20 Scams That Are So Convincing, Even the Smartest People Fall For Them

Scammers are the modern-day pirates of our time. They’ll promise you the world, but all they really want is your hard-earned cash. And boy, are they good at what they do!

One Redditor asked, “What’s a scam that’s really easy to fall for?” Many users shared their insights and experiences, and we have listed the top 20 scams that anyone can easily fall for. So, beware of these scams!

1. Recovery Scams

Euphoric brunette shopping online sitting on cosy sofa.
Image Credit: lightwavemedia/Shutterstock.

Recovery scams are basically vultures circling around wounded prey. They swoop in, promising to help you get back your money and assets that were swindled away from you. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Wrong!

A discerning Reddit user commented, “An awful one I’ve learned about from r/scams is recovery scams. Basically, you’ve already been scammed once, and you go online somewhere like Reddit looking for advice. Recovery scammers will DM you and tell you that they can help recover the money you lost for a small fee or with your account information.

I guess it’s easy to fall for because you’re already in a vulnerable place, and you don’t want to believe that a person offering to help you get out of the first mistake is going to scam you for more money. It’s terrible how they take advantage of people who are already down.”

Another replied, “Someone in my town had their motorcycle stolen, and people were sharing the post on Facebook. There’s about 25% people going, “I’m so sorry this happened to you. You should message this random account, and they will find it for you,” and you look at the person’s profile, and they are in Texas or someplace. We live in Canada. I reported everyone, but I know people fall for it.”

2. Housing Scams

San Francisco travel tourists couple looking at houses landscape banner.
Image Credit: Maridav/Shutterstock.

Seriously, these scams are a cruel joke that the universe plays on innocent people just trying to find a place to crash. It’s messed up how easy it is to fall for these sneaky tricks.

One said, “I was looking for an apartment a few months ago, and the amount of scams targeting those in need of homes is sickening. From $100 “application fees” to leases sent via email without a viewing is absurd. I could see some family desperate for a place to live falling for some of these, and it’s sickening.”

Someone else added, “My city in East Texas got on landlords and property management companies about charging application fees. They felt that they were dragging their feet finding “a suitable tenant” just to collect more in fees for two months than they would get in rent. A couple individuals never rented their houses for a couple years yet accepted applications throughout most of the year.”

3. The Fake Partner

Fashion portrait of a beautiful girl with bright painted lips
Image Credit: Androlia via DepositPhotos.com.

A Reddit user wrote, “For just $200, I’ll be your E gf for a week.”

Another added, “I’m amazed this is a thing: pay for someone’s OnlyFans, which gives you the opportunity to then pay again for actual content or whatever??? If I paid for someone’s Only Fans, and then they had the audacity to inform me that I had to PPV for any actual content, I’d lose my stuff. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve never signed up for OnlyFans because it seems like this is the standard procedure now.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “What’s worse is that people are on onlyfans at all. I know we’re all suddenly pro-s** worker and all, but exploiting young women for profit and convincing them that’s it’s a perfectly legitimate career path is super messed up.”

But here’s the reality check: these scammers aren’t interested in true love. Nope, they’re in it for the cold, hard cash. And because you’re smitten like a kitten, you’ll be tempted to help them out, believing that true love conquers all!

4. When You Didn’t Buy Anything

Portrait of astonished girl blogger use her cellphone
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A Reddit user wrote, “This email I’ve been getting recently: “Thank you for your $500 order of xyz, call this number to change or cancel” Almost got me first time.”

Someone else replied, “Yeah the one that almost got me was an sms that said “potential identity fraud: your credit card was used in NY, NY” or something like that and I almost clicked the link but decided to look at my bank app instead.”

These scammers have one goal in mind: to swipe your cash faster than you can say “shopaholic.” They’ll send you a link that looks legit, but it’s really a one-way ticket to Scam Ville!

5. The Parenting Technique

Concept of misunderstanding between generations
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One Redditor stated, “My parents: if you tell me the truth I won’t be mad.”

Someone commented, “Cop told me if I told the truth no one was going to jail that day. They came back the next day. That is a one-time mistake.”

Why is it so easy to fall for this scam? Well, it taps into our desire for acceptance and the fear of consequences. We want to believe that our honesty will be rewarded, so we let our guard down, only to be blindsided by the storm of anger that follows!

6. Security Services

Safety of private property and modern technology. Safeguard monitoring home security cameras
Image Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.

Someone on Reddit said, “My wife and I were first-time home buyers, and I somehow got suckered into signing on with ADT security while some guy was setting up our “smart home” features. I signed a THREE YEAR contract, and I have tried several times to get out, but the contract says if I leave early I owe 75% of the remaining contract payments. I had no idea what I was doing and having to fend off a dozen salespeople every day. The guy was super aggressive about having me sign, too, and it made me feel humiliated after I realized what happened.

Tip to new home buyers. Do NOT talk to ADT people. Don’t even let them into your house. They are crooks. I am overpaying, and they keep raising the price on me somehow. I guess this is how I learn.”

Another responded, “One time, we heard someone ripping our screen from the window. Went out to check, and was all Clear. Next morning talking about getting security, and door bell rings. Guess who it is, ADT. I truly believe they did the ripping of my screen.”

These scams are slicker than a secret agent in a tuxedo, and it’s so dang easy to fall for their tricks!

7. The Fake Job

Man in Office Looking for Help
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One said, “The fake job ones are so bad. I was DESPERATE to find something, really ANYthing, about 9 months after I got out of college. Out of shear desperation, I fell victim to one of the “sports marketing” jobs (my degree is in marketing/advertising). It was all foolishness and the whole job was sitting outside gas stations (or going door to door, man) selling coupon books to random people. Just awful.

Anyway, it was REALLY depressing having to come home to my parents after that first day and explain to them it was all a scam. They were so disappointed. Not gonna lie, I was close to giving up entirely at that point.”

Another person added, “Holy wow I nearly got done by that too! My one said “sports-minded individuals” – and it was just door-to-door sales all focused on upselling.

They tried to rush me and a bunch of other poor schmucks through signing on as an employee, so we didn’t have time to back out, but I managed to awkwardly back out, and the guy walked me to the door aggressively to see me out. Worst time ever but best thing I ever did was get the hell out of there. I’ll never forget it.”

We all have heard of jobs that need payment for training materials, right? They dig into your wallet and just run away with your cash. And what do you get in return? Nothing but shattered dreams and a hefty dose of frustration!

8. Credit Cards

Confused redhaired ginger curly woman holding plastic creditcard
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These scammers are smooth talkers, pretending to be your credit card saviors, ready to save the day. So, watch out for these!

Someone shared, “A department store credit card when you’re 18 and haven’t been warned against credit cards.”

A user responded, “I think personal finance should be a requirement for 16-year-olds. So many financial mistakes can be avoided through education.”

Another added, “A few years ago, before store loyalty rewards/points were tracked fully digitally, SO many stores were pushing their “store loyalty/rewards cards” which weren’t always credit cards but sometimes were & cashiers would often use the same verbiage at checkout as they would with a credit card.

So you’d be at checkout at some mall store, and the cashier would go, “would you like to sign up for our store rewards card today and save 10% on your purchase?” and if you said sure, you had no idea if they were going to hand you a literal punchcard or a full-blown credit card application or something in between.

I was part of all kinds of stores’ non-CC loyalty programs (Wet Seal’s Stylizer, Sephora’s Beauty Insider, Hollister’s Club Cali, etc.), but I remember getting partway through the signup paperwork at a couple places before realizing I was signing up for a whole credit card, not just a mailing list with some fun discounts and birthday deals.”

9. The Two-party Scam

New Remove BG Save Share Sample New The White House in Washington DC.
Image Credit: Vacclav via DepositPhotos.com.

One user shared, “The two-party system. It’s a scam to get the poor to fight each other instead of being upset at the wealthy, who blame voters of the other party instead of themselves.”

Another added, “The two parties are an emergent solution to the problem of winning elections and passing laws. Nobody invented two parties. But because of how our election system works, if the Democrats split into Democrats and Progressives, Republicans will win.

If Republicans split into Republicans and MAGA, Democrats will win. So both parties stay whole. If you want multi-party representation, you need to change the voting laws.”

Let me tell you a little secret- the Two-Party System is a rigged game. It’s a never-ending cycle of promises and disappointments where the same old players keep taking the stage.

10. Postal Services

Woman signing receipt of delivery package, close up
Image Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.

Someone said, “UPS one almost got me. I order alot of items to my house for work and I got a text message about a missed delivery that led to an official-looking UPS site. When they asked me for my credit card info I knew it was sus. I reported them.”

Someone said, “Our CIO fell for a UPS phishing email and clicked on one of the links. He actually was expecting a UPS delivery that day. He looked h*lla sheepish, bringing us his laptop to be wiped and reimaged.”

These scammers are like actors, playing the role of helpful postal employees, ready to take advantage of your shipping woes. They’ll ask for personal information like your credit card number and Social Security digits. And what do they do with that info? They go on a shopping spree using your identity, wasting all your precious money!

11. Student Loans

Young university graduate woman isolated on pink background smiling
Image Credit: luismolinero via DepositPhotos.com.

Well, let’s face it, we’re stressed-out students desperate for any kind of relief. We want to believe there’s an easy solution to our mountain of debt.

One Reddit user wrote, “The part of this one that grates the most on me is how easy approval for student loans allowed universities to raise tuition through the roof and made students/parents willing to go along with it.”

Another commented, “To add to this, corporations helping the loan companies by requiring degrees for white-collar jobs that don’t need them.”

One wrote, “The real scam is the whittling away of state funding from public higher ed, and then convincing the easily fooled masses that loans caused the tuition increase. And you all believe that idiotic stuff. Foolish unwashed apes.

12. Capitalism

young business woman holding money.
Image Credit: tanja-v/Shuttertsock.

Capitalism is like a wild economic ride where businesses hustle to make that sweet money! So, instead of the government owning everything, it’s all about private ownership and making big bucks.

A Redditor wrote, “Working your life away and sacrificing family time to make large corporations an extra profit.”

Someone else agreed and said, “Good luck to you, man; owning a business is a great way to move towards financial independence. But yeah, you’re giving up a lot of hours for at least the next year.

Just be sure to talk to your spouse and communicate. I did something last year that required a ton of time and effort, and it put a strain on us, but we talked every day about it to make sure no resentment was building up.”

13. Black Friday Sales


Man shopping online using laptop on couch at home, closeup. Black Friday Sale
Image Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

With the rise of online shopping, you can now score those Black Friday scammer deals without even leaving your couch. Websites and apps crash under heavy traffic as the hunt for fake discounts has gone virtual.

Someone said, “Black Friday anywhere that’s not the USA. I’m in Canada, and it’s basically like $20 off.”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “It’s a scam in the US too. My mom noticed in 2010 they slowly raise the prices September and October then put them at the August prices “for sale””

Someone else added, “It is still going in Mexico. With a new twist. I watched some guys running it at a tiangus (street market), but the new twist is if you try to take your money and leave when the guy lets you win the first couple times, he has a couple guys who run you off, and they keep the money. Win win for them.”

14. Catfishing

A romance scam concept. A fake social media photo or dating profile using a stolen image of a woman displayed on a laptop screen.
Image Credit: MDV Edwards/Shutterstock.

Do you know those dating apps and social media platforms? Catfishers dive right in and create these false personas to lure people into their tangled web of lies. They’ll use attractive photos that aren’t theirs and pretend to be the most fascinating person on the planet!

One user said, “Being catfished. Even when you are able to reverse image search pictures, some sophisticated catfishers use unique images they save from others they’ve tricked and have videos.”

Another replied, “I got scammed in a video game by someone I thought was a friend who had sent two unsolicited selfies. The images were slightly grainy (weird for 2022) and had filters (rosy cheeks, random stars, crown of flowers). I did reverse image search; nothing popped up. I’m still positive the images were stolen. All that work to try and scam me as a simp when she effectively scammed me as a friend.”

15. Timeshares

Inscription "Timeshare" in the sand on a tropical island, Maldives.
Image Credit: V_E/Shutterstock.

Timeshares are those fancy vacation traps that reel you in with promises of paradise. It’s a way to “own” a piece of your dream house for some time. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, here’s where things get a bit tricky. You’re not the only fish in the sea who fell for this scheme! Because the maintenance fee and rental fee will burn a hole in your wallet

Someone commented, “Don’t forget the people that bought a timeshare and then have to explain/justify it to you that it’s not “like the others” and when they do explain how it works and how they can trade it for “points” or something at other locations.

By the time they finish their “explanation,” you’re completely lost, even though they were speaking English the entire time.”

Another responded, “I love my significant other like no other, but I’m frustrated she got talked into a Wyndham timeshare by her mother.”

16. Televangelists

Pastor with a Bible in his hand during a sermon. The preacher delivers a speech
Image Credit: MVolodymyr/Shutterstock.

Just like in any showbiz industry, there are those televangelists who are more interested in their own wealth and fame than in saving souls. They’ll put on a grand performance, make big promises, and ask for donations that can make your head spin!

Someone said, “TV Evangelical preachers.”

A discerning Reddit user commented, “This isn’t talked about enough. They cry about the poor, yet they’re multi-millionaires.”

Another replied, “You need to give now meanwhile pocketing all that money. They are predators; my grandmother, who was scraping by with retirement, used to give. Like how is that allowed to be a thing? Seems like misappropriation of funds to the elderly.”

17. Tips

couple tipping waitress
Image Credit: PavelVinnik
via DepositPhotos.com.

A Redditor wrote, “The tip option on every credit card scanner.”

Another replied, “Check out “tip fatigue”. I’m personally hoping it collapses the tipping scene in the US permanently, but a lot jobs that depend on tips, like servers, are actually being hurt by too many transactions pushing tips and tip screens starting at 20%+ tips, making people feel awkward if they want to type other or no tip when they feel it’s unjustified.

For ex. I was recently at a bowling alley and had that moment we all know for the swivel screen swung around to me with options to tip 20, 22, or 25 percent. Like for what…? Turning around and handing my shoes? For ringing me up and telling me my lane number…?”

Seeing the bill, we all start to question the whole tipping culture. Why should we pay extra for a service that’s already included in the price of the meal? It’s like paying double for something we’ve already paid for!

18. Crypto

Bitcoin with young woman holding out a smartphone
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These crypto enthusiasts are famous for the ultimate scams of the digital age. They’ll talk about blockchain and financial revolution, making it all sound like a magical world of wealth. But here’s the catch—these scammers might be more interested in making a quick buck for themselves than helping you become the next crypto millionaire!

Someone on Reddit said, “Who could’ve guess that a completely unregulated industry full of complete strangers and dudebros operating solely on hype would turn out to be foolishness??”

Someone commented, “Don’t start thickos like me don’t understand the difference between scammy s***coin chancers and blockchain.”

19. Auto Workshop

Car repair mechanic fixing auto. Man working on car in garage. At home do it yourself.
Image Credit: Chris Driscoll/Shutterstock.

One said, “Paying for extra services at a mechanics shop. They gleefully present to you that your vehicle needs a service, but you just got it done last oil change.”

Another person pitched in to say, “The little sticker the oil change guys put in your window saying you need another oil change in 3000 miles. There hasn’t been a car made now in the last 20 years that needs an oil change after just 3000 miles.”

Now, you don’t need to be a mechanic, but having some knowledge can prevent you from falling into the scammer’s trap. It’s like being a mini-MacGyver, armed with enough information to ask the right questions.

20. Health Insurance

Doctor with female patient
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The whole insurance world is a maze of confusion. We’re bombarded with complex terms and prices that make our heads spin. We want to believe that our health is protected and that we’re covered for all unexpected medical emergencies. But here’s the reality check- insurance companies are businesses whose primary goal is to make money.

One Redditor stated, “I have health insurance, but it is cheaper to fly to my wife’s hometown in Mexico and give birth at the high-end clinic than give birth in my hometown. 6k vs 2k”

Another user replied, “My wife’s home country will pay you to give birth. But they don’t do epidurals very often, and it’s more painful, so she didn’t wanna return to her home country.”

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.