There are hundreds of ways to lose money to a scam artist. Most successful scams are founded upon the victim's own greed. The promise of something for nothing or the promise of a fantastic deal is often the come-on. Remember. you don't get something for nothing. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Strangers rarely offer to split found cash or share their lottery winnings.
Several residents in the city have received collect calls from various jails, and accepted the calls thinking a friend or relative was in trouble. The caller tells the homeowner something like, "I don't know how I got connected to your number, I was trying to reach my mom / friend /parent / relative to let them know I was in jail."
The homeowner feeling sorry for the person takes the bait, and the caller sets the hook with one final plea for help. It goes something like this: "I only get one call so please, please I need you to call my mom at work and let her know I'm in jail. Her number is 281-XXX-XXXX, but you have to dial *72 before the number because it's a business / PBX line." Dialing *72 (star 72) followed by "mom's" phone number transfers your phone number to the number you just dialed. Oops! They now have your line and can make long distance calls without your knowledge, and it's on your nickel. This can get expensive quick. Dialing *73 reverses the process.