14 Scams That Have Persisted Over Time and Continue to Fool Us


Have you ever been scammed out of money or goods in a way that seemed so fool-proof, you had no idea until too late?

Chances are the answer is ‘yes,’ as scams and frauds have been around since ancient times.

From fake Greek gods promising riches to modern-day email phishing schemes; individuals seeking easy money have come up with various methods for fleecing others.

We’ll explore 14 such scams that have persisted over time and continue to catch unsuspecting victims off guard.

We will detail how they work and give tips on how best to protect yourself against these scams should you encounter one.

Let’s take a look forward if you’re interested in learning about the alluring lures used by con artists today!

#1. Overdue Utility Bills

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The more official something sounds, the easier for certain vulnerable groups to fall for the scam.

As such, scammers have begun to say things like people owe them money in utility bills.

The funny part? Some try to make it more official by saying that they need to pay directly in cash.

But this may not always work. Other scammers will ask for the money in gift cards, and people will pay it!

#2. NFTs

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In 2021, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have become the latest craze.

But while they may seem like a legitimate way to invest in digital assets, the fact is many of these tokens are scams.

The problem with NFTs is that they’re unregulated and not backed by any physical asset, which makes them ripe for scammers.

The most common way to scam investors is by creating fake NFTs that are supposedly backed by a physical asset but don’t actually exist.

Scammers will then lure investors with promises of high returns and disappear with their money once they’ve been paid.

#3. Digital Blackmail

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Being hacked can be a real issue. This is especially true in the digital age, where malware like ransomware will lock and delete your files unless you send a specific amount in cryptocurrency to the malicious party.

However, not all threats have any meat to them. Some scammers will claim they have personal files or even photos and recordings of you that they will send to everyone in your contact list unless you send them money.

Chances are that these threats are empty, but that doesn’t stop everyone from refusing to fall for this common scam!

#4. Giving Money to Evangelists

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No matter where you stand on religion, most would agree that the tax-free money going into the pockets of TV preachers is often ridiculous.

People are often scammed out of their funds because they believe that giving money to these individuals will bring great fortune to them over time.

Unfortunately, the money rarely goes to the causes that are important to people, and they become disillusioned when those funds don’t make their way back to them.

One person summarized it perfectly: “I can live with giving money to a small church who does good things with it and where you are part of the community, but giving to a megachurch is silly. There are plenty of people for that who give out of obligation.”

#5. Calls and Emails From the IRS

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If you’ve been filing your taxes for a while, you know that the IRS only communicates through official mail.

However, some people know that the IRS can be scary, and calls from scammers can be equally so.

This is why, even though it makes no sense, some people will pay out money to scammers pretending to be from the IRS without giving it much thought as to why they never received an official letter about the matter at hand.

#6. Car Extended Warranties

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I’m not sure when this scam started, but it is all over the place.

The majority of spam calls people get these days is about buying an extended warranty.

What is sad is there are some reputable companies out there offering warranties, but no one trusts them.

It also doesn’t help that car dealers do a hard sell on this product either.

#7. Miracle Diets

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The commercials are all over the place. Take this pill or drink this liquid and you’ll lose 15 pounds in 5 days.

No matter how many times people are warned about this scam, they still fall for it.

If you need to lose a lot of weight in a few days, one person has a solution for you. “I lost 20 pounds in 10 days. The diet is called a very aggressive stomach flu. You can’t keep anything down and you crap your brains out.”

#8. Bailing Someone Out of Jail

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Hearing that a loved one is currently in jail can be terrifying, and the natural response is to look for ways to bail them out.

Unfortunately, this is a tactic that some scammers will employ to get certain groups to send money to make tens of thousands of dollars quickly and easily.

One person talked about their own experience with this. “As a teller manager, I have had a few elderly people who actually believe their grandkids are in jail and need to take out 20k out of their accounts in cash, in order to bail them out. I tell them they are falling for a scam, and to call their grandkids in front of me. Of course, the kid then answers. Their hearts are in the right place, but they need to think before they take large amounts like that, but also if they gave the scammers their personal addresses.”

#9. MLMs

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While MLMs sometimes give you a product in return for the money you spend, they have the reputation they do because the products are often overpriced, don’t deliver the actual effects they said they would, or are just downright dangerous due to their ingredient list.

One person referenced a specific type of MLM. “There are two scams involving essential oils, first is the MLM, where you recruit people to sell overpriced crap to other people. The other is the idea that essential oils are a replacement for health care, people suggesting treating cancer and all sorts with oils instead of medicine.”

#10. Cultivating Social Media Engagement With Reposts

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Not all scams are necessarily malicious.

Do you remember the days when there would be various social media posts asking you to repost for a certain cause or telling you that social media would do something terrible if you didn’t repost something?

This was a common scam that others would use to increase their social media engagement.

It wasn’t an evil scam but something people would fall for regardless.

#11. Subscription Programs

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If you engage anywhere with the entrepreneurial space, you’re inevitably going to get ads where people are trying to sell you stuff so that you can turn around and sell stuff.

While there are great teachers out there, many people have discovered that these courses and consulting products that often cost thousands of dollars only cover the bare minimum.

You’re not getting anything more than you could research on the web on your own for free.

However, because people are often desperate to make a little extra money without putting in a ton of effort, they’re willing to spend money despite the fair amount of warnings floating around on the web.

While these are less prominent, people will still fall for these scams.

#12. Just Saying Hello

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Another way scammers are using technology to target unsuspecting victims is by recording their voices.

Since voice recognition technology has become so advanced, it’s easier now than ever for scammers to use your own words against you.

Scammers will record a person’s voice and use it as “proof” that they agreed to a transaction or even to access their funds.

#13. Send Love, With Money

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This is one of the most common scams we see on social media. 

A person from another country will befriend you and then ask for money to help with some kind of emergency. 

Whether it’s a medical issue, living expenses, or something else, they will always try to talk you into giving them money.

Of course, this is all a lie, and they will disappear once you send them the money.

Unfortunately, many people fall for this scam every day because of the trust factor involved in online relationships.

#14. Fake Invoice Scams

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Another common scam is fake invoice scams.

This type of scam involves someone sending you a fraudulent invoice for goods or services that you never ordered.

The invoices are usually for high-priced items and the scammers will threaten legal action if you don’t pay up quickly.

These criminals use tactics such as making it seem like the invoice is from an official source, or using a convincing company logo.

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This thread inspired this article.

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