[Watch out for] reverse mortgage and precious metals scams. Home-equity and reverse-mortage swindles are attractive now because a lot of seniors have paid off their homes, and that's like an untapped bank account. If your home is worth $300,000, and you've paid off your mortgage, you have $300,000 in the bank waiting for me to steal it. A lot of TV and direct mail advertising tells you how to get money out of your house while you are still living in it. Some of these ads are legitimate, many are not….
As for gold and silver scams, coins can be sold at a 300 to 500 percent markup. So the victims would pay $25,000 for a bunch of coins, which they would receive, but years later, they would take them to a coin shop and learn they were worth only a few thousand dollars. This is a great hustle, because the coin industry is largely unregulated. Plus, because the victims receive the coins, they don't realize until years later that they have been taken. With the bad economy, these scams are huge now….
Victims don't look for why the offer is a scam; they look for why the offer will make them money.
"Confessions of a Con Man," As told to Doug Shadel, Reader's Digest, November 2013