Whether we're traveling or just browsing the internet, scams are everywhere around us. Granted, some of them are less sophisticated than others but we people can be really gullible.
To show everyone what happens when we let our guard down, plenty of Reddit users have shared stories about falling for schemes so obvious, they are still embarrassed to admit it.
From grandma's no candy policy to a lucrative job opportunity, here are some of the most memorable ones Bored Panda discovered across various posts all over the platform.
When i was like 14 (maybe?), i saved up all of my money all year from my paper route to get people nice gifts at Christmas.
When i went to the mall, there was a man there who was "deaf."
He handed me a keychain with a note that read "i am a deaf person, and am unemployed. Will you please buy this keychain for $5?"
Being naive, i pulled out my wallet with like $500 cash. The guy was so happy that i wanted to help him that he taught me a secret handshake. When i sat down, i noticed my wallet was gone.
Literally 8 months of savings gone to some scam artist in exchange for a 25 cent keychain.
I wish i could say that i didnt cry.
One of the posts we looked at belongs to a Reddit user who goes by the name of u/thatdrunkchef. We managed to get in touch with them and they were kind enough to have a little chat with us about what inspired them to make it.
"I just like asking people about stories of their life that they won't usually tell anyone," u/thatdrunkchef explained to Bored Panda. "Reddit is a great place for that. You are in your 'safe zone' because nobody really knows who you are, so you can talk about anything without being judged."
"Let's say something stupid happened. Like a scam. You are not proud of it or maybe you are even ashamed of it and can't talk about it with your friends or family, but want to warn other people. [In this case, Reddit is perfect to share your story] and support each other."
I got duped into paying close to 100 thousand dollars to some people who told me that if I took a bunch of chemistry classes, along with some random philosophy and literature classes thrown in there, I would almost be guaranteed a high-paying job. All I had to do was pay the money and pass the classes. They said I could take out a loan for the 100k and would easily pay that off with my fat paychecks.
Turns out almost no such jobs exist. Fortunately, I was able to get some good scholarships and owe a fraction of that. In any even I was scammed out of four years of my life and still owe a few thousand dollars to a lender. The scammers laughed all the way to their Cancun vacations and luxurious homes with my scholarship and loan money. I'll never see that money again.
Me and my dad go into Walmart to buy some groceries. We come out and load them into the truck, and the truck won’t start? Never had problems with the truck before this. My dad is getting frustrated as we have chilled food with us and it’s summer. Suddenly, a homeless man on a bike rolls up and asks what the problem was. My dad explains that he has no idea his truck just won’t start. Guy asked to take a look.
Guy gets under the truck and in 10 seconds comes back out. He told my dad he found the problem, a small part was missing on his truck (me and my dad are dips***s when it comes to cars so I can’t remember what part he said. Also I was 10). The man said he just so happened to have the same part in his bag of nicknacks. Said if he gave him $50 he’d put it on for him. My dad, excited, agreed. The man went under the truck, another 10 seconds pops back up, says give it a try. Truck starts no problem. My dad thanks the man so much and then gives him another $40 for his trouble. It was only on t he ride home that I brought it up to my dad “you’re telling me none of that seemed off to? Random homeless man rides up just in time with just the right part we need?”
It finally hits my dad and he turns around to find the guy but he was long gone.
The pandemic has been really good for one fraud sector in particular. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans say they've fallen victim to a phone scam in the past year, like the ones where someone gets in touch pretending to be from the IRS or from a company inquiring about an expiring warranty on your vehicle.
According to a report from Truecaller, not only is the number of victims on the rise, but the expense of these scams is also up. The average reported loss was about $502 per person (which is the highest amount on record since Truecaller began tracking this data in 2014).
"It's very disappointing to me, and alarming that people are getting convinced to send criminals money," Clayton LiaBraaten, senior advisory board member at Truecaller, told CNBC. Yet it's not surprising, he added, considering how convincing scammers can be. "These criminals are incredibly clever in the way that they manipulate people."
I once came down with a bout of the hemorrhoids. Well, I assumed it was based on what I knew about hemorrhoid. Too embarrassed to ask friends and family for advice, I did what most people do in these circumstances, I sought medical advice from the Internet.
This was back in the 90's so I logged onto AOL and searched for a cure. I found a website that offered a permanent cure of hemorrhoids. The curator of this site learned this cure when he was a POW in Vietnam, and for $10 I could be hemorrhoids free forever.
Ten dollars poorer and I get the email (with the cure). The cure was to stick my finger up my ass and twirl it around for ten minutes a day, every day. It was then I realized I just paid someone to tell me to stick my finger up my ass.
My former best friend and his dad cheated me out of my money to invest in their company. When I asked for a contract, his dad said, "Between true friends, words aren't necessary."
When they started making money, I asked for my money back, and they said they didn't owe me a thing.
I bought pheromone cologne in high school for like 100 dollars because it was said to cause a chemical reaction that makes women attracted to you. It smelt awful and I never spoke to a chick while wearing it. I later found out the pheromones were taken from some type of animal urine. I was spraying piss on me and was confused why chicks weren't into me.
After going through all the replies their post has received, u/thatdrunkchef were reminded of something they had already known: you need to be careful with everything.
"I can tell out of experience the most common and prevalent scammers are online, closely followed up by tourist scammers," they said. "In my opinion, just question everything. Even the dumbest question. Have everything documented. Fake-check and let other people check [everything] as well. Get some opinions from friends and family [before you make any big decisions.]"
I know, you might be thinking you're not the person who might fall for these tricks. But the before-mentioned report also found that younger men and women (between the ages of 18-44 years) are the most susceptible to phone scams.
When I was little my Grandma would take me thr dentist for my regular cleanings. After the fluoride she would tell me now you're not allowed to have candy for a month because of the fluoride. She would get the dentist to agree with her.
I believed this for a couple years until I mentioned how it's not fun having to wait a month to eat candy because of the dentist to my friends at school. I knew something wasn't right when I realized noone knew what I was talking about.
I went home and told her I knew the no candy after the dentist wasn't true. Her response was "well I'm suprised I got away with that for as long as I did".
I was working at a supermarket and this guy came in, purchased a soda for like a dollar and some change and then gave me a $100. I was like 17. Obviously this guy is gonna get ~$97 back with the $100 he gave me. So when I’m dolling out his change, he starts requesting all these denominations, confusing the hell out of me. He also had a guy with him talking to people behind him to distract them. I have no idea how much money I ended up giving him when the transaction was completed, but it turned out he swindled me out of about $200. This is what is known as a flim flam scam. I never felt so stupid in my life. A few months later, my sister was working with me, and as I was coming in to start work, I saw the men that screwed me leaving, and they got her too. She was devastated and felt the same way I did.
My older sisters told me eggs grew on trees. I vehemently disagreed. They made me plant an egg yolk. I came back later to check, and a stem had grown. Later, leaves showed up. I started to believe. I came back again and they had put plastic Easter eggs filled with candy on the tree.
I was at this bizarre fair type of thing, and I fell for going into the tent which housed the "180 pound man eating chicken." I knew it was going to be cheesy and a likely waste of $2, but I had to go see it anyway.
It was a regular man who picked up a plate of fried chicken and started eating it when paying customers came in. I wasn't even mad.
Someone calling my hotel room, saying it was the front desk, and that they had some sort of error with their payment system. The person (a male) said they just needed to re-run my card along with verify my name and address. Half-asleep, I begrudgingly gave them what they wanted, hung up the phone, and said "F**k...what the hell am I doing? I booked through Priceline."
Called the front desk and a female answered. Sure enough no men were working the front desk and nobody in the hotel staff had called requesting anything of the sort. Next call was to report that card stolen.
Should have followed my first instinct and just told them I'd come down to the front desk and resolve it there.
Right after my dad died I got a call from a number I didn't know. They left a voice mail saying they needed my social security number so they could pay out a life insurance policy to me. I was 21 and super inexperienced with stuff like this. So I did what any real adult would do. I asked my mom for advice.
She told me it was legit and to give them my SS number. I had a weird feeling about it but if my mom said it was ok then it must be ok. I did it. I called back and gave the guy that answered my SS number.
I never got a check but my mom suddenly did from a policy my dad "forgot" to take her off of even though they had been divorced years before. She did give my 10k but I'm 100% positive it was worth way more and she had something to do with it all. We don't talk anymore for various reasons including this one.
I gave a guy, his pregnant wife, and their child, quite a bit of money for petrol. In return, he gave me his very convincing "engagement ring". Obviously, the number he gave me to get the money back was fake, and the ring too.
It hurt so much to be preyed upon just because I was kind (read: stupid) enough to want to help. No arseholes would have been ripped off by him, only people wanting to help.
Walked down the tunnel to DC Metro and approached a ticket machine to get my Metro fare card; found a well dressed lady confused by the machine, and not quite a full English speaker. Convinced me to buy her a ticket as she was to meet her daughter at office downtown. Finally bought her a damn ticket, and then she asked if the ticket was enough to get her back too? Gave her an extra $5 bucks as that's all I had other than large bills and told her to be sure and have her daughter explain all this too her. Guess what? A few days later I went back to that same Metro spot, and she was in the process of scamming some other dude using the same story. I stood behind them until she played off the "will this get me back?", then busted her right there. She gave me an excellent cussing for someone who didn't know English.
I got pulled into an Amway meeting. When I was in college I was working as a waiter at a Pizza Hut, and a customer came in and struck up a conversation. Eventually he pitched me on a possible new job. He described it as "kind of like an internship."
The first red flag should have been he wouldn't give me any specifics other than something about "running a business." Next he gave me a date/address of where to meet and he told me to dress in a suit. That also seemed weird since we were meeting at 7pm. Who interviews at 7pm?
Anyway I get there, and about a hundred other people are there. I was getting a weird vibe and I should have run at that point, but I was desperate for something other than waiting tables. After an hour of parading different motivational speakers they finally announced they sold Amway to achieve their goals. I then went home older, wise, and destined to serve pizza for many more months.
Got a call saying there was something wrong with my internet service. I downloaded the spyware that allowed to person on the phone to remotely control my computer. I became to suspicious when they wanted me to login to my bank account. Reset that b**ch to factory settings and felt shame I'd let it get that far.
A year ago (I’m 17 now) I wanted to get into the stock market and met someone online through a mutual online friend who was old enough to open a broker. I did all the research and, at the height of corona, I invested 3k, all my savings, into a stock that eventually multiplied. Guy took my money and the profits and both ended up blocking me :/
Shipping companies online. This could probably classify as much as a TIFU as a scam, but moved back from Ireland to Canada. Company never provided a proper packing list (first tip off) and then went "bankrupt" several days after picking up everything from my home. PC gaming rig with 2 monitors, PS3, games for both, book, rpg and comic collections, entire music and movie library, autographs, ticket stubs and set lists from concerts, clothes, cameras, figurines like Clouds bike from FF7 Advent Children movie, etc. Only stuff they didn't get, which wasn't much, was what I packed up to take with me on the flight home.
My mom was so close to falling for the 'soldier' scam.
She started talking to some army guy through a dating site and very quickly he got romantic and almost in love over messages. She started to really fall for him.
Then he asked if she could buy phone credit for his daughter as he couldn't use his money abroad whilst he was stationed... She had no money and told him so and he got a bit weird over it. She googled this situation as something didnt sit right and discovered the popular scam of Nigerian men using photos of soldier's, setting up profiles and getting older women to part with cash. They start off small like phone credit and it escalates to life savings and all worldly possessions.
When we looked over his messages after finding out, it all seemed so obvious. The messages were a bit disconnected and seemed scripted. She realised he wasn't really answering her questions or responding to specific thing she had said.
It seems silly now as people are so aware of these type of scams but at the time it really wasn't that obvious.
I gave half my nights tip money to a woman who said her car broke down and she had to go pick her kids up from daycare. I believed her because she was standing in front of a car getting towed. I told someone about it later and they described her to a T and said "yea that's Kimbo, you just bought her a weeks worth of crack". I've met like six people since then that she's done the same thing to.
Back on the early 2000s I fell for the Russian Bride Scam... to a degree. I didn't send money but I did believe for a short while, a few weeks, that I was being contacted by a Russian hottie in the Ukraine or Estonia or somewhere and that she was interested in me. What killed it was that she asked me to wire a few bucks so she could pay for time at an internet cafe. I copied and and pasted text from her email into Google an quickly discovered it was the first step in a larger scam where they escalate what they ask for over time eventually asking for a few thousand dollars to purchase a plane ticket to come visit the US. It was early 2000's back when the internet was a bit more "Wild West" even before Facebook was a thing. What kind of hurt my feelings about it all was that I realized that my online presence must have reeked loneliness.
About 10 years ago, when I was euro-tripping (my dad is a truck driver), we stopped at this parking lot in Italy. We had a break and this guy knocks on our window, says he has a laptop for sale. He presents it to us, shows us its specs, I must say it was a pretty good laptop for those times. And we even lowered the price so he was going to sell it to us for 100€. We were both hyped, so we were getting the cash while the guy was packing the laptop in the case, we made a deal, shook hands and he was gone. Eager to test it ourselves we proceeded to open the case, but there was something wrong with the zip. It was welded/melted in one point so it was pretty hard to open, it took us about 2 mins to open the case and there was no laptop inside. Just two boxes of salt. That guy was long gone, and we were sitting there cursing at him and laughing at how we got tricked. It was the most expensive seasoning I've ever tried.
Not 100% sure I got scammed but 99.99% sure I got scammed over baby formula.
I was at the grocery store and some guy speaking broken english came up to me with a sob story about losing his job and having a baby with a special diet and needing to feed him. It felt odd right off the bat but having just become a dad myself I felt compassionate enough to begrudgingly agreed after he said he didn't want money, he just needed someone to buy some formula.
I walk him to the self checkout and he scans all his stuff, the total was like 350 dollars. I looked at the total looked at him and he pulls the think of the baby card. So I swiped my card. He tried to take the receipt at the end but I said since it was my card I'd keep it.
As I walked away to finish my shopping i noticed he was lingering. I took a lap around one of the aisles. He was still there but talking to the self check out supervisor. He has her do something at the checkout we used and then he finally leaves.
I was just gonna let it go but I had a gutt feeling something seemed off so I went up to the supervisor and asked what the gentleman needed. She said he claimed his receipt didn't print and needed a copy.
That's when I figured it out. Mofo was gonna return it all and ask for it on a GC. I was so annoyed I didn't even finish shopping.
Was headed to a concert in CLE and found a parking garage. Dude was standing out front and said 20 dollars. Garage was right across from the venue so I agreed, payed him his 20 and he turned and sprinted down the street. Dude didn't work for the parking garage...I couldn't even get mad, just shook my head in awe of the chillness that the dude used to take my 20...
I fell for the white van speaker scam around 2005 ish. I was leaving Wal-Mart with some groceries when a guy in a van approached me. He said he just installed a fairly expensive stereo in a client's house nearby but the buyer did not want an extra set of speakers and subwoofer. He said he would sell them to me for half of their value, something like 500 bucks. I told him I didn't have that kinda cash and would he take 200, which is all I had on me. He acted like he couldn't go that low but ultimately I ended up with them. Yeah, they lasted about a week and sounded horrible. Ended up being some super cheap Chinese speakers that sold for like 40 bucks.
Fell for paying $10 for a crappy CD from some dude at Hollywood. He was nice at first by "giving out" free CDs of his music, then got really pushy about wanting a "donation" for it. I didn't want trouble so I gave him $10.
I've always wondered what happens if you just walk away.
I never ended up listening to the CD, I have an irrational fear that it's someone saying "lol, you're an idiot" on repeat. :/
Young horny teenage me took a wrong turning looking for stimulation and ended up paying the 'FBI' £30 to not arrest me and tell my parents.
I was in Nicaragua. A group of 7-year old boys asked me for money because they were "starving". I gave them what I could. That same day I saw them all smoking cigarettes.
Ebay was pretty new at the time. Got contacted by the seller of an item on ebay that I didn't win. Top bidder bailed. I could have it for the amount I bid. "Send it Western Union." I had to act fast. I mean, his dad was in the hospital and needed the money.
I never saw that camera.
I fell for a really weird scam at my old job. It was a very small office so we all picked up the phone when the main line rang. I answered it one day and this guy told me he needed to send me a new manual for our printer/copier. I thought it was a little weird, but he insisted it was free and the only piece of information he was asking me for was the model number, so I gave it to him. He thanked me and said we'd receive the new manual in the mail shortly.
We never did receive anything in the mail, but afterwards I read about the scam online. Apparently they ask you for the model number and then start shipping you sh**ty off-brand toner and charging you insane prices for it. If the business is paying attention, they'll throw out the toner and refuse to pay for it, and no real harm is done. But plenty of offices just assume it's their regular toner, start using it and end up paying the jacked up prices to this sketchy company.
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