19 Scams That Are Totally Obvious but People Still Fall For

Despite being completely obvious, there are still some cons and scams out there that people continue to fall for. From “get rich quick” schemes to online dating scams, these common scams seem to have a never-ending stream of unsuspecting victims.

19 Scams People Still Fall For

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In this article, we’ll take a look at 18 totally obvious scams that people still fall for and how to recognize them before you are conned. So, read on and arm yourself with the knowledge to avoid being the next victim.

Related: The Big Scam: 18 Things That Are Actually Just One Giant Rip-Off 

Totally Obvious Scams

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Someone asked, What totally obvious scam do people still fall for? and the answers were eye-opening.

These are some of the top responses.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity. 

Scam Emails

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Someone wrote, “Scam emails. “Send me this much money so I can free my funds and pay you back 10x!”

Unfortunately, they had a personal experience with this scam. They continued, “My father fell for this in 2013 -_- We had to get the RCMP involved to get him his money back. No, they weren’t on horses =< That’s just ceremonial. Otherwise, they’re just federal cops.”

Bidding Websites

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One person responded, “The websites that let you bid on expensive {stuff} for cheap prices. Madbids, for example. You can bid on a camera for as little as a dollar but in reality, you always be outbidded by a bot. Until you spend money on the autobid credits that let’s you automatically outbid the bot. You might end up paying 50 dollars for a 200 dollar camera but you would’ve paid 180 dollars in autobidding credits as well.”

Gift Cards as Payment

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“Anything where the government is asking for gift cards as payment,” one person wrote. Another added, “Anything where anyone is asking for gift cards, really. Especially your “boss.””

Send Money

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One person shared, “Unfortunately, this actually happened at my job yesterday.”

They continued, “This is your boss, yes, I’m calling you from a phone that you don’t have saved in your contacts. I need you to buy $1,000 in iTunes gift cards and send me photos of the codes through text.”

Anti-Virus Software

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Someone replied, “Your computer is infected with 7 viruss. Click here to install imediately an anti-virus and protecc your computer!”

They later added, “Edit: added spelling/grammar errors in the scam, as some users pointed out.”

IRS Scams

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When the IRS calls you and asks you for money, according to the IRS, “The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail and will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text, or social media regarding a bill or tax refund.”

Someone wrote, “This is it right here. I’ve been audited twice, both times because the IRS screwed up, and said I owed more than I paid in taxes. They send a letter first giving you a case number, explanation of what they found, what you owe, and what the penalties are and will be going forward. Complete with dates for when payment is due. They leave a phone number for you to call, you give them the case number on the paperwork the mailed you, and then an agent is assigned to your case.”

Related: IRS Sounds the Alarm on Sneaky New Scam – Here’s What You Need To Know

Free Csgo Skins

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One person wrote, “Free Csgo skins website! Ppl enter their steam account details and end up losing their account as pishers use stolen accounts to cheat in games.”

Another answered, “Lol I actually fell for this somehow, ended up getting my account back without any items gone as there was a 15 day cooldown because they changed email and mobile authenticator of me.”

Deployed Soldier Scam

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One person replied with a sad story, “Had a friend of mine fall for the deployed soldier scam… She payed $8000 in court martial fines for this person because they lost their primary weapon. Then came the gold scam, there was a package with stolen Iraqi gold that was being held at the border and she could get it all taken care of for $22000 or go to jail.”

Data Mining

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One person answered,  “Making lists of personal information and posting it on a Facebook wall for data mining. They post massive lists with hundreds of entries sometimes! Favorite color, Mothers maiden name, High school, First car, Etc.”

Another person said, “I just told my sister to stop this. She posted our childhood phone # which I know for a fact she uses the last 4 digits for passcodes that requires 4 digits.”


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“Desperation to escape loneliness can cause the brain to play awful tricks on itself.” someone wrote.

Someone added, “I can understand emotional catfishing. Cause what reason do you have not to trust the person, it’s not like they’re asking for anything? The money kind however… Saw a woman on some show who was so sad cause she got catfished and her daughter trying not to roll her eyes after having tried to tell her for so long.”


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Someone wrote, “Sister-in-law only communicates with the rest of the family when she’s having a Pampered Chef or Avon party or gets a new catalog.”

“I used to follow someone on Instagram whose entire feed was Arbonne products and I seriously cannot believe that these people sell enough to make a living off of that,” someone wrote.

Another answered succinctly, “They don’t.”

Bail Out of Jail

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“My grandma almost fell for this as well. She got a phone call saying “hey grandma, it’s your grandson. I’m in jail, and I need $2,000 in iTunes cards for my bail.” She thought it was my brother (I guess whoever the {scammer} was sounded like him) and she went out to transfer money at her bank,” someone said.

They continued, “The bank teller asked her out of curiosity what she needed that much money for and she told her. The bank teller was a younger woman and realized what was happened and called my mom. My mom stopped her from going through with it and even made my brother call her and assure her he did not get arrested.”


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One person wrote, “Televangelists. I was raised in the cult and even I don’t get it.” Another added, “Jim Bakker was convicted of fraud, served prison time, and people still send him money.”

Phishing Emails

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One person responded, “I got one the last week I was in the office before we closed for the month. Pretending to be my boss who was requesting me to buy several eBay cards for some of the staff. I had a good time emailing back and forth with the guy and stringing him along for about an hour and a half. We literally have 9 employees in the whole company. All of whom I can talk to just by raising my voice loud enough to be heard down the hallway. Additionally, I am the one in charge of birthdays and holiday office gifts. I don’t think my boss even knows when our birthdays and staff appreciation days are…….lol.”


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Someone shared a story, “They used to have them on TV late at night where people would call in (maybe they still do). This woman called (1€ per minute) to ask if a certain man would come back. Our helpful scammer psychic told her yes, ofc, maybe in 6 months? The caller was ecstatic at first, but then had to ask if she was sure. It’d been 16 years since the dude left. That’s when I stopped laughing. The TV {person} then advised her to call an off screen number where she’s get better advice. That number is 10€ per minute. That’s when I cried.”


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Someone wrote, “I know several people who think they’re good at roulette. Now don’t get me wrong, casinos can be fun, so I’m not against them, but you are always gonna lose money in the long run. Far too many people think a lucky night makes them something special.”

$4 or 5 for 20

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One person shared something a little more lighthearted, “Not really a scam but back when Girl Scout cookies cost $4 a box we would always tell people “It’s $4 a box or 5 for 20!” And sooooo many people would decide to buy five based off of that. Didn’t work nearly as well once they became $5 to say “4 for 20”, somehow people do the math a lot easier that way. And yes people really truly assumed this was a savings. A few times people even said “nah I’ll pay full price I don’t need a deal” and we were like lol you already were (Btw every Girl Scout council prices their cookies differently if you’re confused by those prices)

Like and Share

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“Target is giving away $100 gift cards to everyone who shares this post. Like and share!!!” one person wrote, “Thing is, I know people who are my age sharing this obvious scam. I totally don’t get how they even think remotely for one second that it is real. Additionally, why are these things made, anyway? Just so the person who made it can sit back and think how stupid people are?”


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“Organic. It’s twice as expensive as nonorganic but provides the exact same nutritional benefits (assuming the food itself has benefits),” someone wrote.

Another person added, “Organic food standards were created to be better for the environment, not healthier, but organic foods have been enthusiastically promoted by health enthusiasts, so that’s what they’re most associated with. It’s not even good for the environment, though, because it is concerned with the process, not the result.”

Totally Obvious Scams

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I hope you enjoyed (or hated) reading about these totally obvious scams that people still fall for!

This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.

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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.