The Nigerian Prince Scam Is Actually Hundreds of Years Old, But Continues to Scam People Today

Some “princes” just want money for a computer class. Goodwill Sega.

15. Fax Machines Scams

Lest you think fax machines, a relic of the past, are a safe way of communicating they, too, can fall prey to scammers.  In pre-internet times, facsimile transmission, or fax, machines used telephone lines to transmit printed data over the phone in cases where hard copies were required.  While it may seem primitive now, being able to send that would create hard copies of documents without using the snail mail delivery system was a huge development.  As with all major technological developments, scammers soon latched onto fax as a potential for their schemes.

Some scammers selected business numbers and faxed professional looking requests for money from a library or other public fax machine, or in some cases for low fee-per-use fax locations like Kinkos or FedEx.  These faxes would often pose as a collections agency for a business or the IRS and demand immediate payment at an account listed on the fax.

In the post-internet era, fax scams are even easier.  There are numerous web and even mobile phone apps that allow you to fax a document over the internet.  While these are popular for political activism to fax politician’s offices, they can also easily be used to send scam faxes quickly and with no cost.