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I'm headed off on summer hiatus and to produce shows for Season Five. I'm really excited about Season Five because we're producing shows on Pick-Up Artists,  Time Travelers and Imposters -- plus a lot more. It will be fun!We'll also be adding a new feature called Scams & Cons News about recent scams from around the world. This episode provides a preview and I'd love to hear what you have to say, so drop me email at & Cons News will be released on opposite weeks from our regular episodes, so we are now a weekly podcast!Enjoy your summer!Support the show
Bits and Pieces

Bits and Pieces


Every now and then we come across stories that are so unique or rare that they don't merit their own episode, but that doesn't mean they should be forgotten.In this final episode of Season 4, we bring you stories of jetpacks, sucker lists and counterfeit whiskey. They have nothing in common except that they're interesting and they fool thousands.Support the show
Unfortunately, the world has endless examples of people in need. The ones that real deserve our consideration, but the ones that are false ... those are the ones that deprive others of help they may desperately need.Whether it's a person seeking help for a relative who has cancer, a homeless man who gave up his lasts $20 to help a stranger or those jars you see in convenience stores seeking aid for someone in your community, you can bet there are scammers ready to count on your kindness to keep their wallets full.We'll tell you how it works, but don't let that stop you from being a good person. Just be sure the help you want to give goes to those with the need.Support the show
The "War of the Worlds" broadcast. The "Fountain of Youth." The "Cardiff Giant."Odds are you have heard of at least two of these three scams, but it's also likely you don't know the whole story. Even textbooks get it wrong. Don't worry, we're here to help.We'll set you straight, despite what's in your fourth-grader's history book. The Cardiff GiantThe Farmer's MuseumMarvin's Marvelous Mechanical MuseumSupport the show
If you want to fool thousands, you have to be able to reach thousands and mass media is built just for that purpose.Companies and pranksters have longed used these tools to peddle their tales, but don't be deceived. They still want your money -- they just want to distract you while they talk you out of it.Support the show
How would you feel if a person who had the power to destroy the world had a debilitating medical condition. Would you vote for them, unsure how they would perform in a crisis? Politicians don't want to find out, so they keep secret vital information the public needs to make informed choices.And what about a senator, who had legally been deemed incompetent by a judge because of her dementia, continued to vote on public issues for four months?And there is the president who chose to have a risky surgery at sea to keep the press from finding out.Individually, we're entitled to medical privacy, but when a medical condition impacts our safety, we deserve a vote.Listen in and hear the excuses public officials share about why they believed deception was in the public interest.Support the show
Two brothers turned their bar into a political machine that ruled Kansas City. From 1925 to 1939, the Pendergast brothers lined many pockets -- mostly their own -- by controlling public projects and contracts.They ran the city, the county, the state and, eventually, helped Harry Truman into the White House.We'll tell you how it was done, how taxpayers were aware of it and why they went along.Support the show
New stadiums can cost several billion dollars to build and who wants to spend that kind of money when the public could foot most of the bill?True, there are some owners who have shouldered the entire cost, but those are rare.In this episode, we tell you how teams prepare years in advance to use fan money as no-interest loans, to avoid taxes on their share of the stadium revenues and gin up excitement among fans to drive up the cost -- and profits -- of a new venue.And it doesn't stop there. Listen in as we lay out the playbook on how to build new stadiums using your money.Support the show
Suppose you wanted to build a new building for your business. You'd check the zoning laws, apply for the proper permits and hire a licensed contractor to do the work. These laws are intended to protect you and others from shoddy work that can lower the value of your new facility.It works pretty much the same in Mexico, but Walmart understood that putting some money in the right people's pockets could bypass local and U.S. laws to get the job done exclusively and cheaper.ATT tried the same thing in Illinois and drug companies do the same to doctors.Money makes the world go 'round, but it takes scams to move that cash from your pocket into those who wield more power.Support the show
In 1939, Alabama gave local sheriffs control over prisoner food budgets. They could decide how the money was spent and what food was served.If they spent less than what was budgeted, the rest of the money would not go back to the county, it would go legally into the sheriffs' pockets. Hey, what could go wrong?It wasn't until 2019 when the Alabama legislature changed the law so any excess funds would go back into public coffers.Before then, sheriffs abused prisoners so they could build expensive private homes, but that's not the only way prisoners and their families were extorted and we'll tell you about those, too. When you have a captive market, the pickin's are easy.Support the show
We're making a pivot in Season 4. Having run you though all of the scams run on individuals, we're taking a look at con jobs run on thousands or millions of people.Our teaser tells you what you need to know. The new season begins in just two weeks.Support the show
It's my second favorite scam podcast. Visit Scamapalooza's website for more episodes.Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.Support the show
The holidays are upon us and with them, the end of Season 3. We'll be back in January with Season 4.Expect some changes for Season 4. We'll be focusing on scams run against the public. Things like the bribery of public officials, the political machine of Tom Pendergast in Kansas City and an Alabama law that allowed sheriffs to steal funds intended for feeding inmates to fund vacation homes and more. In one case, two sheriffs split the $1,000 cost for a trailer of corn dogs and fed them to prisoners twice a day.We're hard at work, but we hope you have a great holiday season. See you in January!Support the show
It's a mystery writing trope: Twins commit a crime, but can't be punished because they look alike. You should expect better than that from Scams & Cons and we're here to deliver.In this episode, we have stories of twins who ran their own scams, usually in different areas of the country and the fact that they were a twin had nothing to do with the scams they ran. In most cases, they ended up running different scams entirely.Is it nature or nurture? We'll tell the stories, you figure that one out for yourself.Support the show
What time is it? 4:23? Thanks.You could have gotten the answer from your phone, a sign in front of a bank or dozens of other sources. So, why spend $150,000 for a Rolex to give you the same information.Luxuries are perceptions and scammers use those perceptions to make you think you're getting a very good deal on something that can perform the same function for far fewer dollars. Scammers have exploited those dreams for centuries, but now marketers have refined those techniques to scam us in legal ways.Listen in because, as always, we'll tell you how it's done and why we fall for it.Support the show
Golly, I'm sorry I spilled that mustard on your jacket, please let me help you clean it off. Mistakes happen, but this was no mistake. You've just been distracted long enough for someone to lift your wallet or steal your briefcase or luggage. Unfortunately, by the time you realize that, that helpful lady has vanished.This really old scam is called The Mustard this form of it is fading into history. The Mustard is now played differently in a form that safer for the scammers and far more dangerous for you.The Mustard remains a squeeze play, but its methods are electronic. Instead of lifting your wallet, they just steal your PIN number.This scam is run a number of ways, so don't be a sucker. Listen in and find out who has just taken your ATM PIN.Support the show
Remember the movie "Catch Me If You Can?" It was based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr. Abagnale is still conning us -- and making good money doing it. Like any good con artist, the trick is in misdirection. He doesn't want us to see prison files that show he was in jail during much of the time he outlined his escapades. He doesn't talk about stealing expensive camera equipment from a summer camp. He doesn't talk about pretending to be a doctor at Arizona State University performing examinations on potential stewardesses.When asked about these and other contradictions in his life, he cloaks himself in a quilt of love of country and family dedication. He says he doesn't talk about his past life (although he did to Google in 2017) and disavows writing (or reading) a book which bears his name as an author.In this episode, we'll focus on one part of Abagnale's story: the movie, "Catch Me If You Can" in which you'll hear Abagnale tell the same story many different ways. Listen in as we caught him because we could."The Greatest Hoax On Earth: Catching Truth While We Can" by Alan Logan.This is the definitive guide to Abagnale's liesPretend podcast by Javier LeivaJavier takes you on an audio journey through Abagnale's life, uncovering new information about the con artist and his family.The Carson Podcast with Mark Malkoff Mark listens as Abagnale discusses bunking with Leonardo DiCaprio and other tales.Support the show
In Greek mythology, The Sirens were beautiful women with the upper bodies of humans and the lower bodies of birds whose bewitching songs lured sailors to their doom. Their singing lured sailors would try bringing their ships close to shore where they would either crash their ships or sailors would jump overboard and drown.Today's sirens are cult leaders, their methods draw you in, convince you they can ease your pain and making you part of their family, all along siphoning off your money and all connections to the outside world.Cults can be dangerous things. In this episode we introduce you to a cult member and a cult leader who tell you how it's done and how she managed to break away.It's a compelling story, but we won't send you away believing that Scams & Cons will provide you unending love and harmony ... unless you're into that kind of thing.Dr. Janja LialichSupport the show
Scammers and con artists generally trick suckers into handing their money over willingly. Blackmail is intended to have you believe you have no choice but to pay up, even though you know they'll be back for more.Experts nearly universally believe that blackmailers should not be paid and they rarely come through on their threats. But at the time, you're scared and afraid to turn to anyone for help because you must confess what it is that the blackmailer is threatening you with.In this episode, Scams & Cons, tells you how to recognize blackmail, how it works and that help is available without making you vulnerable.Listen to this one. You've got a nice little headset there. It would be a shame if something happened to it.Support the show
Scams & Cons will be back in two weeks, but before we return, it seemed timely to talk about voter registration fraud.Registration fraud is different from voter fraud in that it seeks to change documentation. Voter fraud is when someone who is ineligible attempts to cast a ballot.We're apolitical here, but we do want to make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote, gets to vote. Listen in a find out how to protect your rights.Our regular Scams & Cons episodes return September 9 for our third season with a program on blackmail. Be sure to listen. We know where you live.Support the show
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