Scams are everywhere and the internet has led to increasingly sophisticated frauds that can fool even the most hardened skeptics. Be careful out there - these people have warned you.
BetterFroyo asked the good people of Reddit: What scam did you fall for?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
15. This magazine scam.
My college roommate and I fell victim to that magazine scam where people go door to door saying they're selling magazine subscriptions to help raise money for homeless children with AIDS or something. They play on your sympathies and get you to write them a cheque. Spoiler alert: You never get any magazines nor help any children.
I was uneasy about it at the time but I'm uneasy around people in general so I thought I was just being paranoid. Years later, we found out this was a common scamming technique. Big lightbulb moment for me there.
14. A fake DNA test.
When I was eleven, I signed up at "genealogie.de" - a page that, supposedly, helps with finding out more about your heritage. I read through the entire AGBs (not kidding) and there was no indication that it'd cost anything.
A week later I get an email saying I have to pay 60 bucks by May 21st of that year. I'm telling you this because what that sh*t lead to was the actual fun part - since I was only 11, I was scared sh*tless and decided not to tell my parents. I even did some research on how I, as a kid, could get the money to those people.
I was so scared, I scribbled the words "It will all be over on May 21st" on my desk at school - which lead to me being taken aside by a teacher asking me whether I wanted to kill myself. I explained the situation to her, she told me to talk to my parents and it all ended well. We didn't pay a penny, my father wrote them a "what pathetic people would try to scam a child?"-email and the thing was settled.
Instagram ad offered a backpack as free and all you had to pay was shipping. Shipping was vastly overpriced but still lower than what I thought the bag was worth. It never came.
There's an episode of the Reply All podcast about those "free" product ads on social media. Definitely worth listening to. https://gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all/dvhe3l/117-the-worlds-most-expensive-free-watch
Fell for this too, with yoga wear on Instagram. Luckily I paid through PayPal and got a full reimbursement.
12. More like Ruinscape.
One time on Runescape I fell for the "buy limit" scam. Some dude said he needed help buying feathers but had hit his buy limit. I myself had just recently learned about the buy limits and been inconvenienced as well so I sympathized. If you don't play, the guy basically put up his own items at a marked up price on the general market, tricked me into buying them, then dipped before I got paid back and I was stuck with all of his feathers and no money.
Ah yes the Runescape days. Back in those days I remember I got scammed out of a steel platebody. Guy convinced me that it would be duplicated it if I dropped it and pressed alt f4. Wasn't a very bright moment there all those years ago, but then again... it was a steel platebody.
11. Don't give money to strangers in parks.
While in high school, was walking through a park and a woman was walking my way. As soon as we passed each other she says: "you dropped something." I turn around and she's holding a gold necklace. I told her it's not mine, she says it's not hers, but agrees that we both found it and I can give her $50 to keep it. I think to myself that it's worth a lot more, so I give ger $50 just to get home and get scolded by my dad for falling for stuff like this. Turns out it'a a well known scam and I paid $50 for a cheap metal necklace.
This reminds me of the show Better Call Saul. There's an episode where these people have a bulk amount of fake Rolex watches and they pull the same scam on unsuspecting suckers.
10. Just like in "101 Dalmatians."
A man from a gas company said that they were inserting new electricity and gas meters in all the apartments in my block. When I opened the door he walked straight in but showed me his ID, so seemed legit. My shower had been interrupted so I was in a bad mood and very keen to get rid of the guy. He said he just needed to phone his company for proof from me that he had visited as he was new to the job. It turns out that me confirming this on the phone was a voice signature binding me into a new 2 year contract with this service provider, who then wanted to increase the price of my gas and electricity by 100%. After he left I felt uneasy and searched the company, and then phoned citizens advice for help. Turns out they targeted my place because they searched where the students were living as they are more vulnerable.
What was the resolution? Tell me you didn't just let them walk over you and you sorted it
Citizens advice were amazing and sorted it all for me. They undid the contract on the grounds that: A) I was lied to as they stated it was a building-wide change when it wasn't B) They had gained entry into my flat without my permission to do so C) The verbal contract was enacted without me knowing so D) My landlord states in my contract that I cannot change my electricity provider without asking for consent first
They also filed grounds against student vulnerability and as I have chronic illnesses they factored that in. I was rewarded £20 'compensation' but in order to access it I had to give them my bank details, which I didn't do.
9. Well done, girl.
Girl asked me to throw something away for her. I got up to throw it away and she took my seat.
I do a similar thing with my gf all the time. Whenever I have an empty can or wrapper, I pretend I need to do something which requires both hands, like zipping up my coat or putting something in my wallet and ask her "could you hold this for a moment?"
The first few times she asked when I needed it back after 15 min. Now she realizes what happened as soon as she takes whatever I give her and she throws it at my head.
8. Oh, a free trip, you say?
Didn't fall for it entirely, but I recently wrote my name and number onto one of those pink slips saying you could "Win a trip to the bahamas" and was texted about a month later saying that I won. I got so happy. I called their number and apparantely they were paying for the hotel but not anything else. Decided to look more into it and their website (harmony beaches) looks super shady and out of date. Apparantely it's a scam to get you to go to timeshare meetings (people try to convince you to buy expensive stuff and buy into pyramid schemes) Alot of people have been scammed this way. Dodged a bullet honestly.
I get calls like that now and then, and also for a trip to Florida. I live in Florida LOL! And for those who don't know, "winning" a trip to the Bahamas when you live in Florida is about like being told you won a trip to the Grand Canyon when you live in Arizona. I can take a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas for about the same price as a day in mouse world over in Orlando. Besides the timeshare scam, the other scam for these is usually telling you they just need a credit card to pay the taxes and/or port fees. Of course, you know what happens once they have the credit card info!
7. They're just knives.
Well almost, I "passed" the interview, but apparently so did everyone else except the first person who I suspect was paid to act like she didn't get in judging by her exaggerated "🤷♀️" when she walked out the office as she was looking at us to make Cutco seem exclusive.
I told my dad and he advice me to abandon ship with them ASAP.
6. Yeah, that's not gonna work.
When I was 14 I wanted to get CPR certified so that I could put it on my babysitting flyers. I found some website online that charged me like $20 for an "online certification." Did it and put that sh*t on my flyers only to later realize I had been scammed and it was not possible to get certified online. I'm just glad nobody's kid ever needed CPR because I did NOT know how to do that sh*t (I have since become certified for real through my work).
I can't help but imagine you having that certificate for, like, five years and telling people you're CPR certified. Then one evening you're eating dinner watching Netflix and you just randomly realize you don't actually know how to do CPR.
I mean...this is accurate lmao. I'm just glad it was while watching Netflix and not while somebody is dying because someone pointed to me and was like "SHE knows CPR!"
5. Think of the future...
Getting money on your birthday and your parents saying they'll "save it."
Those parents don't end up in good retirement homes.
4. Not a scam per se, but still sketchy.
I was trying to renew my car registration online and was in a hurry. I clicked through everything really fast, and since my name, address, credit card number, etc was saved in my browser, it auto filled out most items and I didn't really need to read any of it. After I paid, I got some strange confirmation email saying I could download the PDF guide about car registration that I bought.
I retraced my steps, and it turns out I clicked an ad on the car registration page that redirected me to a site that looked exactly like the site I was on, but was instead some page to buy this PDF guide. Technically not a scam because in the fine print they do say what you are buying, but it was obviously praying on idiots like me who didn't carefully read the whole page and who blindly clicked on the "renew now" icon.
Wife and I went to Las Vegas for the first time back in 2015. Wanted to get tickets to a show. They were a bit expensive so we decided to think on it for a while. Walk outside and saw a stand saying they were selling discounted tickets. All you had to do was sit in on some sales thing for two hours the next day.
We thought, "How bad can it be? Let's just say no to anything they say."
Sitting in on that thing was one of the most miserable ways I ever spent two hours in my life.
So if you're going to Las Vegas, avoid anything saying they'll sell you something for a discount. Timeshare meetings are the worst.
A buddy of mine is really gullible and has fallen victim to many scams. When selling his phone on Craigslist he fell for the old "I wanna buy your phone for my relative overseas..." TWICE. Shipped the phone both times only to never receive payment. The other scam he fell for was when he got a call saying he won a $500 gift card to Walmart and all they needed from his was his personal information. Surprisingly he has not fallen victim to identify theft.
1. Welcome to the jungle.
First time in New York. I had to recharge my subway card, and was standing behind a guy on the MetroCard machine. A guy walks to me, dressed in MTA uniform and tells me that I don't have to wait. He asks me how much did I want to put on the card, and says he's got one ready for that. Swipes a card on the scanner, I go in, he gives me the card and asks me for the money. That was when I realized it was a scam, but I feared he would get violent or anything so I didn't say nothing, gave him the money and he gave me a card. Needless to say, it was empty.
In the future go to the police the NYPD takes people scamming or harassing tourists very very seriously. Most scams fall under a three strikes equals mandatory minimum 5 year sentence rule.