Scams are nothing new. Consider this cautionary tale from January 30, 1915 from the Island County Times…
“Mike the blacksmith [who helped Anton “Blackie” Anderson run the blacksmith shop in Langley for some time] left for California January 1 intending to spend some time there before heading to New York State via the Panama Canal to visit relatives and friends.
He had a fine trip planned and no doubt would have enjoyed it had he not met two sharpers in Seattle who did him for $1,200.
When in Seattle Mike met a man with whom he stayed three days.
Then a third man put in appearances and together they worked that old racket on Mike betting on the races.
They first let him win $25, then got him to put up $1,200 in cash, then got him to buy a ticket to Spokane to which place they told him they would forward his winnings.
On the train he happened to tell his story to a man who informed him that he had been buncoed.
He immediately returned to Seattle to look for the gentlemen, but they had fled and Monday Mike returned to Langley a poorer but wiser man.
It is too bad, and Mike, who is a hardworking man, who by saving and self denial saved up $2,000, has the sympathy of all.
Everyone is wondering though how Mike got taken in so easily.
It is only a few months ago that a gang of sharpers worked the people around Lone Lake for about $2,000 to $3,000 on a cooperative store deal, and there has not been much of anything said about it.
And about a year ago a fellow sold the town council a chemical fire engine for $625 that should have been bought for $200.
So we have come to the conclusion that the suckers are not all dead around Langley, and that Mike isn’t the only one either.”