What’s a scam?

A scheme which purposely distorts the truth in order to get someone to part with something of value.

Scams-fraudulent business schemes-are not a new phenomenon. With the ever-growing availability of mass communication methods, scams have the potential to target many more consumers with increasingly serious results.

Known scams cover a vast range of business transactions, including pyramid selling/multi-level marketing; investment opportunities; prize/special offers; homeworking schemes; “miracle” cures and bogus charities.

Although the actual message may differ, the intention is always the same; to obtain money from the consumer, either by an outright swindle or by selling goods and offering services which are not commensurate with the price charged.

Scams can reach their target audience in many ways, ranging from a one-person door-stepping operation, through to multinational highly sophisticated telemarketing scams. Advertisements, direct mail, text messaging, phone calls and e-mail are all widely used.


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