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It's amazing how many highschool-age people get sucked into these things.
Very simple really. Teach highschool kids how to spot
1) If one of the first things a 'recruiter' or 'presenter'
says is "this is not a pyramid scheme/scam", you
should get up and walk out. Immediately. Don't say a
word, don't try to excuse yourself. Just get up and
walk out. Immediately.
the organizational structure that is the key to
your money-making future is shaped, literally, like a
pyramid, well gee go figure. It's a fucking pyramid
scheme. You're old enough to know your shapes by now.
Don't say a word, just get up and walk out.
3) If the presenter has a 'wife' who is dressed like
high-class call girl and keeps smiling at you and
complimenting you on the most mundane things, it's a
scam. Get up and walk out. Immediately.
4) If the presenter claims that he was working a 'so-called'
real job making $40,000.00 a year and cutting his own
hair because he was struggling to get by, it's a scam.
That's actually petty good money. Get up and walk out.
I'm sure there are other ways to spot a scam that
could be added to the class, but you get the general
idea. I was at a friend's apartment earlier, and she has
a highschool age roommate. The roommate got sucked
into one of these things, hook line and sinker, and
there was a 'presenter' in the living room pitching his
spiel to all her equally young and naive friends. I saw
all four of the above-mentioned signs in the
presentation. In addition to those, he also kept telling
them that if their friends and families don't support
you in this, then they don't respect you as a person.
Internet Scams 101
[swimswim, Jul 09 2012]
Vous etes ici
Now with added editorial integrity... [4whom, Jul 09 2012]
||Got my vote [+]. I always thought there should be a high school course in 'life lessons'. Things like you just mentioned plus a basic understanding of how logic and persuasive arguments function - such the straw man attack etcetera. Throw in a few other skills as how to manage a basic budget, tie some proper knots to hold things on top of the car and they'll go away with skills that will be of life-long utility.
||The local high-schools have a class titled 'life skills', in
which they teach things like budgeting and balancing a
checkbook. Spotting scams isn't part of the curriculum.
There are enough scams out there to justify a class of
||It makes my blood boil, hearing about these kinds
of things - horrible horrible bastards.
|| This is a classic problem though, how do you
prepare a young person
for the rigours of the outside world without
ruining their otherwise positive and optimistic
|| I may be a miserable, cynical, sneering bastard
today, but in my youth, I really was quite
idealistic - I wouldn't have wanted to sit cynicism
lessons, it would have spoiled all the fun and
surprise of having my hopes and dreams trampled
on quite so spectacularly later.
||There's a few of the nastier surprises out there that
genuinely wish someone would have warned me
as a youth, like how political the workplace can be
and that you really can get fired from a job just
because the right co-worker doesn't like you. Or
having a roommate, while sounding obviously more
financially secure, has a lot of risks of its own.
|| There's a million things wrong with the education system but teaching vague, diluted 'life skills' is really the wrong direction to go. The specifics of this scam-spotting course would have to be generalized to the point of being useless, since scammers will just swerve around any particular giveaway you've taught.
||I had some "micro-economics" courses in elementary school, but they really didn't teach anything useful (and were to early, before I had a real understanding of money). A high school level class that taught the basics of finances, managing credit, and a realistic picture of income/outgo for labor and services would be well worth the time.
||The biggest danger is overthinking a scam. You'll lie
awake at night trying to spot the catch, and the
scammer knows it. They will challenge you to spot
the catch, and usually they say it right in their
original recruitment pitch. 'I bet you're wondering
what's the catch here, right?'. If the guy says that,
you know right away that there's a fucking catch
that he thinks he's too clever for you to find and
he's challenging you to look for it. The elusive
'catch' is the distraction he uses to pull the wool
over your eyes.
|| If you can tell that there MUST be a catch, then stop
thinking and get out. Congratulations, you've won
the game. You don't have to know what kind of
scam it is to avoid it. ALL you need to know is that
there IS a catch. If there IS a catch, get out.
||I think a course covering a few tens of common scams
would give a student a good head start in spotting
kinds. Also there are some things whole genres of
scams have in common.
|| For example the idea it should be kept quiet, the
abovementioned pyramid structure of an organization,
the claim that someone can make loads of money fast
with little experience, training, or risk, or an exchange
that involves someone providing something of
significant and liquid value up front with collateral or
promises given in return.
||On an unrelated note someone tried to suck me into such
a scheme when I was fresh out of high school. The use of
basic math protected me even when I knew nothing about
the scam and didn't even realize it was a scam.
||Basic math (including, as mentioned in the post,
geometry) saved my bacon a few times as well. But
scams seem to be cropping up at an alarming rate
these days. If it's not phishing scams, it's pyramid
schemes. If it's not pyramid schemes, it's Ponzi
schemes. I've often wondered if there's some
scammer's handbook out there being circulated,
because it is AMAZING how similar every one of the
pyramid schemes I've encountered have been.
||//Things like you just mentioned plus a basic understanding of how logic and persuasive arguments function - such the straw man attack etcetera.// My high school taught that! They failed to teach us about scams though, and as a result I still get occasional calls from my classmates hawking knives for Vector Marketing.
||Mathematics has never spared me from a scam.
I'm sure it would have spared many of them... but ya can't work with what ya don't got.
|| Looking a feller in the eye though...
well that there's a whole different kettle of calculus.
||The only scam I've ever fallen for involved a pretty girl
with a taste for expensive drinks and an Vienna nightclub
owner triple-charging my credit card (this was before I met
my wife). It wasn't even until I got home that it dawned on
me that the girl was in on it. At the time, I was having too
much fun to notice, but later I realized that she'd been
ordering a drink, taking two or three sips, then pulling me
out on the dance floor. This went on for maybe five hours.
They were probably recycling her cocktails and serving
them to somebody else.
The next morning I ordered a plate of sausage and fried
tomatoes and ended up having a lengthy telephone
conversation with my credit card company while the café
manager stood across the dining room glaring at me. I was
|| I'm not sure if any class in high school could have prepared
me for that.
||I [+]'d this. Purely because 90% of scams are easy enough to spot. There'll always be the 10% that take a bit of thought and the 1% of really clever ones, but it only takes a few minutes to warn kids about the obvious ones.
|| In fact I run a very successful course to warn kids about exactly these sort of things. You too can become a qualified and certificated trainer with our global company for only 5,000USD - and that's great value because you'll be bringing in so much money that you'll need a bigger bank to put it in! Just make sure you recruit five other trainers. It's for the children!
||[Alterother] a general rule to know what you're
buying and its price would have protected you from
||It's quite educational to have someone spend a lot of effort trying to recruit you into a pyramid scheme. A very nice couple who we vaguely knew, once started being very nice to us, inviting us to dinner, doing us favours, etc., all as part of a plan to recruit us to Amway. As soon as we made it very clear we weren't interested, they dropped us like a stone. It was quite a lesson in the lengths people will go to to recruit new members.
||(Tangent: does anyone know where the "101" phrase
||[theleopard] It comes from "Room 101" in George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty Four" - organisers of introductory courses on topics like to allude to the terror of "Room 101" to ironically suggest that their course will be the most difficult and fearsome introduction to a subject ever.
||// a general rule to know what you're buying and it's price
would have protected you from that scam... //
|| I knew what I was buying and its price. I just didn't know
until the next day that they'd run my card four times for
each purchase and (probably) forged my signature on the
other three slips.
||Ha! Amway is the organization the folks at my friend's
apartment were recruiting for!
|| Most US colleges number their courses starting with a subject code, then with (nominally) the first number referring to the difficulty/year, and the last numbers indicating (roughly) complexity in that year. Thus CHEM 101 or BIOL 101 would be the introductory courses for these subjects. CHEM 112 would still be a freshman course, but a slightly more complex or specialized one. CHEM 264 would be a sophmore level course, but specfically the follow-on to 164.
||that's not a scam, it's fraud
||Oh, good. That means I've never been the victim of a scam,
then. What a comforting thought.
|| I was thinking of it as a scam because, once I'd thought
about it, I was pretty sure they'd used the pretty girl to
sucker me in.
||Well you can't Snopes 419 anymore, so given [MechE]'s
explanation we move onto Snopes 467 , which would be
same year, more complex and 2 down in the ninth? This
idea is what Snopes does. Rather point the kids in that
direction. Snopes have already done all the editorial
||I thought Snopes just bunked/debunked rumors and urban
||No that's mythbusters. See /fraud/topscams.asp (
will post link)