    Talking about this particular site, Scam Avenger is an authority in its own right. The contents are full of information that will really help aspiring online marketers to step up and finally meet their online goals. As you gaze over the six pages, you will be showered with in-depth knowledge about affiliate marketing programs and affiliate marketing training. It’s like you are armed with a two-prong arrow that ensures you’ll hit the target. Besides, he asks every site visitor to contribute in keeping online scammer at bay by reporting to him any type of online scams they encountered and he will make the necessary measures to controvert those online vultures.

    The author being a former enlisted man is trustworthy and can be relied on in view of his being a well-disciplined person. This is a plus-factor for him to get more enrollees. He is also a novelist which makes him more believable because of his being idealistic . His site offers free training about affiliate marketing programs to enable those newbies to get on the right track and to have a good start. A slowly but surely method of succeeding in an online endeavor.

    Like any other MMO sites, it also promotes Wealthy Affiliate programs as well as Jaaxy Keyword Search app.

    Upon browsing site’s pages, the visitors can see the online entrepreneurial landscape in full view unlike other MMO sites that gives not so sufficient information. In the about page, there are other pertinent contents that will shower the visitors. Going through the several site pages is a breeze. This site’s design though simple is pleasing to the eyes. this is such a nice, informative and built according to the needs of would-be online marketers that will pave the way to their success.

  3. Very informative website. Giving lots of information about scammers. While I have been very dubious online, I have nearly fallen victim to a scam. They would not stop pestering me until I changed my email and phone number. I love how you set out what is a scam. Telling us about all the different types of scams.

    1. Hi, Craig!

      Isn’t it amazing that some scammers think they can beat you into submission with spam? Nobody wants to do business with a jerk and yet that seems to be the business model for scammers. I hate to admit it, but I still fall for scams and you’d think I’d know better.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  4. Hi Gary. Thanks for that very informative article. I’ve bookmarked your website because you have very useful information and may need it in the future. I love how you even went into the psychology of the scammer because they must be someone who has no conscience.
    I got scammed once with a virus protection scam, luckily I got the money back because I paid with the credit card. They were still calling me 2 years later threatening legal action for not paying!
    There are so many scams now, it’s a good thing there are people like you to educate us on what to look out for. Fantastic post.

    1. Hi, Greg!

      The internet is awash with scams with more coming online by the minute. I hope that as the internet matures, people will learn to spot scams from a safe distance.  I’m not surprised they are still after you, once they smell the scent of money, they are relentless.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  5. I do see a lot of people throwing around the “scam” word as you say just because they didn’t use a service or product correctly and aren’t happy.

    With that being said I have been looking for different ways to make money online and noticed that a lot of the opportunities I have come across have a low cost to join but then want thousands upsells to get trained!

    Would you consider these scams?

    1. Hi, Chris!

      It’s true, scam has become the new word for rip-off, but a lousy deal is not necessarily the same as a scam. 

      Regarding your example of a program that is low cost to join but later reveals it is expensive to continue, I don’t consider it a scam if you can choose not to get the expensive training. Although, I would consider it unethical marketing. Education and business require honest relationships to flourish. Whenever someone is dishonest just to get your money, it’s time to leave.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  6. You said that when we pay for scams the money is gone. I actually know a friend who paid but he managed to get his money back. But generally you are right people generally don’t get their money back. I wonder how can we check the money back guarantees. Do you have a suggestion?

    1. Hi, Furkan!

      Your friend is very lucky to get his money back. There really is no way to know if a guarantee is real or not, unless it is enforced by a reputable third party, such is the case with ClickBank. If a product is guaranteed by Clickbank, you can expect a refund if the product is a disappointment. 

      Most online guarantees are worthless and are only meant to instill confidence in the buyer so they will hand over their money. If you read the refund policy on most offers, particularly make money online offers, you’ll see that the marketer has created an excuse to keep your money.

      Thanks for stopping by,


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