12 Unbelievable Stories of Scams and Schemes

Con artists have been scamming and scheming since ancient times. And yet every generation seems to bring a new bag of tricks, inspired by the latest app, platform, or pandemic there is to exploit. Take a careful step into our collection of great features about capers and frauds, and uncover some prudent advice on how to avoid becoming an unsuspecting sucker.

When a Psychic Reading Costs You $740,000

Sylvia Varnham O’Regan • GQ

Inside the strange, predatory, and lucrative world of psychics who have successfully scammed customers out of their life savings, and the private investigator who’s trying to put a stop to it.

Secret Life of a Con Man

Dustin Grinnell • Narratively

The son of a bank robber and sibling of a psychopath explains how he found his own calling scamming a litany of unsuspecting suckers.

The Grand Schemes of the Petty Grifter

Guy Lawson • GQ

That old adage that you can be anything you want? Well, Jeremy Wilson has lived it for years, crisscrossing the country and inventing new identities. A war hero, an MIT grad, a Hollywood journalist, an IRA operative—Jeremy has claimed to be all those things and more. And oh, what a mess he’s made.

The Wine Thief

Jacob Bernstein • The New York Times

Nicolas DeMeyer was a scammer. Or a hero for the age of inequality. Or a young man haunted by the death of a dear friend. Or all of these things.

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