20 of the Most Successful Lies in Human History

We all know lying is generally considered a bad trait, but history has shown us that there are moments when deception plays a pivotal role.

One Redditor asked, “What is the most successful lie in history?”

This thread received thousands of responses, and we have listed the top 20 for you!

1. The Truth

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Someone said, “” if you tell the truth, you won’t be in trouble” Yeah, Mom, I fell for that a few times and learned that lesson quickly.”

Another added, “This is what I use with my children. Works with one, doesn’t work with the other. The one it works with also coincidentally and unfortunately is doing much less c**p.”

This one is like a cruel joke played on innocent souls everywhere. We were led to believe that honesty would set us free, but instead, it’s more like honesty brings the wrath of our parents upon us.

2. Fake Documents

Smiling young indian woman holding paper bill letter doing paperwork bill reading good news check post mail sit at home table, happy lady customer receive bank receipt sheet tax refund notification.
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This genius story from World War II involves none other than Ian Fleming, the mastermind behind James Bond!

One user wrote, “During WW2, the British put faked documents on a corpse and dropped the body in the waters to be found by the Axis. It detailed an attack that never happened. Here’s the best part. The plans for D-Day were found in a similar manner. The actual plans. But they were ignored cause the nazi leaders thought it was just another ruse.”

Another added, “Ian Fleming came up with that; he later wrote the James Bond novels.”

3. Carrot Power

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You’ve probably heard it a million times: “Eat your carrots; they’ll give you superhuman night vision!”

Someone said, “One of the most impressive ones was when Great Britain convinced everyone during WWII that carrots were the reason why their vision was great when it was really the recently discovered airborne interception radar technologies. I still know people that are convinced eating carrots as kids will ensure 20/20 vision for life.”

Another replied, “I remember absolutely pounding down carrots with my brother and friend because my friend had heard they help your night vision. No regrets, though. Carrots are delicious.”

4. Age

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One Redditor commented, “Yes, I am 18+ years old”

Another hysterically said, ““Yes I am 21+ years old” 16 year old me looking at weed maps.”

Another adopted a sarcastic tone: “Enter DOB: 01/01/1900”

It seems like teenagers have cracked the code when marking themselves as 21, doesn’t it?

5. Terms and Conditions

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We live in a fast-paced world where time is precious, and we just want to get on with things. So when we have a lengthy page filled with legal jargon, we sometimes prefer to click the ‘Agree’ button.

Someone commented, “”I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the above Terms and Conditions”.”

Another shared, “read > accept > agree. I can easily click “read”. I’m ok with clicking “accept” – do I have a choice? “agree” tho? I’ll try my best not to.”

6. High Traffic

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One person said, ““We are experiencing higher than normal call volume. Your call is very important to us.” every. single. customer service line. Edit: my first awards (WITH AN S) ever. THANK YOU!”

Now, this message has become the go-to excuse for customer support departments across the globe!

Someone else replied, “Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line until it’s no longer important to you.”

Someone else added, “Or you get disconnected when we realize you ain’t giving up.”

7. The Portuguese Siege

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This will transport you back to the days of the Portuguese Siege.

One person commented, “In a Portuguese town, there are the remains of a 14th-century castle that withstood a desperate prolonged siege in 1368. A local woman broke the enemy’s resolve by baking some cakes with the last of the flour. The bread was then sent to the Spaniards, in a fake show of plenty, with the message, ‘If you need any more, just let us know’. Fearing a much more prolonged siege, the Spaniards withdrew.”

Another shared, “The absolute gamer.”

8. The Countercharge

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One Redditor said, “There was a countercharge in the civil war that rings a bell now based on what you said just now. The overview is essentially a group was ordered to hold a hill no matter what and wait for reinforcements; the enemy was shooting the hell out of them to try and take the hill before they were reinforced.

The enemy is advancing on the hill, and the defenders realize they can’t win by holding their ground anymore. They have like one shot left each. They can’t lose the hill, or the reinforcements would never be able to reinforce the position and support a bigger advance. The commander, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (thanks @spencehammer) orders them to fix bayonets and countercharge since it’s the only option that isn’t obviously going to fail. They do, and the defenders actually route their enemy, even capturing the general in charge, who orders a retreat when he sees them coming down the hill.

Keeping in mind how Smokey old battlefields got from the type of powder used, they were practically fighting in a fog bank. The attacker leadership saw the charging forces and assumed that the only sane reason for a countercharge was that those reinforcements had arrived, meaning his people were about to be overrun so he ordered the retreat to save who he could.”

9. The Spy

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For D-Day, the Allies launched ‘Operation Fortitude’ as a grand deception plan. The objective? To mislead the German High Command about the actual location and timing of the invasion!

A Reddit user said, “Here’s a good one for you. Here’s a good one for you. He wanted to be a spy for the Allies during WWII. The British rejected him, so he just started making c**p up to send to the Nazis by using reliable British news sources he could get in Spain/Portugal. The British figured out what he was doing and recruited him. He ended up with a “spy ring” that the Nazis bankrolled, including paying for a funeral and pension to the widow of someone who never existed.

He helped create confusion with the Normandy landings by feeding information for Operation Fortitude (a fake army to throw off the actual landing location). Then on D-Day, he radioed German officers at 3 am to warn them of a pending invasion, but no one was there to receive his call. When they finally established communications at 8 am, the invasion had already begun, and he was authorized to basically give every detail of the invasion since it was too late. Of course, he was also able to berate the communications officer for being late and wasting the opportunity to fight off the invasion.

He was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his contributions to the war. Oh yeah, he was also awarded an Iron Cross from the Nazis that Hitler had to personally authorize.”

Another responded, “Probably the most unique medal case on a mantle in history.”

10. The Ghost Army

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Now, let’s talk about the Ghost Army!

Someone wrote, “The ghost army of WW2 is a good example that you might find interesting. The Allies used inflatable tanks to fool Hitler and cause him to move his forces around to aid in DDay and the recapture of Europe.”

Someone else shared, “One of the most light-hearted things of WW2 imo. Imagine this dumb a** being fooled by inflatable tanks on the English Coast. Another personal favorite fun fact of mine is that they took down basically all the street signs in Southern England, so even if the Germans landed, they wouldn’t know how to get to London.”

11. D-day

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A person commented, “We misled the Nazis into believing that D-Day would happen in Pas De Calais, so they focused most of their force there. In reality, we hit the beaches of Normandy instead while the Nazis had their pants down.”

Someone else stated, “Even still, it was an uphill battle with significant casualties. Imagine trying to take the beach with the force ready and waiting for you.”

D-Day at Normandy marked a turning point in World War II. It was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany’s reign of terror. The Allies had successfully pulled off an invasion, changing the course of history and setting the stage for the liberation of Europe.

12. The Empty Fort

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Now, this is the legendary story of Wen Ping and the Empty Fort Strategy. It’s a tale of cunning wits that originated from ancient Chinese history.

One commenter wrote, “Right, I was looking for the one in Asia or something where an army approaches like a town or something but are confused when they see the Lord like drinking tea outside, and they think of no this guy must be set with protection if he’s out here chilling. But he actually had like no men at the time.”

Someone said, “I was literally thinking of this one. It was Wen Ping. He had everyone hide, which made Sun Quan suspicious. Expecting a trick, he withdrew. There was a fictional version in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Zhuge Liang sat on a platform playing his guitar. Sima Yi left since he knew Zhuge Liang was a general who took risks, so he assumed there was an ambush waiting.”

13. Beauty Products

Closeup portrait of beautiful girl putting on red lipstick.
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We live in a world where flawless skin, luscious hair, and a radiant glow are held up as the epitome of beauty. And the beauty industry knows just how to capitalize on our desire to achieve that perfection. They parade shelves upon shelves of products, each one claiming to be the holy grail of beauty. But do they really live up to the hype?

A Redditor said, “You are not beautiful. But you could be with this product.”

Another added, “Yeah, advertising might be the best deception ever. Let’s get people to believe they are not good without this thing.”

14. Fats

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Someone commented, “Fat will make you fat. Eating that full of sugar premade meal won’t.”

Another said, “Another lie is: carbs make you fat. No, too many calories do. I eat 80% carbs, weigh 150 lbs at 5’9.5”, and have around 10% body fat.”

So, the bottom line is that carbs alone don’t make you fat. The overall balance of your diet and calorie intake determines your weight.

15. Greenland

Picturesque village on coast of Greenland - Colorful houses in Tasiilaq, East Greenland
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So, picture this: Greenland, an icy landmass situated way up north, with a name that suggests green meadows and forests. But guess what? It’s not exactly the Garden of Eden. In fact, it’s mostly covered in ice and snow. Talk about false advertising, right?

Someone commented, “Indeed. The reason for the naming actually is that the Viking chief wanted to attract settlers, so he gave it a wildly inaccurate but promising name to lure people in. The name really was supposed to be false advertising.”

16. Diamonds

Beauty Fashion Glamour Girl Portrait over Black
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So, diamonds. They’re considered the ultimate symbol of wealth, love, and all things sparkly. But here’s the thing: diamonds aren’t as rare or valuable as we’ve been led to believe!

One user wrote, “That diamonds are valuable.”

Another replied, “This is one of my big ones. Diamonds are completely artificially propped up in value by one company, DeBeers. Their value in commercial use is good, but as a pretty gemstone, it’s basically all a sham.”

17. Good Grades

Expressive Young Woman Holding Diploma in Cap and Gown
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So, we’ve all grown up hearing that scoring well is the key to success. You know the drill: get good grades, ace those exams, and unlock a world of opportunities and happiness. But is it really that simple?

As one Redditor says, “Just get good marks in high school. Once you go to a top-tier college, your life is practically set and sorted.”

Another person replied, “This absolutely applies……in the year 1962.”

18. McDonald’s

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A Redditor wrote, “Mcdonalds’ lied and spread false information about that lady launching a ‘frivolous’ lawsuit against them just to get rich after she burned herself with their scalding hot coffee. The lie was so successful people to this day believe the lady was looking to make a quick buck.”

A Reddit user also commented, “That lady got the meanest deal ever. She is synonymous with frivolous lawsuits to this day and was absolutely in the right and deserved compensation. Her injuries were extensive, and the temperature that coffee was served at was 100% dangerous to consume or, in this case, have it spilled on you. In the beginning, she was only asking for Mcdonalds’ to cover her medical expenses, so this lawsuit was exactly the opposite of frivolous.”

This incident actually led to changes in the way McDonald’s serves coffee. They started putting warning labels on their cups and adjusted the temperature to avoid any sizzling incidents!

19. Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein Portrait from Iraq Banknotes.
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One user stated, “Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, I swear to god.”

Someone else added, “To be fair, Saddam intentionally acted suspicious about whether he has WMDs. He kept messing with UN inspectors who came to check for WMDs, for example. His denials of heading WMDs might as well have a wink at the end. He figured they could bluff their way out of conflict.”

Long story short, after several inspections, it turned out that the evidence of these WMDs was a bit lacking. Like searching for a needle in a haystack and coming up empty-handed!

20. Opioids

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Someone said, “”Here. Take this opioid. Our technicians swear it is not addictive.” ~ Big Pharma.”

A Reddit user wrote, “Funny is that some people who need pain medicine are not getting it. I had Tylenol for a hysterectomy…. Yeah, 10/10 don’t recommend.”

While opioids help manage pain, they can be highly addictive, so avoid them whenever you can!

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.