Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Scammers often target the elderly who don't know any better.

But these days, no one is immune from getting taken advantage of. Cons of the internet have adapted as innocent consumers answering an urgent email have become wise to their ways.

Persistent scammers have all planned out several backup plans to keep the person they have on the line engaged and genuinely concerned for their financial stability, often threatening that the FBI could intervene as a consequence of purported unpaid charges.


Some scams are not so criminal and are actually legit; however, they make consumers feel as though they've been taken advantage of.

Curious to hear examples of such deceit and possibly malicious activity, Redditor catlady427 asked:
"What's the biggest scam in America?"

Some people don't think twice about certain transactions.

Hidden Concert Fees

"Surprised no one mentioned ticketmaster yet."

– hopsteiner420

"They jack the ticket prices up with tons of hidden fees."

"A ticket will be priced at $50. Then Ticketmaster will tack on all kinds of bullsh*t like 'venue fees,' 'service fees,' etc. All of a sudden that $50 ticket costs you over $100."

– jthemusician

Popular Services

"Funerals, weddings, and pretty much every other thing we blindly accept have to be insanely expensive without even thinking about it."

– jcfeej

Dealing With Student Loans

"I think Student Loan servicers. For example, Navient manages Federally guaranteed debt for the US Gov in Student loans, has the IRS as their personal collection agency."

"They constantly, I mean CONSTANTLY f'k up to the extent they get dragged in front of Congressional Hearings, and their CEO is paid $7.7M annually."

– Firebolt164

Rent-to-own businesses were mentioned a lot in the thread.

Trackers In The Merchandise

"I scrolled really far and was surprised I didn't see Rent to Own stores. They sell furniture and electronics type stuff to people with bad credit who can't really afford it, let them pay a small amount weekly."

"If people end up paying on time and pay stuff off, they will pay 2 or 3 times more than the item is worth. If they make a payment late the item is repossessed and re sold to someone else and the first person loses all the money they paid."

"There are used car dealers that do this same business model with cars too. They put GPS trackers in the car that also disable the starter. They collect $1000 down and once a payment is late they disable the car and go tow it, then sell it again and keep the downpayment."

"I worked at a shop that installed the trackers and these places would sell the same car to different people 5 or 6 times in a year because they kept repoing it."

– bgwa9001

An Insider Speaks Out

"I used to be the sales manager at my local Rent-A-Center years ago. It’s a huge scam and I feel dirty even having worked there. The worse thing I ever had to do was repossess a fridge from a single mother."

"She cried as she removed the items and kept saying 'I have no where to put these. They are going to go bad.' Another one was when i had to repossess a bunk bed from two kids. They asked their dad where they were going to sleep."

"It’s been years and I still think about it from time to time. Don’t rent from rent-to-own stores. Don’t give them business."

– MaxTimeLord

Another Testimony With A Special Message

"Same. The owner of the place I worked was a huge asshole. He went with me on this repo of a single mom that apparently he didn’t like for some reason. Same thing, it was a fridge. We get the fridge out on by the curb and it has a bunch of roaches crawling out of it."

"When we’d get TV’s with roaches we’d bag them with a fogger, vacuum them out and re-rent them. The fridge was too big for a bag and the owner didn’t want to put it into the truck. So he pushes the fridge up next to a tree, gets back into the truck and smashes the fridge up against the tree multiple times until it’s completely crumpled. I’m standing there like WTF just happened and he tells me to get back into the truck and we drive off."

"We destroyed a fridge from some lady who was down on her luck just so she couldn’t have it. Then the embarrassment of having a smashed fridge in her front yard that people were obviously going to ask her about."

"F'k you Dwayne."

– cokecan13

Cable Companies

"Cable TV/Internet monopolies."

dan1101

"Seriously. The spectrum person that signed me up on the phone gave me a price and simply neglected to tell me it was a 'promotional rate.' Price goes up 50% after a year."

– valuethempaths

Cutting The Cord

"Comcast had such a monopoly in my area that cancelling wouldn't get you a promotion, just a simple we'll be sad to see you go."

"And after the third time putting a new plan under someone else's name to qualify for 'current promotions,' we just said f'k it and cut the cord."

"Maxed out our internet plan and it's still cheaper than the bundle they were forcing down our throat that included a landline that we didn't have a phone for."

– ultrastarman303

Paying The Price

"And Youtube TV is turning out to be the same sh{replace1}amp; different medium…. hey let’s keep jacking up the price, but let’s add on a dozen or so channels no one f&{replace1}amp;in cares about to keep everyone happy. No that did not make us happy because we’re not that dumb."

"It’s like Animal Farm."

– rigored

Some believe the biggest American scam was multi-level marketing (MLM).

Dodging A Bullet

"A few years ago my husband was keen on the idea of buying a franchise. He came across a scheme he thought was promising and asked me to go with him to meet the people selling it. As soon as we sat down my gut feeling was RUN, but being polite people we sat through their spiel. On the surface it seemed legit, but for me the absolute killer was when they started spouting on about how the big boss has bought a helicopter and how cool it would be for us all when we can do that too."

"They were very pushy, but I’m equally stubborn and held firm that we needed to think about it. As soon as we left I threw away the brochures and crap they’d foisted on us. Had a few emails and calls, but ghosted them. Husband was disappointed for a while, but then one day I was reading Reddit and came across a familiar company name."

"To this day I enjoy reminding my husband how we dodged being tied in with Herbalife."

– SoftandSquidgy

Cousin's "Business"

"My cousin is always involved in multiple MLMs and tells us all she’s a 'small business owner' and gets mad if we don’t support her 'business.'"

"Here’s the thing though. I would rather just send her a check every month so that I don’t have to be solicited with this protein shake or that skin care line. How much would it take? $50 a month? $100? Because I know she’s not making any money doing this. YET SHE KEEPS ON DOING IT!!!"

– ArhedisVarkenjaab

A popular scam in my neighborhood involves representatives from a "friendly energy" company going door-to-door and trying to convince tenants they are paying too much on their electric and gas bill.

They throw out a lot of jargon and detailed information and have a vague answer for everything.

The last time I encountered such a rep, I said I'd like to take the time to research this and I told him I didn't like being made to make a decision to upgrade my services on the spot.

When I asked for his business card, he gave a piece of flimsy paper with information saying they were "looking for newhires."

He peace'd out. And when I looked up the "service" he was offering on the internet, the information indicated it was a scam that took over your existing energy company and charged you triple the previous amount.

I dodged a bullet that day, but I definitely felt like spending time with him was a huge waste of energy.

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