It seems that almost every week a new question pops up and ends up on the hot network questions list, all of them being basically

Someone I recently met online wants to send me free money. All I have to do is give him the password to my bank account, or pay some fees first, or send part of the money somewhere. Is it a scam?

Sometimes they are marked as a duplicate, other times they are not. Or before that happens, a lot of people waste a lot of lines answering what has been answered dozens of times before.

Please don't get me wrong, it is very important that we help people to not fall victim to scammers. But couldn't we make it more efficient? Maybe by adding a general, short but understandable answer, and always linking to it? Or adding some tool, like when a question can be protected for too many "thank you" and "me too" answers by new users?

Maybe an automatic "are you sure?" style slider could pop up when the question is being typed, similar to what we can see on other sites which use heuristics to detect possible opinion-based questions, based on some frequently used words.

  • A canonical answer no. If and when we enable blog on the site, it would be a good topic.
    – Dheer
    Sep 5, 2016 at 1:57
  • @Dheer - curious on the idea of a blog. What/how would we use it for? How would a post there differ from the answers here? Sep 5, 2016 at 18:53
  • @JoeTaxpayer A blog would be similar to various blogs on personal finance. It does not answer a specific question. Its more a canonical write up to a specific topic. There are some SE sites where its enabled. The Photography Stack Exchange has a good blog at photo.blogoverflow.com . Building a blog needs quite a bit of efforts and we should enable this only if we have quite a few to regularly contribute.
    – Dheer
    Sep 6, 2016 at 8:17
  • I had made a suggestion that PF&M should have a List of Generalizations of Common Questions similar to the one on meta.math.SE, but the response consisted mostly of silence. Given that the Moderator has expressed a negative view, we are condemned to an unending stream of questions about the tax consequences of transferring money to India, and patient and polite answers from @Dheer saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over again. Sep 13, 2016 at 21:00
  • @DilipSarwate - the example is what I needed. To be clear, the board is member run, my initial opinion was just that, an initial knee-jerk reaction. What should concern you more than that is the silence. As a good faith effort, I started the post that should morph into a nice FAQ, but now I'm just hoping that at least a few interested members participate. The photo blog Dheer linked seemed a huge effort. Your suggestion took me 10 minutes to launch, and should be easy to update. Oct 23, 2016 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


No. Probably not.

Edit - Yes - The general effort has started at Frequently Answered Questions It will take time to flesh out, but ultimately addresses this, and other questions that are repeated almost verbatim.

There are many scams, and subtle differences for each type. Now, with a bit of effort, we should be able to view the posts we already have and be at the ready to close new questions as duplicates for a given issue.

The recent Most common types of financial scams an individual investor should beware of? is a potential list of scam types and stands a chance to aggregate examples to get closer to your idea. Which I personally agree, does make sense.

As a side note - there isn't one question regarding scams that I thought was possibly not. I wouldn't ask anyone if the letter, full of misspellings, including my name, but offering to send me $2.6M, was somehow legitimate. And yet, people would like such things to be possible.

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