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SCHEMES, FRAUDS, scams, and cons are devices by which one party defrauds another of a desired object, usually cash. In some scams, victims are willing participants, hoping to gain an unfair advantage over someone else (Nigerian fraud, winning lottery ticket, etc.) while in other scams victims are unwilling participants (home repair, bank examiner, bumper cars, etc.)

Unwilling participants are often selected because of their age, ethnic heritage, or apparent naivete. Often willing participants are hesitant to file criminal charges, as are other scam victims who are too embarrassed to admit they were duped. Scams range in nature from the feasibly possible (merchandise at slightly under cost, lost pet) to those that are physically impossible (money-making machine.)

The people perpetrating the scams are hoping to identify certain characteristics ...

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