Protect Yourself from Scammers

Everywhere you turn, there are people trying to take advantage of you. Ralph Gamelli teaches you how to deal with scammers, con artists, and worse. Ralph Gamelli teaches you how to stop being a victim.

The Scam

A well-dressed man approaches and asks if you have change for a dollar. Before you automatically reach into your pocket — like some common, everyday chump — think for a moment. Who uses change in this day and age? Can’t be for a public phone. Those are gone for good. And everything runs on plastic, anyway. No, this guy is definitely up to something.

What You Should Do

Keep moving and don’t make eye contact. If he presses you, point to your ear and make the international symbol for deafness, whatever that may be.


The Scam

You receive an email from a friend inviting you to his anniversary party. Before you hit Reply, keep in mind that cyberspace is filled with criminals desperately trying to get their hands on your personal information. Is that familiar email address actually a clever fake? Do you smell a trap? Do you hate boring anniversary parties?

What You Should Do

Hit the Delete button and play some online Scrabble.


The Scam

While eating in the break room, your coworker Larry mentions that his car is at the shop, and wonders if you could give him a ride into work tomorrow. You get along with Larry well enough, but it’s not as if he’s your best friend.

What You Should Do

Ask him point blank, “What do I look like? Your personal chauffeur?” Then sit back, take another bite of your sandwich, and enjoy the shocked expression on his face. Try not to laugh too hard or you could choke on your food. If Larry springs into action and performs the Heimlich on you, don’t let that change your mind about giving him a lift. You had a piece of bread stuck in the back of your throat, but it would have gone down with another mouthful of Pepsi. There was no possibility of you actually dying, and on some deep subconscious level, Larry probably knew that.


The Scam

While walking by a neighbor’s house, you see that their little girl has set up a lemonade stand. She wants to know if you’d like some. 25 cents a cup. There’s no question that the “e” in Lemonade has been intentionally written backwards in an attempt to lure you in.

What You Should Do

Ask her if she knows what diabetes is. Tell her, in nauseating detail, how your aunt ended up losing her diabetic foot, even if that aunt never really existed. If the little girl runs inside, crying, try to be out of sight by the time her father comes storming out of the house.


The Scam

You’re at the supermarket, or the gym, or the book store, when suddenly an attractive woman starts making small talk with you. She even gives you her number.

This one is a classic, one of the oldest scams in the book. A single wrong move and you can find yourself locked into a healthy, loving relationship that can eventually lead to marriage, children, contentment, etc.

What You Should Do

Tell her you’re gay or something. Tell her you’re gay and run as fast as you can.


The Scam

You’re golfing with your regular foursome, and on the seventh hole you get your first-ever hole-in-one. Tradition now demands that you buy a round of drinks when you get back to the clubhouse.

What You Should Do

Wait until you sink your last putt on the eighteenth hole, then grab your chest, keel over into the green side bunker, and simply lie back and wait until the paramedics arrive to spirit you away to safety. If, however, your golfing buddies should fail to call an ambulance, don’t take it personally. They’ve known you for quite a while. There was no possibility of a cheap, loathsome jackass like you actually buying a round of drinks, and on some deep subconscious level, they probably knew that.

Ralph Gamelli is of average height, weight, and intelligence, and requires the average amount of time to grow a respectable mustache. His ability to write an interesting bio, however, is far below average.