It’s always a huge bummer when I hear about folks who get bilked out of all their money because they fall for scams.
Bottom line: there are a ton of scammers out there doing everything they can to try to separate you from your money.
What’s the biggest scam you ever fell for?
AskReddit users admitted their shame.
1. Taken for a ride.
“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.”
2. Always tricky.
“Any time I’ve bought a car.
I feel like car dealerships/salesmen are literally just there to scam you of money. Why are these things negotiable? And if you’re not good at negotiating, you just get utterly scammed trying to buy one.
There should be standard pricing for everyone. I should be able to go in and get a car with the same ease and speed of going in to a Costco and buying a TV.”
3. At Walmart.
“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 dipsh**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 the ride home that I brought it up to my dad “you’re telling me none of that seemed off to you? 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.”
“I spent money with a credit repair company called Platinum Financial.
After they had my money they basically did nothing for me and then when I tried to call to complain the number was disconnected and everything.”
“I was conned. A fraudster split after paying for 1/4 of my late husbands truck.
A couple was visiting my neighbor to buy his car but he decided to repair it instead. So the couple started talking to me about my late husbands truck.
Now looking back it hurts to see what I fell for, but at the time my cognition was not very good. I had just been diagnosed with lyme disease, was having cardiac and cognitive problems, and was about to start treatment.
The truck was valued at $7k but needed work, they asked what I would take in cash that day. I said $4500 as is- they gave me a $1000 deposit and would be back the next day. A couple days later they show up and want to make payments, then offer to have their son fix my porch and work on the roof.
So it winds up I gree to sell the truck for $2k roofing, and $1500 more in payments. We fill out paperwork they make another $100 payment, I give them paperwork and then get two more $100 payments and they are gone.
I hurts to admit this, I wasn’t thinking clearly, I couldn’t even really tell what the dmv form said. I really needed that money and it sucks I just let it go.
Constantly moving final price, and I could not see how to hold the lien. I could not read the form.”
6. Broke as a joke.
“This was actually a couple of weeks ago.
I’m a college student looking for a place to stay/room to rent. I was looking around and my mom got a message on Roomies.com from a random guy who claimed to be renting a studio apartment for $800 a month.
That’s a fu**ing steal where I live, so we started talking more and he claimed to be a pastor living in Texas. So, we end up sending this di**head $400 (half of security deposit) and he claimed he sent the keys to the studio apartment.
As the conversation continued, his English became worse and he asked us if we could send him a $400 Amazon gift card because PayPal luckily denied me from sending the rest of the security deposit.
Long story short, I’m down $400 and I’m still a broke college student.”
“A Nigerian scam back in 2005 or so when I was like 21. Not proud of it. Lost $3,500.
But I was young and weak and naive at the time and believed that love could be found online easier than in person.
Learned my lesson for sure.
Now bring on the jokes.”
8. Classified ad.
“Answered a classified ad for one of those “entry-level advertising/PR management” jobs.
Got an interview, which was pretty vague about what the job actually entailed, invited to the second interview, which was an all-day shadowing of a current employee. What they did all day was door-to-door coupon sales.
I probably should have turned and run after that, but the people I was shadowing swore up and down that I’d only be in the field for the first two weeks, just so I could “understand what the salespeople do,” and would work in the office after that. Based on that, I took the job. (In my defense, this was in 1996 – there was no Glassdoor or anything where I could check this company out.)
I slogged it out in the field for two weeks (I hated it and was bad at it. It also didn’t help that they sent me to some really sketchy neighborhoods!) The third week rolled around and nobody had said anything about when I’d start working in the office, so I asked one of the team leaders about it.
He gave me this odd look and told me that everyone works in the field- the only person who got to work in the office and didn’t have to go into the field was the owner. That’s the only job I’ve ever walked out on.”
9. Close call.
“At one point I had created an email address and put out some business cards for housesitting/pet-sitting/cleaning.
Someone emailed me pretending to be moving from Australia to my little US midwest town and wanted to pay me like 3 grand to help them get settled.
They sent me a check and everything, tried to get me to deposit it right away, but my bank was closed and the ATM wouldn’t take it. After I was an idiot and already tried depositing it, I looked at the check and saw it was a business check.
Googled the business, and it wasn’t even located in my state. Called them, and of course they weren’t affiliated with the person. I sent a strongly worded email to the person, and then over the next couple months got 3 more similarly-worded scam emails from different addresses, but clearly this same person.
It made me feel really dumb that I fell for it, and would have lost $3000 if not for that lovely ATM.”
10. Scam call.
“Remember those scam calls where the scammer would say there was a problem with your taxes or something, and if you didn’t pay the balance to the IRS the sheriff would show up to your house?
Well, I was newly sober at the time, and also had a fairly extensive criminal history. I remember thinking “this is strange, but not totally outside the realm of possibility.” I paid just to be safe. 2 grand. I told my dad later and he basically said “son, that was pretty stupid.”
You live and you learn.”
11. Played at the mall.
“I got played by someone at the mall in Portland, OR.
It was around Christmas and I was doing some Christmas shopping and this well dressed dude came up to me in sort of a panic saying he’d had his bag stolen with his wallet in it and he needed help cashing a check so he could finish his Christmas shopping. My dumb a** agreed to cash a $600 check and the dude gave me $50 for helping him out.
I went home feeling like I’d done a good deed, but a week or so later the bank hit me up and told me I’d cashed a check from a closed account and I was liable for the deficit, plus fees. That’s what I get for trying to be nice to a stranger I suppose.”
12. Parents: take note!
“You know those phone scams where people pretend to be from Microsoft or some other computer company?
Well, I didn’t know they were scams when I was in elementary school but was allowed to talk to people on the phone, so I actually talked to this scammer for a while writing stuff down and taking him seriously.
Fortunately, I called my Mom on my cellphone in the middle of it to tell her about it and ask her what to do, and she told me to shut the computer off. No harm done in the end. Parents: teach your kids about scammers!”
13. That’s too bad.
“There was a company advertising that they would help people wipe out predatory student loans.
Long story short I blew $800 on a company that got shut down by the Gov’t for fraudulent practices and was denied a refund.”
“Spent $250 on Talkspace (got $200 back because I demanded a redund).
They (their therapists) waste a week of your time to reply once and reply with a canned response of, “oh that sounds stressful, how is your sleep schedule?”
I cannot stress enough how much of a waste of time and money that s**t was.”
“These people called me with one of HMRC numbers telling me I didn’t pay some taxes, saying they sent lots of letters to my old address to which I never responded.
I didn’t know they could make me see the number they wanted. After a quick check on the government website I saw that the number was the same and I believed them. I was 20 years old and living in London on my own.
I gave them 1000£ and never felt so stupid in my life.”
16. Could have been worse.
“Not too bad I lost 35 bucks. I fell for those stores on Instagram.
I was just getting on it so I didn’t know most were scam stores. Because I followed some small retailers that I already bought from.
I thought it was the same thing. Website was or looked legit but I never got my boots.
Smart too because I got it from them because they were 15 bucks cheaper. Not some crazy amount that made you question it.
Luckily I paid with PayPal. It could’ve been worse if they had my credit card information.”
“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.”
“There was a company advertising that they would help people wipe out predatory student loans.
Long story short, I blew $800 on a company that got shut down by the government for fraudulent practices and was denied a refund.”
19. Oh, no.
“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 went to buy a Rolling Stones ticket from a scalper years ago (i know, i know) and he talked me into a VIP Backstage Pass. He said that’s all I need!
Free food, booze, all the perks. He insisted the sticker was all I needed to get in, no paper ticket necessary.
So a few hours later I go to the show, obviously can’t get in – it was a VIP pass from the night before. There was no date on it, just a different shape.
I try every single gate hoping someone won’t notice/not care and finally try the media entrance. The nice lady ushered me right in, I took an elevator up to the main concourse and I was free as a bird. I didn’t have a seat obviously but I snuck down to the floor and ended up having a great show.
Still feel burned by the stupid f**k to this day though. I’ve seen him at other shows (nice neck tattoo of a fish, you fu**in’ pr**k) and I always f**k with him.”
21. Felt like an idiot.
“It happened while I was at work in a grocery store (no longer working there for unrelated reasons). Overworked, stressed out of my mind, and probably had some form of sleep deprivation going on at the time.
Answered a customer service call for Western Union during a very busy time and had a severe lapse in judgement that resulted in me doing a transaction over the phone (the biggest thing they drill into our heads NOT to do).
I thankfully didn’t get any further (only one transaction went through rather than several) before things clicked and I hung up on them horrified. Reported it asap for damage control and spent the next few days praying that I wouldn’t lose my job for it (transaction over the phone = fire-able offense).
Thankfully, since I didn’t have a problematic work history my boss was able to save my job with the only caveats being retraining and a note being on file for at least a year. Huge self-esteem and mental health loss though, felt like a gigantic idiot for months afterwards.”
22. A hassle.
“I was in Rome walking around when a guy came up to me and handed me a rose saying it was a gift. I took it, and then he demanded money.
I refused to pay, and tried to give it back (should have just placed it on the floor). Long story short, my friend saw me from across the plaza arguing and came over.
The guy wouldn’t leave me alone, so my friend paid him off. I felt so bad.”
“An email something like:
“You’re paypal has been accessed from an unknown source, click here to update your password.”
It looked official and asked for me to login to update my password. When I realized the website didn’t allow me to view my profile I panicked. I then spent the day taking the necessary precautions.
Lesson, always go to the website yourself and don’t click links in emails.”
Have you ever been scammed before?
If so, please tell us all about it in the comments.
We’d love to hear from you!