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Won't Get Fooled Again  Comment Icon 36 Broadcast DATE: Friday, April 1, 2011
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Won't Get Fooled Again
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At Marketplace, we've revealed just about every kind of scam there is — it's our job as Canada's consumer watchdog. And yet week after week, our mailbag is overflowing with stories of Canadians getting ripped off by the same old cons. Why do Canadians keep falling victim, over and over again?

In "Won't Get Fooled Again," our special season finale episode on April Fool's Day, we're turning the tables on our viewers – and for the first time ever, Marketplace will be running the scams instead of exposing them. And instead of grilling the bad guys, we will be confronting the "victims" with one simple question: "Why do you fall for it?"

The show also features interviews with real-life con artists to give viewers an inside look at the anatomy of a swindle. And we reveal the simple but effective psychological tricks they use to rope in their victims — the clever behavioural tactics that have been used time and again to rope in everyone from teens to octogenarians.

Your Comments (36)
In reply to a comment from Kerry

This is ever a component of living with (I think) the brash American elephant. Unfortunately, it is systemic ... makes me wonder about Canadian dignity.
Thank you for your comment, Kerry.

On April 5th I submitted a comment from my RCMP e-mail address. This comment did not get posted. Can you please explain why? There was no content that did not meet the terms and conditions and it should not have been censored.

In reply to a comment from Adam

Simon scammed you.

How you know it was brake fluid? Oh! Because Simon said?

Waht makes you think the Brake Fluid wasn't cleaned up?

Because Simon didn't say?

Believe mey you have to watch Simon. Although he is a good guy - in spite of the fact he comes from Manchester.

A complete series on connnig by Simon would be an intersting program.

In reply to a comment from Gary Lumsden

I totally agree with Gary Lumsden's comments. The over 50 senior buster volunteers with the CAC have educated numerous other seniors in Canada and the United States in being more careful when they answer the phone or being more careful with their personal information. Thanks Gary for your comments.

My heart went out to the vulnerable senior lady being harassed and verbally abused on the telephone by a scum artist...I am still upset today.

Note to those who say "Know your fluids!" I'd like to point out that to determine the fluid type, you'd still have to be crouched down at the rear of your car.

I am the officer in charge for the RCMP with regard to Major Frauds. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (formerly PhoneBusters) falls under my area of responsibility. I am glad to see the media finally paying some attention to fraud. More than 1 million Canadians, plus businesses and governments lose nearly $30 billion annually in Canada to fraudsters. That's almost as big as the drug industry and has a huge impact on our economy and ruins lives. Sadly, most go unreported for a variety of reasons including embarrassment, the false stigma that victims are stupid, not wanting to bother the police because the amount lost was low or because they think the police can't, or won't do anything, or other reasons. Unfortunately this plays right into the hands of the bad guys.

On another note however I was disappointed to see the program refer so much to American experts and American cases. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in North Bay has been helping Canadians since 1993 collecting fraud data to help police domestically and internationally and provides resource material to help Canadians protect themselves. The CAFC also has a SeniorBusters program that helps thousands of seniors every year. As well, the CAFC is known internationally for the numerous fraud disruption initiatives that have been developed here to help prevent Canadians from being victims in the first place.

It's unfortunate a Canadian television program relies so much on the U.S. for it's content and didn't even mention the CAFC.

You guys better have cleaned up that coolant you sprayed on the ground.

Re:"Won't get fooled again". Not one person said: This is NOT brake fluid, it's anti freeze (green) and it would leak under the motor. That was the first clue. Yes, it is a shame that you can't trust people anymore. I would not get out of my car.

How about another episode on all the various phone scams now running. The ones where they say there's something wrong with your PC, or that you've won a prize and you have to book an appointment to come and claim it.

This is an important story; how do we protect our vulnerable members of society, such as seniors? It is scary that my mother or mother-in-law (or any of us) could be taken by con man and I'm sure have been. Sad.

Aren't all these basic high pressure sales techniques used by many supposedly legitimate businesses every day of the week? Sure they're not stealing your identity by they are exploiting the same human weaknesses to enrich themselves. Insurance agents, financial advisers, real estate agents, telecommunications .... it's all in their sales and marketing handbooks. it's getting damn near impossible to earn an honest living these days. hard work doesn't pay nearly as well as a good hard sell technique...

Its amazing how CBC for the sake of the program decided to pour anti freeze on the road, especially on TV. Someone should give them a ticket for that.

Congratulations on the scam programme!
You will never stop the criminals, but the more we educate people the less they take.
I was VERY amazed that the CBC only gave credit to the US group who warned victims, while forgetting to mention the CANADIAN ANTI-FRAUD CENTER in North Bay, Ontario, which began in 1993 as Phonebusters (OPP) and has evolved into one of the strongest International operations. The volunteer Seniorbusters division, of which there are over fifty members, do call back victim counseling. The Call Center receives a 1000 calls a week from Scam victims all over North America. The information is then analyzed by professionals (RCMP, OPP and the Competition Bureau) to assist enforcement agencies world wide.
Marketplace should contact them or check the CAFC website.
As a Seniorbuster,I am very proud of their Canadian leadership and accomplishments

In reply to a comment from Jordan

isn't brake fluid pink, not green? or is that transmission fluid? know your car maintenance!

excellent show! this really raised my awareness in morning the Jehovah Witnesses were at the door...of course, I still trust them to be just what they say they are, always have...but still, i was so much more aware of MY OWN BEHAVIOUR, and notice that it is a matter of self-discipline, too, to be aware of how much "we" want to "do the right thing" socially (for instance, if I think I don't want them to come back I will let them know nicely we won't be home) however, that can be such a revealing statement to someone who could rip off the door-to-door canvasser as well, that is, rip off their role and POSE as a well-meaning religious canvasser...yes, very good program, very educational...

Love your show. This episode on cons was very, very interesting. Simon was so clever to prepare the set-ups with every detail,including 2 coffees to approach the cars, and an already completed survey for the "neighbourhood watch". I certainly learned something important from this show. I happened to see Simon Lovell's "Strange and Unusual Hobbies" in New York last year, and it is FABULOUS!

Regarding the Brake Fluid Scam:

I question why a different substance (even coloured water) was not used instead of anti freeze.

ANTI FREEZE(Ethylene glycol) is toxic to humans, as well as to animals and should therefore be handled and disposed of properly. It has a sweet taste that can contribute to its accidental ingestion. Various symptoms can result from such poisoning, including severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Was the anti freeze properly cleaned up after the scam? If not - I find this very upsetting and irresponsible. Birds and your pets are at risk. I hope that CBC responds to my concern.

I was amazed at how many of the drivers in the parking lot didn't even notice the stickers that were placed in their car. While this show was a real eye opener I did not agree with one thing. I cringed every time your con man squirted antifreeze on the pavement. Could he not have used something safer? Just walking through antifreeze is enough to kill a dog. Small children could get it on their shoes and then touch them. It does not need to be ingested to make someone sick. Could the point not have been made with out dumping a toxic substance?

I've been in the auto service industry for years, and I've often pointed out fluid leaks, tires low on air, or bald, and other clear problems. While I'm sure there are cons out there, it has never been my intention to steal from someone. People need to remember that there are decent people who want to help. Not everyone is a crook.

Well I enjoy the show But tonight you just made me mad. You stated that it the brake scam that you were spreading anti freeze on the ground. Dyed water would have worked as well and not poisened the ground. What If my dog cat or other animals drank up there splash. Didn't anyone use there head setting this one up. Sorry I just think you could have gotten away with the scam with out dumping toxic waste at the smae time. I would like a reply on this matter Please. Tim

I'm surprised that Simon was allowed into Canada with a record and previous jailtime; assuming it was for fraud. These days, the US will not let in people from Canada who have done less, with no conviction! And why are they using ENGINE COOLANT for the scam fluid. Talk about environmentally irresponsible as well as a danger to animals(no mention of cleaning it up).

I have received phone calls telling me I've won a prize (then of course they want personal information). Sorry, but I'm nobody's fool. I just laugh and hang up. As for people approaching me on the street with "survey" questions, well it's just like mom said, don't talk to strangers. It was good advice way back when and it's good advice now. Is that antisocial, unfriendly and just plain un Canadian? maybe, but it's also a good way to avoid being scammed.

I watched you show with amazement and some trepedition. As a Health Care Worker I feel sad that we cannot believe what a person may be saying to us. In Surrey B.C. people walked around an injured,dying individual, afraid that it might be a scam. I have always stopped to help someone, even pulling them out of a flipped car. My private life has been tainted by thiefs but with the aid of two very visual "puppies" let me say that it has been very good for the last five years! A Great Pyr and a Doberman are very helpful in deflecting any door to door salesman as well as anyone who may think that if they come to the door that they will get information. Usually they are scared to death and try to leave ASAP.

A very interesting program. Brake fluid is NOT green! But antifreeze is. Why, on a program like this would you think that I would give you my correct name and e-mail? You have just been conned - but I did like your program.

I firmly believe it is better to trust and be wrong than to never have trusted, except when it comes to money and security. I would never trust anyone with more than I can afford to loose and I wouldn't trust my security with anyone, including the "Harper Government" (formally known as the canadian government).

" People of Canada lets put a stop to any type of door to door marketing a simple law just like the one in the state of wisconsin read it all and lets let the people decide(Wisconsin Department of Justice Traveling sales crews)Who knows we could even safe a few flowerbeds"

Hey I see even though you just showed people how they can get scamed they still give you their first and last name along with email address???
hmmm makes you wonder.

Great show! I just took the online quizzes linked to Industry Canada - although considered a very low risk, I still learned a few things. Thanks for doing the show, I hope many learn from it.

Question though: internet security is a very serious risk - why must I post my email address in order to post here? Hmmmmmmmmmm......

In reply to a comment from Aaron

Right, suspect everyone and trust no one. The secret to fulfillment.

I worked with a girl who's husband used her contacts to scam her friends, co-workers and worst of all family members. He drove a Porsche, wore expensive clothes and was super friendly. It was all a front...even his marriage. I reported him to the police and he was caught and sent to jail. He's probably out now and back scamming under a new name. Don't trust anyone with your money especially if is sounds too good to be true...

In reply to a comment from Louis Richer

My wife and I lived the way you described and we were contacted by our credit card company with a $4500 bill on our credit card that ended up being fraud. So how about letting Marketplace do the good job they're doing.

This show is just pandering to the general paranoia gripping north american society. Think about what you are doing, is it better to live defensively in a state of constant guard against a myriad number of very unlikely bad things that might happen to you, or to live confidently, positively and constructively. People are afraid to talk to each other for fear of what might happen. Give it a break!

INCREDIBLE episode. Before seeing this, I would have probably fallen for the 'brake fluid' trick, myself. It's amazing how oblivious we are to potential threats.

ssssss sssss ssss... "I could've taken anything I wanted".... atta boy Dominik!!!!

Will I hear the song by The Who as your background music? Same as your title.

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