Beware the Deceivers: 31 Chilling Scams You Need to Know

There is no country free from scams, but in South Korea, the reality is that there are too many scammers for its economic strength, almost like a developing country. So much so that there's even a term, "Republic of Scams." There are several reasons why there are so many scammers, but one significant factor seems to be the lenient punishment for fraud. (In Korea, the punishment for fraud is considered very lenient, and there is public opinion that the penalties should be strengthened. However, changes have not yet been made.)

Fraud is a heinous crime that can devastate an individual or a family's life, so it is crucial not to get involved in scams. Recognizing the characteristics of scammers and being aware of warning signs can help prevent fraud.

Beware the Deceivers: 31 Chilling Scams You Need to Know

Beware the Deceivers: 31 Chilling Scams You Need to Know

Here is a summary of 31 types of scams identified by a lawyer who used to be a prosecutor:

  1. Overly kind (flattering) when unnecessary (hit and run!).
  2. Fails to keep promises (cut ties after 3 violations!).
  3. Disregards the socially disadvantaged.
  4. Continually acts to gain sympathy, lacks persistence.
  5. Uses others as a backdrop (halo effect).
  6. Demands secrecy.
  7. Urges actions desperately.
  8. Delays repayment after borrowing money.
  9. Talks only about a rosy future (excessive profits and other benefits).
  10. Avoids leaving evidence (e.g., verbal agreements, uses abstract phrases).
  11. Speaks well and is quick-witted in response.
  12. The amount of scam is awkwardly small to justify legal action (custom-tailored scam).
  13. Avoids giving direct answers.
  14. Discourages victims from fighting back with false rumors.
  15. Commits fraud even with a respectable job if in difficulty.
  16. Brags about a glamorous past.
  17. Has a keen sense of smell for money.
  18. Skilled at identifying potential scam targets.
  19. Deceives by presenting a 'dormant patent' as if it will be commercialized immediately.
  20. Flips the situation when disadvantaged ('Let's not do this! Let's call it off.').
  21. Uses technical jargon to complicate communication.
  22. Pretends to be an expert by appearing on TV shows (e.g., Beverly Hills stock millionaire).
  23. Makes the amount to be embezzled seem trivial (minimize).
  24. Requests deposit into a third-party account.
  25. Provides notarization when borrowing.
  26. Stirs emotions (using familiar terms like 'Pops!', sharing family photos).
  27. Creates a favorable image through acts of giving (good deeds).
  28. Asks for large sums (e.g., 100 million, 200 million won) in cash, not via bank transfer.
  29. Requests money shortly after starting a romantic relationship (e.g., romance scam).
  30. Insists on taking phone calls alone or prevents ending calls (e.g., voice phishing).
  31. Requires advance payment before sending goods (e.g., second-hand transactions).

Scams often occur among acquaintances. It's important to be wary of people who exploit personal relationships to commit fraud. This could be close friends or even relatives.

As you know, it's crucial never to engage in financial transactions with close ones—friends or family. Doing so can lead to losing money, relationships, and in extreme cases, even life.

Deceivers are skilled actors who exploit people's psychological weaknesses and greed. If someone asks to borrow money, it's best to cut them off immediately. It should be made clear that money transactions among friends are off-limits to prevent any such issues. If they still appeal to your emotions with statements like, 'Are you really going to let money ruin our friendship?' or 'How could you do this to me?', it's better to sever ties. A true friend wouldn't ask to borrow money in the first place.

Precautions When Drafting a Financial Transaction Contract

When conducting financial transactions, the following measures can be helpful:

  1. It is safer to include the other party's handwritten signature when drafting a contract (promissory note). This prevents them from denying authorship if the contract is typed.
  2. Use a personal seal rather than just a stamp, and make sure it is thoroughly stamped, not just lightly. If signing, it is more secure to sign and also stamp with the personal seal. (In Korea, it is common to use a personal seal instead of a signature.)
  3. Always include in the contract the purpose for which the borrowed money will be used and the method of repayment. Misrepresenting the purpose of the loan can be considered fraud.
  4. If the contract mentions significant profits from lending money, it could be seen as an investment contract. To ensure it remains a lending agreement, include a "principal guarantee" clause in the contract. Without this, the borrower could claim they received an investment, not a loan.
  5. Be particularly cautious with under-the-table agreements. Without a proper written contract, it could be treated as if the agreement was made for less than the actual transaction amount to reduce taxes.
  6. Always transfer money through bank accounts, not cash, to leave evidence of the transaction.

The term "under-the-table contract" refers to agreements made for a lower reported amount than the actual transaction value to reduce tax liabilities, a practice often occurring in Korea.

In Conclusion

Scammers have a keen sense of smell for money. They often target those who appear to have money, so acting as if you don’t have money even when you do can also be beneficial. There’s a saying that the dumbest thing you can do is to brag about money. Truly wealthy people do not flaunt their wealth. It’s often those who are somewhat wealthy or not wealthy at all who boast about money. 😄

There have been cases reported abroad where people have lost their lives jokingly flaunting their wealth.

(In the United States, there was a tragic incident where a person posted a photo on his Facebook with a caption stating "I misplaced $60,000. I hope my wife didn't go shopping with it", only to be fatally robbed by teenagers.)

Some people are naturally unable to say no to others. And, although rare, there are also those who strangely believe that they should lend money simply because they are friends. These people are often easy targets for scams.

There are frequent reports of celebrities being scammed and tragic stories of people incurring huge debts by cosigning loans. Even the Bible advises against cosigning loans (Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 22:26.) It is safest not to cosign loans, even with close acquaintances.

Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;

Proverbs 22:26 (NIV)

There are also many fraudsters who exploit human greed. There is absolutely no need to pay attention to promises of unbelievable profits. Listening to such claims can lead to great losses while chasing minor gains.

Everyone might think they won’t fall victim to scams, but anyone can be ensnared by a cunning scammer's trap. Knowing their tactics can help prevent falling victim to scams.