People share their most outrageous “I almost got scammed” stories. From fake companies to blank checks, frauds nowadays are appearing more and more realistic, thankfully, they did not fool these individuals who quickly caught on.
Source list available at the end.
About a decade ago, I was asked to apply for a manager position at a perfume company. I was already working as a manager in the furniture business, so I went to the interview just to see what it was about.
I got there, and it was one of those group interviews with about a dozen other people. The presenter got up and told us about this amazing opportunity to sell perfume, but then she specifically told us not to look them up on the internet because it was filled with filthy lies spread by people who couldn’t make it.
Google was very informative that night. It was my first time encountering a pyramid scheme.
I almost fell for a pyramid scheme when I was underage. They showed all of those vacation houses the 16-year-old me would get to buy with all of the money that I would make working for them. I knew something was wrong when the guy couldn’t even explain what the job was. He straight up didn’t say what it was about, just that I had to bring other people in, and then ask them for like $700 to start. I was also supposed to get a fake account where my age was over 18. Got out of there right away.
I met a guy at a friend’s cookout, and we started talking. I mentioned that, in the future, I would like to start my own business. Fast forward a few weeks, he introduces me to his “mentor” and they give me a “Rich Dad Poor Dad” speech, and I’m thinking the same thing like, “Ehh, I’ll give them a chance and see what they have to say.” None of them explained what the job was about or how to make money. All they told me was that this elusive man in North Carolina had a three-story house with tons of cars, and he was their “friend/boss.” I told them, “No thanks.” I’m starting a new job and don’t have the time.
I got drunk once after coming home from work, and one of those “We-can-save-you-money-on-your-electric-bill” people came up to my door. They’re quite common in NYC.
I answered it and wanted so badly not to appear drunk that all I did was a lot of nodding and said, “Sure, that makes a lot of sense.” I ended up signing up for whatever it was he was pushing. I remember giving him a copy of my electric bill.
When I sobered up and thought about how happy I was going to be now that I was saving money, I suddenly realized, “Oh no… this can’t be.” I quickly googled it, found out that it was a scam, and called my electric company to prevent any changes from being made to my account.
So, I’ve been trying to sell a couch on Craigslist. I’ve posted it about it three times and still received no response. Finally, on the fourth attempt, a guy inquires about it. I tell him that it’s still for sale, and he informs me that he’s going to mail me a check for more than the amount of the couch. All I need to do is deduct my funds, then wire the rest of the money via Western Union to the movers who will come and pick it up. Sounds shady, right? But whatever, I have no one else who’s interested. I tell him to just send me my check. Once it clears, I’ll call him and he can come get the couch. He then says that per the U.S. Shippers policy, the moving funds have to be sent by the seller or something like that. I, then, ignore him for three days. Meanwhile, he’s still texting me saying, “I’m about to send the check, look out for it. I’ve sent it, the check is coming. Here’s a tracking number…”
Then, a couple days later, the check comes. I open it up, and it’s for $1700. What the fuck? Nothing makes sense? He’s going to pay the movers $1300 for a $400 couch? No way, this is ridiculous. All I wanted to do was sell a couch. So, I texted him, “Hey man, I got the check. Can you please call me?” His response is, “Deposit the check ASAP. Proceed to the bank, and deposit the check immediately.”
Well, after a quick google search on Craigslist scams. I realize that I should’ve done this earlier, I find out that this is a very common scam. The check is fake, and by the time the bank would catch on to this, he would already have his money wired to him while I would be the one getting stuck having to pay the whole $1700. Not only does this guy suck, but he’s also unoriginal. I let him know that the police have the check now, and he quit contacting me.
P.S. Does anybody want to buy a couch?
I had a coworker at an old job who had a bit of an issue with prescription painkillers. She was at least twice the age of anyone else who worked there and would try to be sly and ask all of the young folk if they knew where she could score some Vicodin or Percocet. After being rebuffed, she apparently went the online pharmacy route and was able to buy some sketchy pills. She later received a threatening phone call from someone purportedly from the DEA. This so-called “DEA agent” said she had been tracked in some way, and they were going to arrest her unless she paid a $5000 fine using Visa-brand gift cards. The worst part is, she actually paid it and only realized the scam when she came into work crying and asking for an advance on her paycheck to cover rent/bills and described the situation (in private) to our boss.
When selling my first motorcycle on Craigslist, I ran across a scam. Immediately, I googled it and found out that it was definitely a scam and waste of my time, but I figured, “What the hell, let’s just mess with this.”
They asked what the clearly listed price was again for the bike. I responded by saying, “Due to an extremely high demand, I’ve risen the price from $650 to $96,000.”
Within a few days, I received a total of twelve $8k ‘cashiers checks’ through the mail. That’s when I knew this guy was legit, so I deposited the checks and… hahaha just kidding! I told him to screw off and laminated them for god-knows-what reason.
My dad once got a scratch ticket in the mail. On the back was all of this fancy fine print, so he assumed it was legit. He was also a foreigner, so he didn’t bother trying to read any it. He scratched it, got three cherries, and had apparently “won” a trip to Hawaii. The thing is, he didn’t want a trip to Hawaii, so he tried to give it to his coworkers. One of them said it looked suspicious. He scratched off all of the boxes and turns out they were all cherries. I’m not entirely sure how the rest of the scam works though.
I was looking for a job and got “hired” as a car salesman. They told me that the orientation was Monday. I show up. This guy drives up in a Ferrari and hops out wearing a nice suit. Turns out, he’s the one in charge of our orientation.
This guy’s one of the best motivational speakers I’ve ever seen. It felt like I could fistfight a bull after the fours hours he spent working us up about how amazing this job is, and how our lives would be changing forever. As he was sending us to lunch, he told us that to get started we only needed $500. I started laughing and walked out.
I occasionally used to look for trailers that were on sale on Craigslist. The person texted me back and told me I had to send them a code that would be sent to my phone, so this way they would know I was not a bot. I thought for a while and couldn’t figure out how I could get scammed by this, so I sent it. They didn’t text me back for awhile. I looked online, and it was a scam. I don’t know how I never figured it out, but everyone claimed that it was a scam.
I texted the person back, said my husband worked for the Los Angeles branch of the FBI, and their phone number along with their original posting and IP address would be sent to him. Then, I said good luck. They texted me like seven times saying, “Sorry and that there was no need for the authorities to get involved. My info would be deleted blah blah blah.” My first clue should have been the nice trailer for only $100. Since I was poor and wanted to start a business, I was originally so stoked to see something that cheap.
A friend of mine in University, who was a little dumb, woke me up and told me that he needed my help. He dragged me outside to this van where some dodgy looking guys had these really nice looking speakers. I mean real high-end glossy speakers.
They had a “speaker magazine” with a column featuring the same goddamn speakers. Long story short, they wanted a few hundred for them because of whatever dumb reason they made up. They couldn’t deliver them or take them back, so they wanted a quick sale. They hooked them up to the van stereo to prove that they worked, etc.
I told them all to chill out for a moment, my friend included, and did a quick Google on my laptop. Low and behold, the same yellow speakers were on this scam-warning site.
I quickly ran out and told Matt (my dumb roommate) to get inside and told them nice try. Never got a pint or a thank you out of it.
One time, around 8 or 9 years ago, my family and I were at an airport going to Saudi Arabia (Hajj). A woman approached us and made good friends with my mom. She noticed how my dad was a skeptical person and my mom was welcoming. So, she avoided him and made good friends with her instead. At the end, she said she couldn’t carry all of her luggage and wanted us to carry one of her bags. My dad noticed that something was off when he saw how she had no other luggage on her. He basically said he wasn’t going to carry her luggage. I’m glad we never took it because we heard a story about a person in Saudi Arabia who had been beaten and imprisoned for getting caught with drugs in their luggage. I doubt it was the same person, but I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if that was the case.
The woman I thought I married never divorced her first husband. I got out of it without any legal issues, and I did get most of my $95,000 which she had stole from my company back.
Pro Painters. I liked working outside and having a lucrative summer job sounded like a good way to ensure that I didn’t have a lot of student loan debt. I was 19 at the time.
Anyway, I did some research, and I found out that it was really difficult to come out ahead because you, first and foremost, had to buy the equipment. Also, if you back out after “training,” you’re on the hook for the $2000 (which was the bill for said”training”).
A buddy of mine did it and came out ahead with $2000 for a summer of 70-hour work weeks. He bought his own equipment, so he also painted houses independently to make some side cash. He said it was the worst nightmare of a summer he’s ever had.
Nutrition supplement company. After a week of “coaching” phone calls, I realized what a scam it really was. When I spoke to someone who was on a much higher level all she could say was, “You would be so good at convincing people to do this.” She was right. I could have absolutely talked people into it, but that would have made me a terrible person. I cut my losses and kissed my money goodbye.
I had a motorcycle for sale on Craigslist. I got an email from a guy, and he wanted to pay my asking price without even seeing the cycle. He was living far away and wanted me to ship it to him with the “extra” money that he was sending. It took me a day to call him a scammer and stop bothering me.
The Nigerian Prince scam. This guy hasn’t even repaid me the $3 via. Paypal yet. I got out of the second scam by googling “Nigerian prince.”
Years ago, I got a ransomware thing that locked up my computer completely and appeared to be very realistically done by the police. I knew I hadn’t looked at anything bad (as the frozen screen would have implied). I took the computer to the shop to get it repaired. Thankfully, the nice technician laughed and said he’s had a tone of guys walk in and swear they had never been on any dodgy sites. However, when that screen came up saying computer seized by police, I ran through every site I had ever visited!
Back in the day, I was plastering my resume around, and as luck would have it, a recruiting company called. They wanted me to come in for an interview. I went in and had a nice time reviewing my skills and what kind of a job I might like. Afterward, they wanted me to come back and bring my spouse before they could take me on. I returned the next week and it went better. I thought we made a great team but then came the stunner. The company required that I, the job seeker, pay them to pursue opportunities for me. It was around like $6k. We asked for a few minutes to talk.
“This is a scam, right?”
“Yeah, it’s a scam. Damn, I really was hoping for a job.”
We just walked out.
A few months ago, I was in the parking lot of a gas station with my wife and this woman was parked with her kid in the back. She told us that she had no money and needed to get back home, so she asked us if we could spare her any change for gas. I said, “I don’t have any cash” but my wife gave her $6. She immediately drove away to another parking lot as we walked back to the car.
I don’t know what came over me, but being scammed like that really pissed me off. I drive up to where she had now stopped in an adjoining parking lot trying to scam some other guy out of his money and demanded my $6 back. She, of course, started cussing at me, but I refused to stand down. “Give me back my $6!” I said. She went on nagging as she handed me back my money. We bought the homeless guy behind the store a sandwich and beer with it instead.
At the beginning of every semester at my college, some students go around handing out small forms to fill out for a summer business internship. They are asked for five friend’s names as well. I already thought it was a little sketch, but I figured they most likely used seasonal college students like the Halloween stores nearby.
I went to the interview, and it was a group of us. They told us about the exciting product we would be selling. Textbook sets for middle school students. They even made it like a camp where we would all go to some other city, stay in a cabin all summer, and just go around selling textbooks to parents who thought their middle schoolers needed a $1000 homework helper.
Every semester after that, I made sure to speak up when they would come into my classes and told everyone that it was a multi-marketing scheme.
I almost fell for a fake job offer scam because they sent it to my university email. They said that they got my email from the university, but I had never given that email address out to anyone. I gave them my personal email, full name, address, and cellphone number. I knew it was a scam because, right after I sent them my information, they immediately gave me the “job.”
LulaRoe. I googled it first and then felt sorry for my friends.
I panicked while subscribing to cable over the phone one time. I politely asked the nice man to delete my info then stammered and hung up on myself mid-sentence. So, maybe it did happen to me?
I’ve always been a half decent writer and thought it would be pretty interesting to write for a magazine that belonged to “a large resource company.” I got an appointment with the editor of a forestry company’s magazine who confirmed that they kept a list of stringers they went to when they needed a story written up. She and her assistant looked at my volume of letters-to-the-editor of the city’s main paper, at a couple of newsletters I had edited (and largely wrote), plus a few other things and reacted enthusiastically. “Well,” said the editor, “Perhaps we could try you out on a couple of stories, and we’ll see how it works out.” I was over the moon at a chance to write for money and told her I looked forward to hearing from her.
After a month, without a word from the editor, I called her up wondering why I hadn’t heard anything. “We don’t just hand out stories to ANYONE off of the street!!” she huffed. I was so taken aback that I muttered something about misunderstanding and hung up. It was as if I’d never been there at all.
This was a website scam.
I was really desperate for work at the time, so I was trying to get things going on ****.com. Well, I finally got a job offer to nanny for a woman whose son was disabled and in a wheelchair. I started emailing her to get some details. They were moving from the east coast to Arizona. The woman told me this tragic story of how she got into a car accident a couple of years ago that killed her 18-month-old son and left her 9-year-old son wheelchair bound. She even sent me a picture of a woman, and a boy in a wheelchair. Also, she claimed that she was deaf.
I’ve dealt with people in the medical community my whole life since I was born with a life-threatening chronic illness so her super tragic story didn’t really seem that odd to me.
Anyway, I kept in contact with her via. email, and she asked me to take care of the payment for and accept the delivery of a new powered wheelchair for her son ($2,500). The woman said she would mail me a check, and I had to withdraw the money to handle the wheelchair payment.
At this point, I was thinking that the whole thing was kind of shady. But back then, I was a lot more trusting and just went with it.
So the check came, and I deposited it into my bank account. I let the woman know that it had been deposited. She immediately started telling me to withdraw the money. I let her know I couldn’t withdraw that much cash at once. She then told me to go to Wal-Mart and do MoneyGrams and gift cards. At this point, I was getting really suspicious. I told her I wasn’t doing anything until the check cleared. She kept insisting that it needed to be done now.
Yeah, the check never cleared. As soon as I let her know that, I never heard from her again.
I realized later the “woman” probably wasn’t a woman at all. She claimed to be deaf so she wouldn’t have to talk on the phone. The disabled son didn’t exist. The picture was a random picture they found online.
Posts are edited for clarity.