Record numbers of people are falling prey to fraudsters. Snake oil salesmen have adapted well to the 21st century; con artists abound. They still run scams in the street, but they also exploit cellphones and the internet to reach victims more readily.They are also drawn to online dating, where fraud has hit a high in the UK. MPs called this week for a ban on “catfishing”, the growing use of fake profiles, often to dupe those seeking romance out of money.While we get a lot of advice about how to avoid financial scammers online, less is said about how to handle an exchange with one in the office, in the marketplace or on the street. That’s partly because victims fail to report unethical behaviour and crime for fear of people thinking they are reckless or daft. Without their stories, we can’t learn how to avoid being victims ourselves.I’m happy to discuss what I have learned, having been conned numerous times. These include having been talked into buying useless stuff out of the back of a van and unwittingly funding a drug habit.
Con artists took me for a ride. Here’s how to protect yourself