Top 5 Scams that rocked the world! - Marvin Germo

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Top 5 Scams that rocked the world!

By: Marvin Germo | July 5, 2014

This is to kick start our ongoing column on scams.  The heart of all of this is to educate more Filipinos on the nature of scams, what it is, how it works, and how it can be avoided.  I want you to earn money the right way and for you to keep it not just in your generation but also to your children’s children.  As what I always say in my talks, a scam is something that gives you high return but promises you no risk at all.

Check out the top 5 Scams in the world by our “Scam Crow” Columnist Mon Lao!  Yes he chases off scammers like Scarecrows chase off birds!


Scam Alert

Just like risk, scams are everywhere.  For a scam to occur, two factors are needed: a cunning person (deceiver) and a gullible person (deceived).  Scams come and go but people repeatedly fall for it because of greed.  Scam artists are experts specially in preying on the emotion of the unsuspecting public.. Conclusively, it can be said that the gain of one is the loss of the other one.

 Let us below the worst scams that ever rocked the world.

 1. Ponzi scheme. This is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator pays returns to its current investors from new capital paid by the new investors. Operators of Ponzi schemes usually entice new investors by offering to double their investments in a time frame of 90 days.  The sustainability of the system depends on the  increasing flow of money from new investors. Without it, the system will implode.

The scheme is named after Charles Ponzi who became notorious for using the technique in 1920. Ponzi, who with his operation took in so much money to the point that  investors and federal agents became suspicious of his activities and discovered his elaborate fraud. Everyone who invested in the scheme ended up losing every last cent.

2. Frank Abagnale scam.  The movie Catch Me If You Canwas was based on the story of Frank Abagnale, who spent the better part of the 1960s passing out bad checks, amounting to a staggering $2.5 million. His operation covered a minimum of  26 countries and he always successfully impersonated doctors, lawyers, and teachers. He ended up spending only 5 years in prison until the US government enlisted his expertise to ironically fight scam artists. Years later, he ran his own fraud consultancy agency and is a millionaire.   

3. Eiffel Tower scam.. Victor Lustig, has already  conducted several scams and cons throughout his life time . He was so sly that  he even managed to fool Al Capone. His “shining moment” came when  he was forever remembered as The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. In 1925, rumors were circulating that Parisian authorities were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their prized landmark, the Eiffel Tower. Lusting leveraged on this information and managed to convince a metal scrap dealer that the Tower would be sold. He ended up taking a hefty sum of money from the dealer.

eiffel-tower 3 scams

4. Selling New York landmarks.  George Parker was one of the few talented and prolific men preying on gullible. For several years, he made a living by selling various New York landmarks to unsuspecting tourists. His favorite pieces of “real estate” were the Brooklyn Bridge, Madison Square Garden, Grant’s Tomb, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and even the Statue of Liberty. He is indeed very good sales person, however, using his talent for the wrong cause.

5. Mona Lisa scam. In 1911, Argentinean Eduardo de Valfierno paid a Louvre employee to steal the Mona Lisa for him. He had no use for the original painting as his objective was to sell various forgeries to art collectors throughout the world. He simply needed the painting to be out of the museum to fool everyone into thinking that he was selling the actual Mona Lisa;

Always remember, scammers are getting creative and innovative nowadays. Always be on guard otherwise, who knows, the nest person beside you is the con man waiting for you to fall.into his hands.


Mon Lao 2Edmund Lao is a Registered Financial Planner who has a passion to help Filipinos invest and right way and avoid being scammed.  He is known by many as the “SCAMCROW” loved by investors feared by scammers.  His passion is to save Filipinos from scams and teach them to invest properly in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.  He owns the website



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