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People Share Little Known Scams That've Caught Victims Off Guard

In the 21st Century, we have been trained to look out for scams on a daily basis. But sometimes, scams still escape our attention. Mostly because we have convinced ourself that they aren't scams; a lie we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better. But it's better we peel back the curtain and see the true form of the thing--if it is, really, a scam.

u/WhatsAKhatruAnyway asked:

What is a scam that most people might not know about?

Here were some of those answers.

It Ain't Just A Prize


Publishers Clearing House's various sweepstakes.

Source: I spent almost three years working at their distribution center.

In a legal sense, they do the absolute bare minimum required to not be a "scam," but that doesn't mean they don't screw a LOT of people.

First of all, there's the legal definition of a contest vs. a sweepstakes. A contest can't require an entry fee, purchase, etc. or have any kind of payment improve your odds of winning, while a sweepstakes can. PCH is TECHNICALLY a contest, but they do everything they can to hide the "no purchase necessary" disclaimer. You're automatically entered with a purchase, which is fine, they just can't REQUIRE it. They make this even less clear by using the terms "contest" and "sweepstakes" interchangeably in their literature.

So you probably think PCH just sells books and magazine subscriptions right? You'd be surprised. You know all those late-night infomercial products? Flex Seal, Slap Chop, the Thighmaster, and all those crappy CD compilations? Pretty much any "As Seen on TV" product is distributed by PCH (side note - the majority of these products are also available through regular retailers, despite what they'd have you believe). The infomercials aren't exactly forthcoming about this, and when you order any of that stuff off a TV ad, you end up on the PCH contest/mailing list. That wouldn't be so bad, except...

Regardless of what you buy, being put on the PCH mailing list is actually a subscription service. This is yet another thing they purposely avoid telling you. You buy one thing from them, and every month after that they're going to send out some other product that they "think you'll love," and automatically bill you for it. Now of course there's a returns process and a way to cancel your subscription (and technically there's a way to opt out of subscribing when you make a purchase in the first place, but again, you have to know that because they aren't going to tell you), but as you might expect, it's purposely as convoluted as possible to discourage people from canceling. Oh, but you get another contest entry every month that way, so that's cool, right? Well...

You know how you get that cute contest entry form with your package? I bet it was like a peel-and-stick bingo card or a scratch-off lotto ticket kind of thing? I bet it said you were pre-selected as a finalist for the contest! That's exciting right? Well no, because every single one of those inserts they send out is exactly the same. Everyone is a "finalist," and back to the "no purchase necessary" thing, they conveniently package the contest form with an insert that lists other products, to make it look like you have to order more stuff to get entered in the (non-existent) "next round" or whatever. The golden rule we had to follow packaging products was to NEVER accidentally put two contest inserts in a package - can't let people catch on that they're all the same, and therefore meaningless!

It's a pyramid scheme, except there isn't actually even a pyramid, they just want you to think there is! When all is said and done, they just randomly select a winner the way any other luck-of-the-draw contest does.

So how do they get away with all this and not have angry people show up at their HQ? This is the best part - the return address on the packages they send out is fake! The warehouse IS in St. Cloud, MN, but the street address flat-out doesn't exist and the zip code is one that isn't assigned anywhere in the United States. They have a special arrangement in place with the post office so their workers all know where stuff sent to that address is actually supposed to go. The same is true of their customer service address in NY -both use a fake "Winners Circle" street name. Also, said warehouse is listed as "Office of the PCH Controller" or something like that on the envelope, but nobody from PCH actually works there (I never met a single PCH employee the entire time I was there, although SUPPOSEDLY they show up to tour the place every once in a while...)! It's a third-party distribution center whose only client is PCH, and in turn is the only place PCH distributes through. There's no PCH signage on the building, it's purposely as nondescript as possible.

So yeah, people do win and the Prize Patrol shows up and all that. But pretty much everybody who doesn't win is getting screwed, or at least deceived.


Activated Charcoal products: They are more harmful than good

That activated charcoal's nothing but an abrasive powder that will slowly erode away your enamel. It will leave you with whiter teeth but weaker ones

That activated charcoal lemonade...all that will do is actually absorb the essential nutrients...this is why doctors use them in case of poisonings. The activated charcoal would absorb the poisonous compounds to a certain degree...

EDIT: I am referring here to the AC products that are being ingested or used for toothpaste etc.

AC is widely used in many other applications like water filters etc where they work great.

They are just not recommended at all to be ingested.


Phish Phish Phish

Received an e-mail from "me", threatening to release a split screen video of me pleasuring myself on one side, while the other side shows the porn video I was watching. But for the one time only, low price of $587 bitcoin, the video would be deleted. Closed off with "Best wishes!". At least this was more entertaining than a Nigerian prince.


Playing On Our Mortal Fear Of Taxes


If anyone calls and tells you they can get rid of your interest on your credit cards, or anything credit card related, it's a scam. The only person who can really do that is your actual credit card company, and you can call them yourself to see if you qualify for any deals.

If anyone calls and says "The IRS is going to pursue legal action if you do not act now" it's a scam. The IRS will not call you. They will send you official mail.

If you are sleuthing through ads on one of those bootleg TV sites and an ad comes up saying "your mac needs to be cleared of viruses!" it's a scam.

These might be common knowledge, but I have a friend who fell for all of these.


Save The Scams For College

School fundraisers. My kids school tells the kids they can win a grand prize (junk toy) if they have the winning ticket. They send forms home for the parents. You have to go to their website where you learn that you have to validate your email and give them 5 other emails of friends and family and after they validate those you can enter your ticket number to see if you won. It provides me a good time to talk with the kids about scams.

This year I told my 7 year old that I'm thinking of a number 1-100 and if he guesses right on the first try he can have the grand prize. He guessed wrong and I said he can try again next year.


Well Formulated, Yet Not Well Concealed

This almost got me but it is pretty well known. They send you an Email saying that they need someone to buy things for them. They will pay like 13 an hour. They send you a check for like $3,000 tell you to put it in your bank. It has a wait time on it to go through in like 5 days. They than say they need you to send money to their wife or husband somewhere, and go to Walmart and do the money transfer thing. Transfer like $2,700 to their wife who is stranded somewhere in Africa. The check "clears" in 2 days. you don't do it the first day, but they harass you for the entire second day to try and have you send them the money. Of course the check doesn't go through and the bank charges you for it, and if you fall for the scam you are out $2.7K. it is so common that in money transfer places they have pamphlet explaining the scam.


The Scam Spectrum: A Lesson

First the mild end of the spectrum. It's not legal to cold call people on the do not call list for sales. You can do so for surveys though. Some companies, most prolifically in my area Eagle Water, abuse this They call for a survey which is only 2 questions and they really don't care about your answers. Afterward you'll get a call back saying you've won something, where they try to get you to let someone from their sales team into your house for some dollar store piece of junk. Recently they've also taken to sending out mail spam with the same general concept. Basically fake scratch-off tickets which always say you've won something, possibly even a jeep or other nonsense. It's all just a scam to sell massively overpriced water filters though.

On the infuriating side of things some shady apps will claim you have to hold your finger on the home button for several seconds as some kind of login or scan. Then when your finger is held there they'll try to process a large payment hoping you'll accept it accidentally. Here is one such app.

One of the more successful scams, the baby formula scam. Someone with a child in a store will say they can't afford formula for their baby, and they'll even let you know they don't want money. They'll try to get you to buy baby formula, diapers, and things like that, then they'll return all the items later for money.

Finally one of the worst scams which seems far more common than it should be and which has the potential to really screw someone. People will try to rent out properties they don't own. Any listing for renting a property which seems too good to be true, often is. Really they just want your deposit. I had to move for work at one point and didn't really know the area at all. So I was just looking to rent for a bit before finding a more permanent arrangement. I picked up on the scam pretty quickly after contacting anyone, but there were so many of them that I ultimately gave up on that plan. I just became way too uncomfortable with the idea of giving money to someone for something I hadn't seen when half of the listings seemed to be scams.


Talk Me Up To Bring Me Down

I'm a freshman in college looking for internships and someone messaged me on LinkedIn and said they would like the talk on the phone. I asked for the company name, company website, and what the internship was about but they said they'll tell me everything over the phone. This was a bad mistake, if they're reluctant to give the information when you ask then they're hiding something. It turns out they wanted me to pay for this special program at her company.

I kept asking her what the name of the company was but she just brushed it off and continued talking about how she thinks I'd be a great entrepreneur. After the phone call, every time she messaged me on LinkedIn I would keep asking for the company website until she eventually sent it and I looked it up and it was a pyramid scheme. I told her I wasn't interested but she kept calling me so I blocked her number and she contacted me from at least 7 other numbers after that (I could tell because I can see the location of the phone calls and they all came from the same location). I regret giving her my phone number because I still get phone calls and I believe she gave my information to telemarketers because I've gotten calls from random numbers too which I haven't before.


Thousands Of Problems Just Caused By Ads


"Hey, we see you're using an ad blocker. Please disable the blocker on your browser to be able to view or website".

No thanks. I'll just look up how to beat this difficult boss on one of a thousand other gaming websites.

Look, I get the websites are maintained by ads. I have no problem with that. But f*cking "popups" and other intrusive ads are bullshit. And not one single person in the world thinks they're cool. Not even the dickheads who make them. And another reason I use an ad blocker? Because even with high speed internet I have to wait 30 seconds for your g*ddamn page to load because you have half a dozen videos embedded on it. This is one of the reasons I had to stop going to the aggressive ads kept causing the browser on my work computer to crash.

And while we're talking about scams on sh*tty websites: "Click this button to see the next slide" only to have to wait for an entire new page to load (with another 25 banner ads and popups) just so I can see one pic and a half a paragraph to find out what these celebrities from 80s sitcoms are up to.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.