What are Some Common Money-Making Scams?

Diana Bocco

Ads promising overnight riches pop up everywhere on a consistent basis. While many people have caught on to pyramid schemes and old tricks such as envelope stuffing and chain letters, con artists are always coming up with a new version of the classic money-money scam. Unless you are constantly keeping up with "watchdog" websites, it's unlikely that you will know every money-making scam that is currently in use. If that is the case, here is a quick overview of the most popular scams now making the rounds.

Someone running a dieting scam will target people who are unhappy with their body.
Someone running a dieting scam will target people who are unhappy with their body.

Work at home. Scammers know that many people looking for an income are stay-at-home moms or people looking to quit their day job, which makes the money-making scam quite easy to target to a specific population. A work at home money-making scam usually requires you to pay a start up fee to enroll in the program. The simplest scams involve craft assembly, emailing or sending information to potential company customers, or jobs for typing at home. A more elaborate version of the same money-making scam can include promising jobs using the Internet to become rich overnight.

Scammers often target stay-at-home moms looking to make a little extra money.
Scammers often target stay-at-home moms looking to make a little extra money.

The Internet has become a haven for scammers. In fact, "pay to surf" programs, where you are supposedly making money by simply using the internet, have become a popular money-making scam. The problem with this type of "work" is that you must pay a fee to access the information on how to do it. The fee, which ranges from $20 US Dollars (USD) to over $100 USD Dollars, is never made back, as it is almost impossible to find the opportunities promised. While some websites do pay for filling out surveys or answering an email, the pay is rarely over two or three cents, which means it would take you years to make the initial fee back.

A popular version of a money-making scam is done by promising riches to whomever signs for a specific program and then delivering only a list of "work at home" companies. These companies, in the best case, are real, but there is no guarantee that they are looking for workers at any given time.

Medical billing also falls into the category of an expensive money-making scam. A real profession, medical billing is not something that can be done by anybody by simply buying a home kit. These kits, sold for up to $900 USD, provide software and basic knowledge, but do not tell you that it is near impossible for a freelancer without connections to get work with a respectable medical office.

If you looking for a way to make an extra income, do you research. There are lots of true opportunities out there, but there also a lot of opportunists.

Scam artists often target seniors who are easily confused.
Scam artists often target seniors who are easily confused.

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Discussion Comments


@ Fiorite- I have heard of a variation of the reshipping scam you are talking about. The variation involves accepting wire transfers or money orders from a new flame, cashing them out, and sending cash.

This is such a sick scam because the con artists often prey on vulnerable individuals. The cons target widow(er)s, divorcees, and individuals new to online dating.


@ Framemaker- another popular online money making scam is the reshipping scam. This scam is often combined with online dating to lure in vulnerable people.

The con artist establishes a relationship with someone through an online website. They convince the victim they are in love with them to get them to do things with them without questioning motives. The mysterious lover tells them they need to have items shipped to their residence, and then have the victim ship or forward these items to another residence. The con artist actually ships the items, but the items are purchased with stolen credit card numbers. The con artist uses this person to throw off authorities, and draw attention to the victim rather than the con artist.

In the end, the victim is heartbroken, and in trouble with the law. This is probably one of the most damaging frauds on the internet.


There are untold numbers of money-making schemes floating around on the internet that cost people billions of dollars every year. I can think of a few that the article did not mention.

Here's an example of a money making scam. The 419 letter scam (or Nigerian scam) involves answering an email from a supposed foreign finance minister who needs to transfer a large sum of money into your account to save face. You will receive a percentage of the money once the transaction is complete. You are then told to travel to the host country to file legal paperwork, meet with attorneys, etc. The scammers also request that you send advance payment for taxes, attorney fees, etc. If you try to go overseas to retrieve your money, you are then held captive until you pay them more money.

The FBI has stated that people who fall prey to this scam lose around $3000 dollars. There have also been cases of people disappearing or being killed chasing the false riches.

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