Here’s a dirty little secret that a lot of us don’t want others to know: we like to think of ourselves as the smartest person in the room. Well, even if we might not be the smartest, we’re definitely (way) above average! And there’s no way that we’d ever fall for a cheap scam. Tricksters and fraudsters—beware! There’s no way that you’ll weasel cash out of here! (Hey, that rhymed.) However, reality shows us that many do fall prey to scams and that the scammers themselves are constantly adapting and finding new ways to bamboozle their marks.

Reddit users have been pooling all of their experience together and sharing all the common scams, small and large, that other people don’t always realize are scams or are potential scams. The thread got over 3.2k comments and has helped internet users gain a new perspective on a variety of things, from multilevel marketing and men’s and women’s products to diamonds and superfoods and more. There’s nothing like seeing something with a fresh pair of eyes.

Have a read about some of the most common scams, upvote the most informative posts, and let us know if any of these were new to you, dear Pandas. Oh! And if you know of any other swindles that people tend to fall for, be sure to let everyone know, too!

#1

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Paying money to a religion to guarantee your eternal salvation.

13xnono , unsplash Report

Gabriele Alfredo Pini
Community Member
3 months ago

As a 37 years old Catholic I find strange all this talking of "paying" to a religion... I contribute to my church because a building need maitenance. I payed for the summer camps organized by my oratory. I gave to missionary to help them in their works. But if I want to go to mass and exit without paying anything nobody would tell me anything.

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#2

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Insurance. You’re obligated to get it legally but when you actually need it, they’ll do everything in their power to not pay out…

thebeatoflife , pexels Report

Chris
Community Member
3 months ago

This very much depends on the type of insurance, how well regulated it is, and the insurer.

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#3

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights The US healthcare system. Hell, just name any aspect of life in the US and there's probably a scam somewhere in there.

MaximumGamer1 , unsplash Report

Mishte Tine
Community Member
3 months ago

America commits crimes against humanity in the majority of instances I for those who aren’t wealthy. The political leaders are so reliant on the profit based system that they make anti-human choices and laws. It’s plain old deadly greed. And too many people pretend it’s normal. It’s not. Tens of thousands of people die needlessly every year because our govt thinks healthcare is a market like any other business. And people aren’t allowed to know up front what costs will be. We are a very rich country and could afford to have healthcare for everyone, including better preventive care, dental, eye care and mental health care but that would not make profits for the needless middlemen. People who aren’t doctors make life and death decisions about what health care. The rest of the globe should call us on this as a anti- humanitarian crime - if not a deliberate profit based genocide based on lack of wealth.

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Previously, I’d had a chat with one of the moderators at the r/Scams subreddit about internet scams, how they’re different from regular ones, and what we can do to protect ourselves from them. Though nobody’s ever truly foolproof, education, preparation, and even rudimentary research are all lifesavers.

"I think online shopping scams are different because you lose that layer of dealing with a real-life person. When you have a real person in front of you, a typical person will feel shame or guilt at the thought of taking advantage of a person,” one of the mods from r/Scams told me during an earlier interview.

“With the internet, you aren't dealing with a person, but a username and avatar. It is much easier to act maliciously when you don't have a real victim directly in front of you," they said.

#4

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Diamonds. Diamonds are a fairly common gemstone but the world's supplier of them is a monopoly and they hoard the majority of their stock to jack the prices up. Emeralds, Rubies and Sapphires are actually rarer than diamonds but cost less because of this.

Powerofgodandanime17 , flickr Report

Cat on a bike
Community Member
3 months ago

Diamond are not only used as gemstones but also in the industry for various cutting and polisihing effects. You can't use the other gemstones for this as they are not as hard. This is also a contributor.

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#5

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights "Woman's" anything. 90% are just colored different. Razors are the biggest offenders IMOP.

Grondosos , pexels Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
3 months ago

Men's razors are so much better in my opinion and not just because they are cheaper, but I get a closer shave with them.

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#6

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Planned obsolescence. Appliances being designed to fail sooner in order to sooner create demand for a replacement. In the same vein, devices being designed to not be repairable, so that you need to invest in a shiny new specimen whenever fashion or the predesigned breakdown require it.

BeeBarfBadger , flickr Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm not sure "most people don't realise [this] is a scam" applies here. Most people know their appliances break before their parents version ever did, or know that it cannot be fixed the way their grandparents did. But a key feature of a scam is that you have a way to avoid it. You cannot avoid your microwave breaking due to planned obsolescence unless you build your own damn*d microwave, because EVERY microwave is built with planned obsolescence. This is more like "suspect and unethical practices we consumers encounter from companies"

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“Online scams also use a lot of tricks to pressure buyers; low prices, pushes to buy now!, taking advantage of someone's kindness or naivete (re: advance check fraud, money mules, etc), or advertising one product and sending another (or nothing at all, by using a fake tracking number). Getting a person to make a decision via high-pressure tactics and preventing them from reflecting and making a sound decision is key," the mod listed some of the tactics that online fraudsters use to get their victims to part with their hard-earned cash.

"If a deal is too good to be true, it is. If you see a pair of brand new Apple AirPods advertised for $50, you are not getting an authentic product. There are many counterfeit items out there on the market, and you need to verify authenticity before hitting buy," the redditor reiterated that we should always trust our gut and stay skeptical of empty promises.

#7

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Unpaid internships. What the actual f**k is wrong with America.

benjamynt , pexels Report

I want cake
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Not exclusively an American thing. The reason I work in a completely different sector than my degree in art history is that I refused to do an unpaid or minimally paid internship, because I couldn't afford to. These art galleries would straight faced tell you they don't have money to pay you more than 195 euro a month for 40 hours of work, but spend triple that on an opening party for a new exhibition. Screw that. Edit: 40 hours of work a week. So 195 euro for 160 hours of work in a four-week month.

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#8

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Scientology... And by most people, I mean those people in it.

herda831 , unsplash Report

Eslamala
Community Member
3 months ago

Aren't all cults and religions, though?

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#9

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights The Humane Society of the United States

"HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter. HSUS is not affiliated with any pet shelters. And HSUS only gives 1% of donations to pet shelters." Most of the donated money goes into the higher up's pension plans.

Seriously don't donate money to them, instead donate to a local shelter near you, they're the ones doing real work & helping animals.

Any "charity" whose president is living high on the hog on donations is a scam.

FarmerTex , pexels Report

Neil Bidle
Community Member
3 months ago

Most "charities" do this, sending money to the directors and doing very little of use. It's almost as bad as the millionaire celebs pestering us to give money to "their" charity. Look at the Oxfam scandals for a start!!

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"Not only to avoid contributing to the counterfeit market, but because these knockoff products do not always go through the same safety standards of the real item; they may not be UL certified, they may use chemicals or ingredients that are not FDA approved and are unsafe for use on or in the human body, or could cause major harm to human life or property."

What’s more, even seemingly safe activities like renting properties online can lead to disappointment and lost money. “It is very common for scammers to lift photos and descriptions of houses for sale, mark down the rent as ridiculously cheap, then insist on getting the deposit sent via Western Union or other untraceable means; when it comes time to pick up your keys, the money is gone and there was no rental for you to move into, to begin with."

#10

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Contrary to popular belief, there a very few hot Russian singles in my area.

KokonutMonkey , unsplash Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 months ago

I love the ones where someone in *my town* is making thousands per day, accompanied by an image of someone with a pile of foreign money. Oooh, so authentic 🤗

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#11

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights .99 cents at the end of pricing.

uscx2 , flickr Report

Shea
Community Member
3 months ago

JUST STINKING MAKE IT 37 EVEN

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#12

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Printer ink.

cartoonassasin , flickr Report

Chich
Community Member
3 months ago

I bought one with tanks that I just pour ink into when they get low. No more tiny $50 cartridges.

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The mod explained how doing some background research can help you avoid online rental scams. For starters, try Googling the address and seeing if it’s on a real estate listing for the property for sale. “You may find a real estate listing on MLS, Zillow, or other popular property rental/sale sites. I ran into this recently with a too-good-to-be-true rental, and I was able to report the listing and notify the listing agent that their listing was being used in a scam," they said.

An extra line of defense that you should consider is getting a credit card and using that instead of a debit card. “Credit card protections for most cards are much more forgiving than debit cards. You can generally get your money back faster if you were scammed or mislead by a business, versus initiating an investigation through your bank. It is always smarter to pay by credit card (and pay off your balance monthly!)."

#13

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Expiration date on million years old himalayan salt.

gat000r , pexels Report

Hannu Luhtasela
Community Member
3 months ago

Expiration date is added on these things because packaking materials (plastic etc) releases chemicals over the years into the product.

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#14

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Having to pay $100+ bucks for Microsoft word.

yawnandshrug , flickr Report

grotesqueer
Community Member
3 months ago

Libre Office for the win.

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#15

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Trickle down economics.

HiopXenophil , wikipedia Report

Mishte Tine
Community Member
3 months ago

That people ever bought into this, or worse - still push it - is another draconian greed grab.

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#16

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Recycling plastic. The “recycling symbol” with the number on it is not a recycling symbol. It’s a resin identification code. It was intentionally designed to look like the recycling symbol to fool consumers. Only around 10% of plastics are recycled and usually only once. The whole campaign about recycling plastics and consumer responsibility was set up by the bottling companies to avoid legislation banning plastics because of their harm to the environment.

ioncloud9 , flickr Report

Neil Bidle
Community Member
3 months ago

We should go back to glass bottles. Everything tastes better out of glass anyway, easier and cheaper to recycle, and a surcharge on the bottles (money back for empty bottles) means less litter.

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#17

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Ordering a full carafe of wine in a restaurant. Where I work, a full carafe can fill 4-5 glasses. Ordering 5 glasses of some of our types of wine is actually $1-2 cheaper than the full carafe. Check the prices and do the math before ordering! Same goes for pitchers of beer!

neeeenbean , pexels Report

Scagsy
Community Member
3 months ago

I don't really trust carafes. It could be literally anything in there. Wine that's been left open for a fortnight. Old stock. Damaged stock. Diluted. etc.

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#18

When stores ask you to donate at checkout, they're using it as a tax write off.

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Mishte Tine
Community Member
3 months ago

This. I learned about this recently and it made me ill. I wonder what actually goes to the charity. Things like this should be transparent and easy to find out but most, if not all - are not. It’s devastating because I want to donate what I can to things and I don’t. : ( I donate to the KIND fund for desks and tuition for girls in Africa (school is not free and girls lose the most. They need personal products, too). I hope it is a meaningful way to give.

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#19

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights The concept of "superfoods" and "organic" anything. I work at a smoothie bowl place, and people will come in and literally pile 1500 calories full of peanut butter and granola into a bowl and think it's healthy because they put some superfood organic something into a bowl. It's literally pumpkin granola cereal from the store down the street, it's not going to cure cancer.

plantayshun_610 , flickr Report

I want cake
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

This one needs a bit of nuance on the organic part. Just because something is organic doesn't mean all the rules about nutrition fly out the window, but it isn't a scam in itself, it is a product that is better for the environment and the body as there are no (potentially) hazardous chemicals involved in the production process. However, the thing that gets me the most about organic produce is that the main reason it's so expensive (at least in my country) is that the certificates are so expensive and it drives the prices up way more than it needs. So what I do instead is find local producers who work organically but don't want to pay the certificates, and there are more of those than you'd think.

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#20

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Psychics.

Gui_Franco , pexels Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
3 months ago

I love my tarot cards. The cards in themselves are beautiful. My mom gave them to me when I was young to perpetuate the tradition. I do tarot reading to my friends (very occasionnally). Mind you, I don't believe they're magic in any way. I just think that there is so many interpretations possible, that the one you chose to believe is true tells a lot about your frame of mind. So I don't read the cards per se, I read my friends instead :)

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#21

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights In app mobile purchases. Especially for kids games.

JUST_THAT_JERK , pexels Report

Mishte Tine
Community Member
3 months ago

I hate this. I don’t get apps that have “in app purchases.” It’s limiting, but I won’t do it. The growth of “subscription” products (apps and other things) is another example of limiting access to things for lower wage people - I might buy something for ten dollars flat, but I can’t afford $4.00 a month - with automatic renewal. Also, “free trials” are usually not, requiring your credit card info and only available if you agree to pay after the free trial.

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#22

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Insurance, at least in the US. If you have to fight for something YOU PAY FOR to pay THAT WHICH IT'S LITERALLY SUPPOSED TO PAY FOR and in return GET SCREWED with higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher copay amounts, then it's basically useless. We're paying into a scam cause we're idiots who don't understand, and don't WANT to understand how much better off our we'd be with Universal coverage, due to cost alone. But hey, what do I know?

snflwr1313 Report

James016
Community Member
3 months ago

I had such a nightmare with travel insurance once, we had to cancel a holiday as my son got sick a couple of days before, they did everything to avoid paying out. Even said that not using blue ink when filling out the form was a reason to reject the claim. It went on and on until we threatened court action, then it was settled.

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#23

"Hustle" culture. Capital doesn't even have to manage you anymore; you manage yourself by convincing yourself that lack of sleep is good and that you should be working around the clock.

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Chris365
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Individualism is a cancer - divide and conquer has worked for Boris the ballbag, Trump etc. And is an easy go to for conservatives. Pit anyone with any difference against each other and it’s an easy win for them. It’s all just a class war at the end of the day but they manage to chop society up and weaken their opponents. ‘Hustles’ shouldn’t have to exist but there is a political will to encourage them to weaken you. They want everyone to think it is every man for themselves, to fight each other for resources, because together we’d vote them out.

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#24

“Work 12 hours a day every day and I’m surrrre they’ll move me up. I’m very valuable to my company “

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Katherine Morgan
Community Member
3 months ago

If you show that you’re willing to do the dog job they’ll keep you in it!

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#25

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Our (US) health care system.

Lauren12269 , pexels Report

Mishte Tine
Community Member
3 months ago

Human lives depending on a profit based “market” - every other developed country rejected this model, many for decades - because it’s inhumane and unthinkable.

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#26

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Out of network ATM fees.

Vespaeelio , unsplash Report

Libstak
Community Member
3 months ago

Or non bank arms. 7 Eleven whereby am took away the bank arms from their premises and replaced them with 7 Eleven brand arms that cost all cardholders, regardless of which bank $2.50 per withdrawal. I hope this sends them bankrupt, cynical smarmy toads.

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#27

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Bottled water.

poopyhole2 , pexels Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
3 months ago

In some places bottled water is the only safe water to drink.

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#28

Funeral services. There is nothing wrong or dangerous about dead bodies. The idea that random people come into your home and take your loved one away, rip out their insides, fill them will chemicals and out them on display and you have to pay to put them to rest is ridiculous and quite frankly evil.

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Lynn Donovan
Community Member
3 months ago

Caitlin Doughty, is that you? : )

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#29

When I was a kid my brother would tell me the lottery is 'a tax on stupid people.

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Karin Gibson
Community Member
3 months ago

So true

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#30

I’m most intrigued by the vague life coaches, who use lots of big words and mention specific figures they have supposedly earned, but there is no clarity on what exactly they do.

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Beeps
Community Member
3 months ago

It’s just awful, especially given that life coaching isn’t a regulated discipline. Sure, there are several scam accreditation bodies, but most people just don’t understand that I could make up my own college of life coaching and accreditation right here and now, give it a fancy name, and it wouldn’t really mean anything. Yet so many people fall for it. Please, please, please, stick to licensed and regulated psychologists and mental health professional (and check what ‘licensed’ and ‘registered’ actually means for your country, as it’s different everywhere.)

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#31

Those Facebook post that my grandparents always repost that go on about some s**t like Facebook doesn’t want you see this... trump bla bla bla ...... repost this if your brave .... let’s make this go viral etc

Drywalleater03 Report

Eduard Korhonen
Community Member
3 months ago

That's not a scam, it's just annoying

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#32

"Shrinkflation." Where they give you less, and charge you more.

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Hugo A-niro
Community Member
3 months ago

Had a rodeo burger. I could not believe how small this burger was

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#33

Crystal healing, religion, and horoscopes. How are we still buying this bulls**t with the internet out there.

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Jayne Kyra
Community Member
3 months ago

Crystals can definitely keep bad people away. If you throw them correctly, that is.

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#34

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Boomers getting free healthcare (Medicare) while voting against anyone else getting it.

gamechanger112 , unsplash Report

Scagsy
Community Member
3 months ago

'Oooo, let's blame older people for a problem that could easily be solved by politicians if they could stop starting wars for five minutes'. In other news, the wall is working in hampering Mexican border-crossing. Apparently they are finding it much harder to get out of the US than ever before.

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#35

Tipping.

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Marianne
Community Member
3 months ago

Seriously, just pay your waiters a fair living wage!

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#36

I don't know if they are still around but around 2010, people were buying these "ionic footbaths" that supposedly removed toxins in your body through your feet.

mr_sweetandawful Report

Chich
Community Member
3 months ago

anything to "remove toxins" is a huge scam. Knew a woman who was selling detox foot baths for $1000 and people were buying them. Absolute nonsense.

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#37

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Supplements. Because they are considered a food they are not regulated. A recent study found that 25% don't contain any of the substance it is sold as. About as many others contain actual prescription medicines that are not listed. In the US about 23 000 people a year are hospitalized, have organ failure or need a transplant due to taking unregulated supplements.

NZT-48Rules , unsplash Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

This might be a "unique to the US" thing. Food supplements aren't separately regulated in the UK, but are covered by multiple food regulations, which means they sort of are regulated (they can't contain something not listed on the packaging, for example, and cannot claim medical benefits they don't actually provide)

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#38

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Most extended warranties on electronics. Usually you're paying extra for the warranty and extra on top of that as a "labor cost" of whoever is fixing the device.

Cheaper than a new device? Sure but can still be pricey.

KingGooma , flickr Report

Hugo A-niro
Community Member
3 months ago

Clark Howard has been warning people about this for years .

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#39

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Willfully deciding that a week inside the casinos of Vegas sounds like a good vacation.

YouMightBePregnant , flickr Report

Eslamala
Community Member
3 months ago

People have the right to go wherever the fck they want on vacation, don't they? I'd never go to Disney-anything because I hate it, but I don't give a shït if people want to go.

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#40

'What's A Scam Most People Don't Even Realize Is A Scam?': 40 People Deliver Their Insights Premium cables. In order for one hdmi cable to have better quality over another, you'd need hundreds of yards between the source and display. Cat5 vs. Cat 6 makes a difference for high bandwidth companies, not for your cable internet ass. Really the only thing it matters in is phone charging durability. Yes, don't get the gas station cables if you help it, but if you do, your phone will still charge at the same rate.

personguy , flickr Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm conflicted by the phone charging. I have cables which are demonstrably better at charging my phone than others. Plus you also have cables with data transfer capabilities which are different to the charging only ones. There are far more nuances to this one.

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