Scams that make me laugh -- what are you favorites?

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dandan14
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Scams that make me laugh -- what are you favorites?

Post by dandan14 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:55 pm

I'm always amused by the latest in low-budget tv commercials that are obvious scams.

I saw one today that made me laugh outloud. It claimed that the information about the benefits of Vitamin D are being suppressed (by the government?) and that we should "join together in one voice" by joining the "Vitamin D Health Initiative." And, the commercial says, you'll get free vitamin D for life.

The funny thing is that when you go to the website, they charge you $6.95 per month "shipping and handling" for your monthly supply of Vitamin D. (30 pills of 2000 IU). That made me laugh outloud. A quick search of walmart.com shows 2000 IU Vitamin D is $9.00 for 200 pills, or about $1.35 per month.

I'm sure there is some sucker picking up the phone and signing on to be part of the "initiative" -- but for the rest of us, it at least serves as entertainment.


So I'm curious -- what are some of your favorite ridiculous commercials and obvious scams?

The commemorative coins? The "colorized" collectible $2 bills? Colon cleanse?

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Go Blue 99
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Post by Go Blue 99 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:51 pm

Any infomercial where they say "Only X quantity available...call soon!".

Reminds me a story from my college roommate. He saw an infomercial selling knives and the ad mentioned only 1,000 were made. My friend called up and said "I have a problem..I want to buy these knives as gifts but I have 1,001 friends".

The operator responded: "honey, you have way too much time on your hands".

MWCA
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Post by MWCA » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:55 pm

The emails I get from the FBI in Nigeria.
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chaz
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Post by chaz » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:59 pm

The emails I get from Nigeria.
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Chuck
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Post by Chuck » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:02 pm

The thing that adds platinum to your fuel and adds 22% miles per gallon.

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Post by Wagnerjb » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:08 pm

I am always amused by the financial programs - either a trading software, or making money in Real Estate, or trading foreign exchange, etc.

I like to listen for the key phrases:

"Free". This means they want people who are suckers and who are greedy.

"No credit checks". This means they want people with bad credit, since these people are already making bad financial choices. This is the target market.

"Simple to learn, no training required". This means they want stupid people who know that they cannot deal with sophisticated strategies. If the stupid people are intimidated by the apparent sophistication required, they won't fall for the initial pitch or the scam.

"Achieve the financial independence you deserve". You don't deserve anything. You have to earn it through hard work, sacrifice and savings. But if you fall for this sucker's program your financial independence will be even farther from reach.


I am not sure who I think is a lower form of life. The scammers who steal from stupid people, or the stupid greedy people themselves.

Best wishes.
Andy

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norookie
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Post by norookie » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:24 pm

:D Women under 30 that marry billionaires over 80 for love. :lol:
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c

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Kenster1
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Post by Kenster1 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:25 pm

Guys you've just won the equivalent of $10 million USD from a special lottery in Bahrain!!! You never had to buy any lottery tickets because we have you in our global address book. To procceed with claiming your prize we will need to verify your personal information as well as a small fee of only $2000 for legal, wiring and administrative services.
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Any overconfidence in your ability, willingness and need to take risk may be hazardous to your health.

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SpringMan
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Post by SpringMan » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:32 pm

Rich actors/directors hawking reverse mortgages to seniors. Henry Winkler and Robert Wagner come to mind. I would like to see their reverse mortgages. The lady in the Henry Winkler commercial for One Reverse Mortgage gives a testimonial where she says "they were my savior". Made me think they were right there along side of Jesus. :lol:

edit: I don't mean to say reverse mortgages are necessarily a scam, they may have their uses for some folks.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Post by Ron » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:53 pm

Those insurance contracts for the elderly that state only $x.00 per month, per unit.

What the heck is a unit anyway? $1k, $1.00, or $.01?

- Ron
Last edited by Ron on Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Ron » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:54 pm

SpringMan wrote:edit: I don't mean to say reverse mortgages are necessarily a scam, they may have their uses for some folks.
Well, it keeps "the Fonz" & "Mr. Smooth" from having to be greeters at WallyWorld, while working in retirement :lol: ...

- Ron

matt
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Post by matt » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:56 pm

I don't remember the details, but it was a commercial selling gold or silver coins. They said they were in huge demand, supplies are running out fast! And we'll sell some to you at a 30% discount!

If I remember the basics of supply and demand, huge demand and limited supply equates to premium prices, not discounts. I think that commercial had a fib or two or three.

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C319
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Post by C319 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:59 pm

those colorized "special edition" $2 bills they sell on t.v. for $20

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CABob
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Post by CABob » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:10 pm

But wait! If you act now we will double your order at no extra cost (except for shipping and handling which will effectively double your cost if not more).
Bob

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Post by Auream » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:13 pm

That thing that you're supposed to strap onto your water supply pipes that supposedly "magnetically ionizes" the water to soften the water "naturally" and "without all those BAGS OF SALT!" Don't remember what the heck it's called but I laughed out loud at that one.

KCDrew
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Post by KCDrew » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:45 pm

Magnetic Bracelets

The new claim is that they will help your balance. What a joke. Amazingly, a large percentage of the population believes this crap. I even had someone try to demonstrate the "balancing benefits" by applying an old chiropractic trick.

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Post by guitarguy » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:52 pm

Yada Yada Yada...and you'll get this $1,345,560 value for $19.99!!

And call in the next 10 minutes, and get another one FREE!!! Just pay shipping and handling.

Those commercials just make me :x

What makes me laugh is that somewhere there's some sucker buying that garbage...

Beantown85
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Post by Beantown85 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:54 pm

KCDrew wrote:Magnetic Bracelets
+1

livesoft
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Re: Scams that make me laugh -- what are you favorites?

Post by livesoft » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:55 pm

dandan14 wrote:.... And, the commercial says, you'll get free vitamin D for life.

The funny thing is that when you go to the website, they charge you $6.95 ....
At least they didn't charge you $6.95 a month to remind you to go outside and stand in the sunshine to get your free Vitamin D. Now that would be funny.

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Post by matt » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:56 pm

KCDrew wrote:Magnetic Bracelets

The new claim is that they will help your balance. What a joke. Amazingly, a large percentage of the population believes this crap. I even had someone try to demonstrate the "balancing benefits" by applying an old chiropractic trick.
Penn and Teller: Bullshit had an episode on the medical benefits of magnets. Shockingly, they found none! But they still help you stick stuff to the fridge.

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alec
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Post by alec » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:01 pm

Beantown85 wrote:
KCDrew wrote:Magnetic Bracelets
+1
And the titanium necklaces that athletes wear. :roll:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair

wacodiver
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Post by wacodiver » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:03 pm

Diamonds.

DeBeers has run one of the biggest and longest-running scams of all time to convince the world that diamonds are rare and valuable.

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zzcooper123
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Post by zzcooper123 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:06 pm

Memorial Plates

Beantown85
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Post by Beantown85 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:26 pm

Facebook. I'm not entirely sure why it's a scam, but I just have this feeling.

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C319
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Post by C319 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:40 pm

Social Security Statements... :shock:

amh
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Post by amh » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:02 pm

wacodiver wrote:Diamonds.

DeBeers has run one of the biggest and longest-running scams of all time to convince the world that diamonds are rare and valuable.
I agree that it's a complete scam and naked inducement to conspicuous consumption, but I have to tip my hat to whoever did marketing & advertising for DeBeers back in the 40's and 50's. They did a truly masterful job manipulating people into paying many thousands of dollars for a chunk of carbon that can be produced artificially for a few bucks.

One hilarious business model that I've seen commercials for around here: renting fancy aluminum car wheels by the month. I don't know if it counts as a "scam", I suppose they're giving you something for your money, but completely ridiculous nonetheless.

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Post by wacodiver » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:31 pm

amh wrote:
wacodiver wrote:Diamonds.

DeBeers has run one of the biggest and longest-running scams of all time to convince the world that diamonds are rare and valuable.
I agree that it's a complete scam and naked inducement to conspicuous consumption, but I have to tip my hat to whoever did marketing & advertising for DeBeers back in the 40's and 50's. They did a truly masterful job manipulating people into paying many thousands of dollars for a chunk of carbon that can be produced artificially for a few bucks.
One thing about diamonds is that they are mostly scamming rich folk in contrast to most other scams that prey on the less fortunate. But their master stroke was coming up with the "2-month's salary rule" which DeBeers created in 1947 to stimulate postwar diamond sales after the depressed war years along with their "Diamonds are Forever" slogan. Think for a moment about the genius of that "rule." It sets out a hefty yet barely reachable price for every young man at perhaps the most vulnerable moment of his life. It's a simple and easily done calculation for anyone to make. And it automatically adjusts for inflation until basically the end of time. How many other consumer goods out there have such a brilliant rule for how much you should spend? Except for maybe houses with the 1/3 of gross monthly income thing I can't think of any others.

When my wife and I decided to get married 10 years ago I spent hours pouring over the Blue Nile web site (when it was still the new thing) and read up on diamonds. I got more and more uncomfortable with the whole thing and then finally took the 2 months salary and dropped it into a 529 plan for her daughter (my wife was a single mom at the time). I was trying to show that I wasn't just being cheap about it. That it wasn't about the money but the principle of the thing. And I told her. "Well honey, there's your diamond ring. If you really want one tell me how much money to take back out and we can go get you a ring." Turns out it was definitely the right call on my part as I scored big with her and her family. The ring part was quickly forgotten. But the big deposit into the college savings plan scored me lots of points with the inlaws.

Come to think of it, that was probably the Boglehead thing to do anyway. Except I went with T-Rowe Price (oops) but it's since been rolled over into Vanguard.

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Imperabo
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Post by Imperabo » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:50 pm

I remember seeing an infomercial for an inflatable swimming pool. The line that made me laugh was, "CALL NOW AND WE'LL MAKE YOUR POOL 30% BIGGER!!!"

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Opponent Process
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Post by Opponent Process » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:54 pm

wacodiver wrote:One thing about diamonds is that they are mostly scamming rich folk in contrast to most other scams that prey on the less fortunate.
diamonds are possibly the only widespread scam currently victimizing Bogleheads, who are otherwise pretty financially-savvy. the thing is, in this case allowing yourself to be victimized at least provides a beneficial display of male resources critical to mating with suitable females. DeBeers was able to scale this demonstration down to a little piece of rock; men no longer need tracts of land or barns full of yams, and many women fall for it. you could argue that the real victim here is those women.
30/30/20/20 | US/International/Bonds/TIPS | Average Age=37

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Imperabo
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Post by Imperabo » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:57 pm

I agree that diamonds are a scam, but the scam has endured more than any other because it fills a genuine need. Then need is for the woman to receive a collateralized down payment for sex which the man will have to forfeit if he doesn't marry her. De Beers receives a commission for brokering this important service.

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Post by sschullo » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:10 pm

Love the commercials showing happy people at the roulette, slots, card tables. EVERYBODY is having so much fun!

When I visit my nearest casino for a cheap buffet lunch or dinner, it’s sad to see so many elderly folks gambling.
Public School K-12 Educators: "Ask NOT what your annuity sales person can do for you, ask what you can do to be a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY)."

Atilla
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Post by Atilla » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:00 pm

My favorite scam is Social Security, but I'm 25 years away from collecting and I'm not laughing so much. :D

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Post by word » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:16 pm

geek squad

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norookie
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Post by norookie » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:18 pm

Atilla wrote:My favorite scam is Social Security, but I'm 25 years away from collecting and I'm not laughing so much. :D
DO WHAT YOUR TOLD PLEBEIAN < .GOV IS ONLY HERE TO HELP!....Hide your dog. :lol: Yeah, OT again, Scams......that car over there sir is mine. Im out of gas, could you lend me a 20.00? ( car the huckster is pointing at is yours) So you play,.....Of course "sir". Walk to the car, get in and drive away!
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c

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Post by Pacific » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:34 pm

C319 wrote:Social Security Statements... :shock:
:lol:

Commemorative Coins

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:12 pm

Image

Image
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Post by SP-diceman » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:29 pm

Golds price has never gone to zero!



Thanks
SP-diceman

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Rod Flash
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Post by Rod Flash » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:46 pm

The Goldman Sachs Nigerian email scam.

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/01/05/y ... portunity/

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Qtman
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Post by Qtman » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:25 am

Jimmie Johnson hawking ExtenZ! Figures it would take a Johnson to promote this myth.
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Post by mithrandir » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:33 am

Opponent Process wrote:
wacodiver wrote:One thing about diamonds is that they are mostly scamming rich folk in contrast to most other scams that prey on the less fortunate.
diamonds are possibly the only widespread scam currently victimizing Bogleheads, who are otherwise pretty financially-savvy. the thing is, in this case allowing yourself to be victimized at least provides a beneficial display of male resources critical to mating with suitable females. DeBeers was able to scale this demonstration down to a little piece of rock; men no longer need tracts of land or barns full of yams, and many women fall for it. you could argue that the real victim here is those women.
Add high-end watches, er "timepieces", to that list.

I spent time on a "simple living" forum a couple of years ago and amidst the "how to reuse ziploc baggies" threads was an engagement ring thread. Within that thread many of the women forum members dropped their frugality credentials and admitted that, well, diamonds are an exception. I was shocked and disappointed.

The only advantage I can see to buying your SO an expensive ring is that it provides cover for your male consumer needs like TV and electronics purchases.

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Post by Mr Bear » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:39 am

Insurance: "Your premiums will never go up (due to age.)"

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Post by xystici » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:57 am

wacodiver wrote: "Well honey, there's your diamond ring. If you really want one tell me how much money to take back out and we can go get you a ring."
Smart. Good for you.

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JDaniels
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Post by JDaniels » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:30 am

Being a personal trainer, I always laugh at any infomercial for the "new fitness machine\exercise\trend or potion." Whenever you see any of these infomercials, take a look at the people demonstrating the product. They are in a shape that took them years to get into. Well, if this product is "new", obviously they didn't use it to get into that shape! LOL!
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Post by realitytruthprozac » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:42 am

KCDrew wrote:Magnetic Bracelets

The new claim is that they will help your balance. What a joke. Amazingly, a large percentage of the population believes this crap. I even had someone try to demonstrate the "balancing benefits" by applying an old chiropractic trick.
What's the old chiropractic trick?

tim1999
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Post by tim1999 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:58 am

sschullo wrote:Love the commercials showing happy people at the roulette, slots, card tables. EVERYBODY is having so much fun!

When I visit my nearest casino for a cheap buffet lunch or dinner, it’s sad to see so many elderly folks gambling.
True. Casino advertising almost always shows well dressed, good looking 20-30 something age people having a great time. Go to the casino (slots, particularly) and it's 60-70 somethings in ratty sweatsuits looking grumpy.

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Post by likegarden » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:40 am

Before election : All those politicians promising all these things they will do when in office, and then not do them, or just do the opposite once elected.

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Post by quadz42 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:15 pm

Anytime I see a sign that says "This Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act"...

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Post by nisiprius » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:04 pm

In Walmart* today, the PA system announced: "And if you have your taxes done by Jackson-Hewitt at Walmart*, for just $3 will cash your refund check for you and keep your money safe by putting it on your Walmart Moneycard."

Such a deal!
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Post by Fear and Loathing » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:24 pm

Auream wrote:That thing that you're supposed to strap onto your water supply pipes that supposedly "magnetically ionizes" the water to soften the water "naturally" and "without all those BAGS OF SALT!" Don't remember what the heck it's called but I laughed out loud at that one.
It is called a magnetic separator. It is used in industry to remove iron from the water. While not familiar with that specific device, you can use a DC voltage to remove the various ions in the water. Personally I prefer RO water.

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Post by Bigswimguy » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:46 pm

"The gift that keeps on giving"........at least for BOB!

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