You never really know someone…especially online. In today’s world, the power of influence can be the quickest path to money and fame, and it often ends in ruin. These are the stories of the world’s most insidious Scamfluencers. And we are their prey. On Wondery’s new weekly series, join co-hosts Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi as they unpack epic stories of deception from the worlds of social media, fashion, finance, health, and wellness. These influencers claim to be everything from charismatic healers to trusted financial insiders to experts in dating. They cast spells over millions. Why do we believe them, and how does our culture allow them to thrive? From Black Swan Murder to a fake social media influencer to an audacious Hollywood Ponzi schemer, each season will take the listener along the twists and turns, the impact on victims, and what’s left when the facade falls away.
New episodes come out every Monday for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers. Listen ad-free on Wondery+ or on Amazon Music with a Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.
ENCORE: The Book Bandit
This episode comes out for free on 03/04, and is available early and ad-free for Wondery+ subscribers.
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The mystery thickens in this rerun about a puzzling phishing scam. When some of the biggest authors, publishers, and agents in the world become targets, it throws the industry into chaos – and turns everyone involved into an amateur detective. Rumors about the scammer’s identity – and motives – abound. And as the scammer gets bolder, his targets become determined to crack the mystery wide open.
Vijay Mallya loves racing cars and partying hard – and being an heir to a multi-million dollar empire makes it easy to do both. When Vijay takes over his father’s company, he doubles down on its beer brand, launches a glamorous airline, and buys a Formula 1 racing team. He becomes a hometown hero and an inspiration to many people in India – until they discover that his victories are coming at their expense.
This episode contains a reference to suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
The Shark Tank Charlatan
Nate Holzapfel is a natural salesman. When he goes on the television show “Shark Tank” in 2012, he wows investors with his line of ratchet-style belts, which he claims are “like a giant zip tie for your pants.” His company takes off, but Nate still isn’t satisfied – he wants to live even larger. That’s when he decides to take on a much darker business venture: defrauding the most powerless people he can find.
This episode contains descriptions of sexual violence and assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assualt and would like to speak with an advocate who is trained to help, the U.S. National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE.
Death Becomes Him
Alexandre Despallieres gets to live out his lifelong fantasy of recording a pop song when he’s just 19 years old. He thinks it’s his chance to achieve everything he’s always wanted, including music industry stardom. But when the single falls flat, Alexandre will have to find other ways of becoming rich and famous – even if it means lying, committing crimes, and swindling the wealthy benefactors who fall in love with him.
Listen Now: Academy - Featuring Myha'la
Welcome to Bishop Gray Academy, a world of high-stakes and cut-throat competition.
Academy, a riveting coming-of-age audio drama co-produced by AT WILL MEDIA and Wondery, follows the story of Ava Richards, a scholarship student who transfers to Bishop Gray, one of the most elite and competitive boarding schools in America.
As Ava tries to find her place in this high-pressure environment, she soon crosses paths with an underground society known as The Night of the Wolf, which caters to the school's wealthiest students and enforces strict secrecy. With trust in short supply, Ava must navigate a dangerous and alluring world where friendships will be tested, romances will bloom, and ambitions cut short.
Listen to Academy: Wondery.fm/Academy_
The Solar-Powered Scammer
When Jeff Carpoff starts a business making portable solar generators, it becomes an instant hit among big corporations, Hollywood studios, and deep-pocketed investors. They think they’re getting a good deal on green energy – and a huge tax credit to go along with it. But Jeff’s clients don’t realize that he’s been playing them. And when he flies too close to the sun, it’ll blow the fuse on his whole operation.
Funny, good time
We acknowledge America is failing over here- we do not believe in living in denial :) It’s all a scam. It’s all cartoonishly ridiculous. We’re not rambling snowflakes who can’t take a joke, which the hosts dot through the narrative structure appropriately. It’s a good ol’ time if you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Too many ads
Interesting content but the many ads really breaks the flow
Casual Racism Throughout Episodes
“What wouldn’t you want a white person to teach you…?” was the question posed in the episode about a yoga instructor, but was not the first low-key-anti-Caucasian comment made throughout episodes. The response? “A list of like, a hundred things!” In a world in which you “can’t be racist toward someone with inherent privilege” these comments don’t often get challenged but, it doesn’t mean these kinds of comments are okay. The podcasters may think they’re being funny or maybe it’s a truly held belief… but I’m tired of giving my time and attention to people who’s portion of their audience they think so little of. I was enjoying this podcast but these little comments are grating.