Scumbag Awards 2017

Category: Stupidest Scam

Winner: The Brain Booster Scam

The Free Power Scam

Plug in and have it power your entire home without using any actual electricity.

The Diet Drink Scam

Tasty drink – wipes out unwanted extra blubber. Wow – she lost 115 lbs in 2 weeks.

The Brian booster scam

Brian Boosting Made Easy, A pill that doubles your IQ

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Category: Most Public Ransomware

Winner; Wannacry


May 2017, this stopped several hospitals, doctors surgeries and much more for days before it was stopped.


This nasty piece of work encrypts your files and they cannot be decrypted by anyone else plus it deletes any backups. Very common through 2016


This targeted specific computer games and charged $500 in bitcoins for the decryption key. In mid-2016 the developers shutdown the ransomware and published the master decryption key and just the word ‘Sorry’


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Category: Nastiest Scam

Winner: Natural Disasters

Natural Disasters

Every time there is a natural disaster, charities and other organisations appeal for help and the public always respond. But there are always scam appeals as well. Scammers trying to take advantage of that generosity and steal money from those who may have lost their homes and loved ones.

Bogus Hotel Bookings

Up to one in every 16 online room bookings is a fake, according to official figures.

Imagine flying to somewhere only to find your hotel booking was fake and you have nowhere to stay. That’s bad.

Investment in Burial Plots

An unscrupulous business offering burial plots in Rainham Cemetery and promising 40% Returns within 24 months.

They claim that burial space will run out in the South-East within 10 years so buy now and sell back when people are desperate.


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Category: Dating and Romance

Winner: Fake Investigators

1.      Online Dating

There are countless people looking for love, romance and commitment and scammers think these people are easy marks. Numerous scammers spend their days pretending to be in love with various people and building a relationship to the point where they ask for money and sometimes get it. When the prospective partner stops paying then the scammer moves on to new victims.

This is cynical, nasty and immoral.

2.      The Fake Military Personnel Scam

This follows the usual path of fake dating online leading to the fake military man asking for money to get leave or to visit the person.

3.      Fake Investigators:

Once someone has been scammed, they are labelled as easy prey and some scammers will approach them with a new story and offer help.  There are fake investigators offering to find the original scammer and get the money back and have the perpetrators brought to justice. However, this is impossible to do and will just lead to more money being paid to another scammer.

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Category: Biggest Phone Scam

Winner: The Computer Support Call

The Computer Support Call

You receive a call from Microsoft/Virgin/BT to tell you your PC has a virus.

PCCare247 were one of the worst of these companies

The Missed Call Scam

Someone calls you but stops the call too quickly for you to get to the phone. If you call back you’ll find you’ve called a premium rate number and its costing you up to £4 per minute.

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PPI Calls

According to figures from Citizens Advice, 30 million people, or two thirds of British adults, have already received messages about PPI – and 98 per cent did not give permission to be contacted.

Category: Biggest Time-Wasters

Winner: Lifestyle Survey Calls

Lifestyle Survey Calls

Endless calls “I’d like you to answer some simple questions please. It’ll only take 5 minutes”

Yeah – they are short calls but it’s the flood of unwanted calls that comes afterwards from the companies they sell their results to that is the problem.

Mystery Shopper Offers

Endless emails offering a job as a mystery shopper in any shop you want – you just have to fill in a survey first.

But the scammer makes its money from the surveys and there are no mystery shopper jobs and no $1000 vouchers as promised.

Remote Working Jobs

Scammers know that huge number of people are desperate for a job they can do at home and make some money to improve their lifestyle or just to cope with bills. But it’s always a scam and the victims end up paying for nothing.

Billions of these emails go out every week.

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Category: Holiday Scams


This company specialised in setting up fake websites offering holidays in the Canaries. A new website each month using the same photos and offers pulled in a lot of people who paid but didn’t get a holiday and often were out of pocket further on flights that couldn’t be cancelled last minute.

The Vistafun Ryanair Scam

Vistafun used the lure of £250 Ryanair vouchers to trick people into signing up for a subscription to their service. There were no vouchers and Ryanair had nothing to do with the scam.

The Airline Credit Scam

Thieves use stolen credit cards to buy airline tickets and then cancel them, in order to get a flight credit and a confirmation number. They then sell these online on sites such as Craigslist or Gumtree. The confirmation number makes the sale of credit appear genuine but the buyer transfers money by Western Union and it is gone and when they try to redeem the credit – they are told the original purchase was on a stolen card so they cannot.

Walkers Crisps 2016 Competition Scam

Not strictly a holiday scam as it was a competition but the Marketing people at Walkers outdid themselves with this nasty cheating piece of Marketing that backfired as it angered many previously loyal customers.

Category: Financial Fraud

Winner: The Evil High Street Banks and PPI

The Traffic Monsoon Ponzi Scheme

Pyramid investment scheme worth £160 million shut down after taking money from 162,000 people.

Traffic Monsoon, which is run by Charles Scoville, claimed to make people money through online advertising ‘AdPacks’, but Mr.  Scoville, an American “entrepreneur” has a history of similar schemes that collapse.

The Trading Options Scam

Trading options on the stock market is a job for an expert or at least a very well informed amateur, not a beginner.

It is not an easy way to make money – just an easy way to lose money as with all gambling. A recent piece of research showed that home investors who trade options made on average only 20% of the profits of those investors who steered clear of options.

The Banks and PPI

We’ve all had hundreds of cold calls about PPI (payment protection insurance) and this has been going on for years. Millions of people have had their PPI cost refunded by the banks, credit companies and 3rd party brokers who have had to pay back over £26 billion so far.

How did this happen? The banks and others got too greedy and were happy to insist on insurance payments that could never benefit the loan taker. Although this injustice has been known for years, it is an example of supreme greed and stupidity by bankers and is still relevant today.