19 Scams That Are Still Effective, Even in 2023

Don’t let scammers take you for a ride! Some scams have been around for a long time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get new victims. Stay safe with our guide to 19 most common scams that still trap people.

Super Common Scams People Still Fall For

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Someone asked, “What is a common scam that people STILL fall for?” and unfortunately, there were a lot of responses.

Here are some of the top answers.

Answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Craigslist Housing Scammers

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Someone shared a personal experience, “Someone tried to scam me on Craigslist. Was looking for an apartment (which I did end up finding on CL), and I was looking at this one place advertised. He wanted me to mail him the first month’s rent and the security deposit. I was like, “um.. can I see the apartment and a lease first?” He sent me a standard lease he got online that didn’t have the correct property listed and asked for the money again. I asked to see the place. He said I could drive by it, and the pictures of the inside were online. He said he would FedEx the key when I sent the money. I was just like… yea… no.

Googled it later, and this is apparently a common scam. I don’t get it. Why would you send money without ever seeing the apartment or an actual lease? That’s not how it works.”

Windows Technical Support

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“Hello, this is Windows Technical Support; my name is Kevin; how are you today?” someone wrote.

One person shared how he dealt with them, “I told them I was going to get my laptop and boot it up, then just put them on mute and speaker. They kept saying, “Hello? Are you there?” for five minutes before hanging up. I think they took me off their list.”

Grandkids in Trouble

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“If you’re my dad, the grandkids have gotten in trouble and need you to wire them $5,000, and “please don’t tell my parents.” Yeah, Daddy, your grandkids are too young to get caught with drugs in Mexico, they’re fine, don’t worry,” someone wrote.

Another shared, “My neighbor fell for that. Said his grandson got into a car accident driving drunk And needed $2500. They knew the grandson’s name and the state he lived in, but nothing else. Still tricked them into it before they thought to call their grandson, who was home the entire time.”

Craigslist Car Scam

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“I’m a person several states away from you, but I would be happy to buy your vehicle off craigslist. Here, deposit this check. Once it clears, send me the extra back, and you can keep the rest,” someone wrote, “You won the lottery! Here is the first check; deposit it, then send us the taxes back. I work at a bank. I stop these scams on a regular basis. People are so desperate for money they don’t think twice about it.

Facebook Warning

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“Silly Facebook warnings that people share via a status update,” someone wrote.

Another person joked, “I am posting this status to confirm that I DO NOT give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my photos or information. Violation of this will be punishable by law. You must post this status at least once, or Facebook will tacitly use your photos or information. DO NOT SHARE, COPY AND PASTE!!!!!!!”

Scummy Mechanics

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One person answered, “My old autos teacher would tell a story about these mechanics in his town that would go around and offer free inspections of people’s suspension components cause they’re almost always neglected in regular maintenance. They would get underneath, spray some oil on the shocks, then say the shocks needed to be replaced cause they were leaking and had bad seals. Once all the other guys in town found out, some backwoods justice was dealt. I vaguely recall something about a lot of Snap-On tools mysteriously vanishing or breaking overnight. The guys left town the next week.”

Personal Information

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This is a warning for everyone!

Someone wrote, “This is something that started out as a scam but has become much more legitimate, which is kind of scary. Basicly you take a cute picture and label it as “My first car, what was yours?” and then everyone comments on it and shares, so you have 10k people commenting on what make and model their first car was using their Facebook name. This also happens to be one of the questions the bank asks to verify your credit cards, checking account, savings account, etc…”

Adult Name

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Another similar one someone shared, “What’s your *adult* name? Just add the name of your first pet to your mother’s maiden name!”

Someone came to a realization, “oh. s***. Here I was laughing about how morons could fall for that, and then I realized that I’ve done the *adult* name countless times.”

I Have Kids in the Car

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Someone replied, “Excuse me, I have my kid in the car, do you have five dollars I could borrow? I need groceries! My kid’s in the car right now! She’s so scared! My kid will die if she doesn’t get the five dollars! Thank you so much. Jesus loves you!” I saw this scam go down several years ago in my old neighborhood grocery store. It wasn’t uncommon for people to run out of money or food stamps for groceries and ask people for some change. Scammers like her knew most people cannot stand for children suffering, even non-existent children, so idiots forked over the money. Scammer didn’t have a kid or a car. She was a drug addict who spent her days begging people for change.”

Pyramid Schemes

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Someone wrote, “Pyramid schemes like Amway.”

Another commented, “And the first thing they say when you mention ‘pyramid scheme’ is ‘oh this one’s different though!’.”

Someone shared, “An old high school friend of mine starting selling stuff for one of these schemes, and posts on Facebook all the time about how “it’s so legit” and “not a pyramid scheme” and such. If you have to constantly deny that it’s a scam, it’s most likely a scam.”

Fad Diets and “Diet” Pills

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“Huge portion on Instagram in a nutshell,” someone commented.

Someone gave some context, “Oh, there are “diet pills” that work. They’re just illegal and super dangerous. Anything from ephedrine, to clenbuterol, to dinitrophenol. Bodybuilders use them all the time (except dinitrophenol, most people are smart enough to stay away from metabolic poisons).”

Tax Office

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“An email purporting to be from the tax office telling people they’re due a refund or rebate, and all they have to do is enter ALL their bank details and personal info to receive it. Unbelievable how many folk fall for it,” someone wrote.

Scientology

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“You’re extremely depressed. And the only way to fix it is to pay us $240,” someone wrote.

Another added, “It’s even more than that! They basically promise you magic powers once you reach certain “levels” within the cult church cult, and the only way to reach those levels is to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars. And that’s after buying every single book L. Ron Hubbard has ever written on the subject!”

IRS Phone Calls

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Have you ever gotten a call from the IRS? It’s a scam.

“IRS phone calls. The IRS never makes phone calls. Their correspondence is always through the mail,” someone wrote.

Detox Food Products

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via DepositPhotos.com.

“Detox food products. Your liver and kidneys do it for free. 24/7/365 or 366 days a year. All around the clock,” someone wrote.

Western Union Scams

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“All of the Western Union scams. The romance scam, the Nigerian Prince scam, the pet scam, the grandparent scam…when I worked for Western Union, I always had to inform someone that they were being asked to send money to a common scammer at least twice weekly,” someone wrote.

Craiglist Job

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Someone explained in detail how this scam works, “Getting a job through Craigslist where they send you a large (and, more importantly, fraudulent) paycheck and ask you to deposit it and then wire a portion of it back “to cover fees” when in reality someone’s trying to get access to your bank information (if you try to cash the check against your account) or get you to send them money from a check that will never clear (either way this also causes fees if the check bounces).”

Google the Bank

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They continued, “Pro tip: if you ever get something like this, Google the bank the check is drawn off of, especially if it’s located in a different state. Most of them will be either small “local” places that will be harder to verify or and this is more likely, outright fake (even small credit unions will at least have a web site if you Google it).”

Pay for Prayers

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This one is very common! Someone shared, “Turned the tv on this Sunday morning and watched a preacher asking people to send him 1000 dollars and he would plant a seed, or some such bull***, and all their prayers would come true. I couldn’t believe the number of names that scrolled along the bottom of the screen of people who had donated. Lowest of the low when it comes to scam artists IMHO.”

Fake Apartment Scheme

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“As a landlord, I’m seeing and dealing with a lot more fake apartment listings in the past couple of years,” someone started,

“Scammers will take pictures from some source, and advertise apartments that aren’t actually theirs, sometimes aren’t even for rent, and in rare cases don’t actually exist. Images can be taken from sources all over the place, ranging from a legitimate craigslist posting, to pictures pulled directly from MLS. The scammer asks the prospective tenant for an application, and then gives them a fake lease in exchange for money. Usually cash or money order. Sometimes the scammer even meets the tenant in person and gives them fake keys. The tenant then shows up at the house, and can’t get in. Of course, the scammer is nowhere to be found by this point. They’ve got their money and are long gone.”

Related: The Real Estate Catfish Con: How To Avoid Falling for a Fake Agent 

Airbnb

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This scam also happens with Airbnb listings but isn’t as effective.

“Fake AirBnB listings aren’t quite as much of a problem because AirBnB will reimburse you, and doesn’t instantly deliver the funds to the scammer. Scammers ask for cash so they can provide a discount by cutting out the fees. It’s a more complex process, and less people fall for it. If anything, actual tenants doing illegal subletting through AirBnB are a bigger issue than AirBnB scammers, at least in my experience.”

 

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via DepositPhotos.com.

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I hope you enjoyed this list and stay safe from these scams!

This post was produced by A Dime Saved.

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.