Whether we like it or not, we all have our gullible moments sometimes. Other times, some people outsmart us to take advantage. Either way, the tricks usually don’t change, just the context around it changes—that’s why they call it “falling for the oldest trick”. These are some stories where people lose their money, their dignity, or their will to live because of a teeny tiny mistake.
1. Watch Your Back
When my dad was a kid, he got a new watch as his birthday gift. This was very special to him because most kids didn't have any wristwatches during that day, so he was the coolest kid. One day he is walking home, and this businessman-looking guy approaches him and asks my dad if he knew where “so-and-so street” was.
My dad points in the direction, but he says he is in a rush and needs to deliver this envelope. He then asks my dad for a peculiar favor—he asked him if he could possibly lead him to the street. My naive dad agrees, as the guy looked proper, and once in front of the building the businessman asks, "Could you please run up the stairs and deliver this envelope on the 2nd floor?"
He makes up some excuse for why he can’t do it himself. As my dad agrees, the businessman says, "But this envelope is very important, so I need to hold on to your watch as collateral". My dad does this, and when he came back downstairs the man was gone. Who steals a watch from a child?
2. I Got Lucky
In the late 50s in a small village in Chile, my dad was playing outside his house on his brand-new roller-skates. A group of gypsies had recently arrived and set up an encampment just outside of town. One of them saw my dad roller-skating around and asked him if he could try on his skates. He innocently agreed and the gypsy skated away down the street.
As he got further my dad noticed he wasn't turning around and as he disappeared around the corner, my dad began to realize that he was never coming back and that his roller skates were gone forever.
Crushed, he ran inside to his grandma, hoping that there was something she could do. She scolded him for being so naive and said it was his own fault for being so stupid and trusting. He went back outside, sat on the front steps, and cried incessantly.
A little while later, while he was still crying on the steps, the gypsy re-emerged with a grin on his face, a bag of milk and bread in his hands, and the skates still on his feet. He handed the skates back to my dad, said, "Thanks, kid" and walked back to his campsite with his groceries.
3. Parent Trap
When I was a teenager, my parents always shouted at me for leaving my bike in the yard. They'd tell me it would get stolen one day and we were too poor to just give stuff like that away. Living in a quiet village in the middle of nowhere I didn't believe it.
One day having used my bike, I left it in the yard thinking nothing of it. Two hours later, my mother is screaming at me because my bike is gone. I was of course devastated and crying about how sorry. I was the got grounded for three weeks.
Anyway, four years later when I was getting ready to move out, I helped clear out the old allotment and there I find my bike locked up in the old shed. My parents left it there... For four years…
4. Fool Me Once
Last year while attending college I stopped at a store one night to stock up on drinks for the night. While I was walking a woman in a beat-up old green car called out to me and asked me to come over to her.
Then she looked like she was on the verge of crying and gave me a sad story about how she was 20 minutes away from home and she ran out of gas but didn’t have enough money to make it back.
It was close to Christmas so being the fool I am, I handed her all of what I had in my wallet—about $8 or so. I said, "Merry Christmas" and turned around and left... She didn’t even say thank you... A little fishy, but I just shrugged it off. That was a big mistake.
Fast forward a year later... I was at the same store grabbing; you guessed it, more drinks for the night with some friends when the same woman in the same green car pulled up by us. She gave us the exact same story and asked for a few bucks.
So, I told my friends that it was a play and gave her a dirty look. On our way out, I watched her giving the same sad story to a couple of other people and I yelled "She's lying don’t listen to her!" They walked away and the woman, who apparently was out of gas, sped away and gave me the harshest stare I've ever gotten.
5. Gameboy King Dethroned
Quick backstory, my mom bought me my first videogame, a Gameboy, when I graduated Kindergarten. I was so happy, played it day and night.
There was this kid Jason at school who always brought in his Sega Game Gear, and at lunch, everyone would crowd around and watch him play Sonic. He only let a few people play, and I wasn't part of the cool group. I begged my mom to let me bring my Gameboy to school, but she never let me.
Fast forward a year or two. Jason is still king of the lunchroom, especially after having bought Hypersonic, with Knuckles! I had had enough.
One morning, I snuck my Gameboy with AC adapter and clip-on magnifying screen into my backpack and my mom dropped me off at school. Oh yeah, and it was loaded with Pokémon Red! Needless to say, everyone was at my table at lunchtime watching me catch 'em all.
So, after a day of being king of the lunchroom, I go to the public library like I did every day after school and waited for my mom to come pick me up. As I'm playing at a table, a kid comes up to me “Oh-ing and ah-ing”. He was a fellow nine-year-old like me.
He asks if he can play, I'm hesitant, but say yes. As soon as I handed it to him, he runs away. I am frozen. After giving him a ten-second head start I run downstairs, only to see him on the other side of a highway running back to the projects.
Cue the most intense crying of my life. The kind where you breathe in hiccups. Then my mom comes to pick me up at 6 pm. She... was not happy.
6. No Fake ID’s For Us
Back in high school, my friend and I decided that during our visit to New York, we'd get some fake IDs. As soon as we got out of the subway, we were approached by this guy about fake IDs. We thought were just really lucky.
Then, he took us to a McDonald’s. He asked for our names, height...Then, he gave us this long story about how the officers are tightening up on fake IDs, and that he and his business partners had to be sure we weren't working with them... We were 16...
He took me outside; he told me to pay him first and that he was going to give the money to my friend sitting in McDonald’s. He goes in and tells my friend he's giving me the money. He takes me a couple of blocks away and stops at a store. He tells me that his friend is in the back of the store.
He goes in, and when he comes back, he tells me that he will be waiting outside the door to watch for the officers. He also tells me that I needed to give him my phone, so he knows I'm not calling them or have a bug. I gave it up without thinking during the excitement.
Halfway into the store, I realized I'd been played. I run outside; he is out of sight. I find my friend. We both realized what had happened. We spend the entire day in that area looking for the guy.
Funny note though, another guy approached us about fake IDs. He tries to run the same con. We followed him and saw him do it to some other teens. We run to one of them after they had been separated. We helped him find his friend before he gave him the phone, but the guy ran away with the money.
7. Don’t Trust The Beautiful Sad Girl
I was approached by a pretty girl on the university campus, who had such big, sad eyes and was apparently in terrible distress. She needed to get some money, otherwise, her evil landlord would throw her out and she would be on the street with her little child...
I don't know what kind of peculiar blackout this caused in my young, naive brain. But I went so far as retrieving some cash from the next ATM and giving it to her. She made it very important that I can trust her.
As we were standing before the ATM, she mockingly acted insulted. If I didn't trust her, she was going to leave here and now. And I didn't let her! I asked her to stay! The sheer amount of stupidity overwhelms me. Of course, it was all lies, she didn't return anything the very next week, and I never heard from her again.
But I did see her some months later, in a different location. However, my long-hedged plans on what I say to her if we ever met again were thwarted by two really mean-looking guys that accompanied her.
At that time, she looked not-so-needy and wore an expensive pearl necklace. I assume she was a professional who used her looks and her ability to tell some heartbreaking sad stories to collect cash for those guys.
I had waves of shame for the next couple of years whenever I remembered.
8. Are You Doing Everything People Say?
My friend and I were going to a baseball game, and as we were going to catch a taxi, we instantly froze in fear—two guys walked up to us and said, "Give me your money". We didn't hesitate, even though the guys weren't much bigger than us, and when he asked for our cell phones, we just gave them to him.
We tried explaining it to the officers, but they basically just said, if it ever happens again, just say no. Apparently, in the eyes of the law, those two gentlemen asked kindly for our money and phones, and being the nice guys we were, we gave them to them…
9. Okay, Let’s Go Somewhere Else
I was traveling in Vietnam when a very friendly young man struck up a conversation with my friends and me on the bus. Turned out he worked at the exact hostel we were going to! What a great coincidence!!
Unfortunately, after a few phone calls, he discovered that there were no rooms available in that hostel, but he could take us to the sister hostel, it's just around the corner, no worries...
I am ashamed of my own naïveté on that one!
10. Too Dumb To Be True
I worked at a hotel front desk when I was 17. I guess I was too trusting, and I am a very shy person, but a guy came in asking to exchange five $20 bills for a $100 bill.
It was a strange request, but I guess I didn't think anything of it. I gave him the 100, and he starts to walk away then turns around and says I only gave him a 10 and shows me the ten in his hand. I gave him another $100.
I cried at the end of the shift when I owed the hotel $90 and then I just stopped working there.
11. From The Perspective Of A Messer
I didn't fall for it, but I made someone else look stupid. One time in Sunday school, this was maybe first grade, during painting, I took the cup of water that you use to clean your brush in and pretended to take a sip and told the kid next to me it was chocolate milk.
He takes a huge gulp, turns a shade of green, and starts freaking out. The teacher tells him to go get some water and asks him why he drank it. As he's running away, he says in a sad voice "He told me to".
Still haunts me to this day, I'm going to have bad karma and I don't really like messing with people anymore.
12. Drawbacks Of A Tight-Knit Community
Not me, but my parents did. We come from a pretty tight neighborhood in India so when one of the families moved from there to the U.S., my parents decided to help them out.
They bought them a car in their name, helped them get their licenses, signed an apartment lease for them, and threw in on a small business to get them on their feet. They did it because we knew their family back home and basically out of the goodness of their heart. But then they pulled a total 180.
They ended up closing the shop and just ditching with the money. Last, we or their family back home heard they were in Nebraska, which is like 1500 miles from us. They ran off and left my parents about $55,000 in debt to cover up their mess.
13. What’s Up With The Gameboys?
So, 10-year-old me, at a festival my parents worked at. I was the most popular kid because I had a Gameboy, even though I was borrowing it from my sister. This kid I know, not really friends with, but we hang out sometimes, asks me if he could see the Gameboy.
I said "Sure" and taught him how to play, but he just pushed me off and told me he didn't need to know that. So, then my mom called me, so I went to see what's up. When I came back, I asked him where the Gameboy was. He told me, "Uh, my little sister, she, uh, took it from me, and uh, it broke, and we can't find all the, uh, pieces". I didn't realize I had been played until a month ago.
14. Yard Sale Bargain Gone Bad
He didn't get to me, but at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago a Hispanic guy tried to barter me down from $25 to $10 for a portable massage table. I tell him $20, firm. He says okay, and hands me a $10 and a $1 underneath it, placed just so it looks like two tens.
I take it and keep my other hand out, asking about the other $9. He then stared at me, smiling, acting like he didn't understand English anymore. After a staring contest, he finally took back the $11 and pretended like he thought I had said okay to that.
15. I Hate Subscriptions
Last year, a high school-aged kid showed up at my door and gave me a spiel about selling magazines to earn points for a school trip. He said if I bought the magazine subscription, I could immediately go online and cancel my order, but he would still get the points.
He seemed like a good kid and said that he almost had all the points he needed, so I cut him a check for an overpriced subscription.
Got online later, and the website was a joke. No actual way to correspond with the company, and absolutely no information. I read up on it and apparently sketchy people drive from town to town using troubled teenagers to sell bogus subscriptions.
16. It Took You More Than 15 Minutes, Lady!
I was seven years old traveling with my nine-year-old sister from Alaska to Tennessee to visit our aunt and uncle for the summer. We had a long layover somewhere along the way. Our parents had given us $100 each for food/spending money and we decided to go to a Ruby Tuesday in the terminal for lunch.
They were having some promotions and had a little sign with a stopwatch that said if it took more than 15 minutes for your food to reach your table from the time you ordered, your meal was free. My sister and I placed our order and started the timer, we were very excited and as the 15 minutes came close to running out, we even started to count down the last minute.
The time expires and the server brings our food a few minutes later and we triumphantly show the stopwatch, which was over 18-19 minutes by now. We tell her the meal is free now, right? She tells us that they use a timer in the kitchen and that it was less than 15 minutes, so we still have to pay.
Since she was an adult, we obviously and naively believe her. More than 25 years later, I’m still salty about it. If we had been adults, we definitely would’ve gotten a free meal that day.
17. Bus Buddies
In NYC about a month ago, I was headed for the Port Authority to find my bus terminal, I go to find food and this guy starts to follow me, who claims he is on the same bus we have small talk telling me a cheap place to get a quick meal which was Burger King, outside of Port Authority.
We go there and he asks if he can borrow money to get other things while my food was cooking, and I hand him the money and he says will pay me back on the bus. As the bill leaves my hand, I knew I wouldn't see him again.
18. Literally The Oldest Trick In The Book
One time, when I was about ten years old, my family and I went to the circus. It was my first time, and although in the intervening years, I've come to see circuses as dirty and cruel, at the time I was just awestruck with the sights of elephants, strong men, and so forth.
\We found our seats on the big top and watched the lion-tamers, the motorcycle man, dancing bears, and everything circuses are known for. It was the time of my life.
After the show, we were all looking at a lion in its cage, when I heard someone call me from behind. I turned around, and there was the conjurer from the sideshow, an old fellow, about 70 years, with a long, grey beard.
"Come here," he said. So, I went over to where he was standing.
He started telling me stories of the circus in its heyday—back then, he'd been a worker who traveled with the show, driving stakes and sweeping dung, and doing anything nobody else wanted to do until he discovered his talent for tricks and illusions.
Suddenly, he pointed a long, bony finger at me. Right at me. Poked me in the chest.
"There's something on your shirt", he said in a muted murmur.
I looked down to see what it might be when POW!
He flicked me in the nose. The oldest damned trick in the book.
19. Scene From A Horror Movie
Okay. I flew to Detroit to buy some equipment from a guy I met on Craigslist. He had it in his dad's garage. I got there, rented a U-Haul, and drove to the house. He was sitting out front in his truck. He jumped in my U-Haul and said the garage was around the alley.
Drove back behind the house and he and I got out. Next thing I know two other guys with scarves around their faces take my wallet and phone.
Then they lock me in the back of the U-Haul and drive me off. I thought they were going to take me somewhere quiet and kill me. They then stop and tell me to shut up as they walk away. So, I am quiet for a long while. All the time trying to figure out how to break out of the back of a U-Haul.
Then after a while, I shout out a few times. This ends with me shouting continually really loud until the officers are called. The first person on the scene is a news reporter.
20. Let Me See What You Got
I was little and was walking home from the store, carrying an ice cream cone. A couple of teenage guys came up to me and asked me what kind of ice cream I had and how much it cost. Then they asked to see it—and like a fool, I fell for it.
Of course, I didn't even think about it and handed the ice cream to the guy, who took off running, that person took away ice cream from a six-year-old.
21. A Piece Of Paper
I just moved to Dallas, Texas and two of my friends helped me move up there. After getting everything set up, I took my buddies to the bus station to catch a ride back to where they lived.
Across the street from the bus station is an empty parking lot. I pulled into the parking lot to park, and a man came up to my car and placed a slip of paper in my window and told me it was $10 to park. I opened my wallet and said, "I only got $20".
He took the money and said he would go get my change and be right back. He turned around and took off running. Turns out that slip of paper was a blank luggage tag, and the parking lot is free to park.
22. Trying To Impress The Waitress
While in high school my friends and I went to a fairly new bar in a seedier part of town. We chatted it up with our waitress and talked her into hanging out with us after work for some toking. We didn't have any material on us so we called a few guys, and no one could come through.
We decided to start asking people on the street. This dude says “Sure, give me the money and I'll run up to my apartment. When I'm up there I'll drop it out of the window”. He went in and we waited like idiots for 30 minutes before we admitted to ourselves that we'd been had. We were too ashamed to go back to that bar.
23. Sad Stories Always Win
This African American guy comes up to me at a gas station and asks me where he can find a pawn shop. I tell him I don't know but ask him what he's selling, he pulls out a tray of jewelry.
His story was that he came from Louisiana, it was around the time Katrina had hit, and he looted them from a shop. The story was very believable.
I see a necklace and a ring with a big diamond on it. He even scratches my window with said diamond to "prove" it was real. I ended up giving him like 150 dollars. They were fake and my window is still scratched.
24. Existential Crisis Moment
Years of public education conditioned me to believe that earning a college degree in a field I was passionate about would lead to a world full of opportunities and riches.
All I had to do was stay focused, study hard, and sign myself up for half a lifetime of loan payments that make it nearly impossible to build wealth in the best years of my life. And then reality hit me.
I'm such a loser.
25. Name Tag
I was hanging around with my baseball glove on when I guy comes up to me and goes "Hey! That's my glove!" gesturing to mine. I tell him it's not and point out my name written on it.
He goes, “I don't see it, let me get a closer look" grabs the glove, and goes, "No, see that's my name on it" makes a vague pointing gesture and walks off with it.
I was confused for a second thinking that I had somehow taken his glove by mistake. It wasn't until later that I realized that he took it for good. I was seven at the time.
26. Teachers Leave Your Kids Alone!
There was this kid in my high school US history class who we'll call Chuck, who had a reputation for being a little gullible. One day he had a banana in class, and the teacher told him that if you listen really closely after you peel banana, you can hear it making a whirring noise, which is the sound of the banana oxidizing.
Chuck immediately peeled the banana and held it up to his ear, only for the teacher to smack the banana into Chuck's ear, much to the class’s chagrin.
After the class had calmed down a bit, the teacher pointed to Chuck's shirt and said, "You've still got some banana there" and when Chuck looked down, he flicked his nose. Amusement was had by all.
My wife and I were just leaving a dessert place on a fairly cool fall night in Etobicoke, the west end of Toronto, a couple of years ago. A woman came up to us pleading for some money to help her pick her kid up. She wanted $60 for a cab ride out to Burlington, I think.
We felt bad for her, and she looked okay, not like a sketchy person or something—but something still felt off about her. I didn't feel comfortable giving up the money. We offered to give her a ride to Burlington which I think might have been incredibly dangerous—my wife is way too trusting and was the one who suggested it.
In the end, we gave her $20, and she gave us her phone number to call to meet up later to get our money back. Sure enough, the call just went to some voice mail that she never called us back on and we lost the $20. I don't usually get cheated like that, so it's stuck with me for a long time. Although after reading some of these stories, I'm glad it wasn't worse.
28. Foolish and Broke
In Paris this summer I was walking back to my hotel completely intoxicated at about 4 am in the morning when a guy came up to me offering some substance, I'd been told this was just a technique used to take money from foreigners.
However, I completely forgot this, so I, foolishly, said, "Yeah awesome let me go to the cash point and I'll buy some from you". Luckily, I was completely out of money on my account, so I tell him the situation and he looks pretty angry, but since I was intoxicated, I thought nothing of it and just turned around and started walking to my hotel.
This is when things got interesting. A minute later, I realize he's now following me with four of his mates, catching up fast, they start grabbing at me trying to take my wallet and phone, but luckily managed to shove them off and sprint down the road and get away.
So yeah, didn't end terribly but was an absolute fool to take a randomer to a cashpoint in a rough area of Paris and nearly get played by him and his pals.
29. Rock Bottom For Real
It was the last of the money that my roommate and I had. He was fired that day and after dropping my last client off at the airport I was let go. I had to go get some groceries to sustain us. So, what do I do? Well, what anyone would do.
I picked up some Coors Light. They also had this big cowboy foam hat and since it was a couple of bucks, I decided to get it. I was walking back to the apartment when I saw a magazine I wanted. I, like an idiot, somehow dropped my wallet in the box that the magazine held, and I didn't have any more chance to get my wallet out.
Then this old lady scoots by on her scooter thing. I put my things down on the next magazine box and asked her if she could watch it while a ran for some change. I just went around the corner for a second, but she took off with it! It was crazy! With nothing left to my name, my friend and I decided to relocate to Aspen that very night.
Don't trust little old ladies.
30. Walk Of Shame
I once got in a taxi after picking up a “lady of the night”. We drove to her home. She asked me to wait in the cab while she checks if anyone is home. She then asked me if I would mind paying her now.
So, I did. She got out, walking in front of the sidewalk and then out of sight in front of some townhouses. After a few minutes, I got out. She was gone. There were thousands of houses.
I couldn't have knocked on each one. The worst part—I had no money to pay the cab driver. I threw up my hands and said sorry. He shook his head and drove off. I felt ashamed of my stupidity.
31. Check Out My New Release!
A self-described "underground rap artist" who I met in the middle of London sold me his mixtape for three pounds. It was just a CD-R with the title written on it with a sharpie in a cheap crystal case.
He claimed that there were 14 songs on it and asked me to like his Facebook page.
Turns out the CD was empty, and he does not have a Facebook page.
32. I Won!
I was on BART, which is a train, and a man had a newspaper and three little cups, and a bean. He was going around asking people if they wanted to play, and he asked me if I wanted to. I agreed, and I guess he wanted to lure me in because he said if I could guess where the bean was, I'd get $20.
So, I guessed right the first time and the second time. At this point, I had $40 of his money in my hand. He then said, "Okay, this time is for $60, if you don't get it right you give me my $40 and $20 of yours". I said, "No, it's okay, I want to stop while I'm ahead". This is NOT what he was expecting to hear.
He got really angry that he was dumb enough to put $40 in my hand and I wanted to stop. He gave me a really dirty look and seemed really upset, but the train was busy and there were cameras on it, I wasn't scared for my safety, so I gave him a big smile and said, "I'm pretty good at your little game".
33. Post-Workout Workout
My cousin and I used to work out together all the time and we'd always try to one-up each other. One day he wanted to see how many push-ups with claps in between each of us could do and I ended up beating him.
I gloated and then he said he wanted a rematch but with pull-ups with claps. I was so full of myself I thought I could do it. Tried and landed on my face.
34. Full Circle Moment
I wasn't fooled directly, but a watch of mine was taken away and ended up buying my own item back.
My grandpa gave me a Kermit the Frog watch he was given in the 80s. I was in my college painting class, and accidentally splashed some blue paint on it. After cleaning it except for some blue left in the seam between the glass and metal frame, I stuck it in my bag, not very deep, it was just sitting on my books under the flap and continued working with my headphones on.
A little while later a high school class tour came through, but I didn't pay much attention. The following day I realize the watch was missing.
A month or two later my dad suggests I try to find the same kind of watch on eBay and replace it, so my grandpa isn't disappointed that I lost the watch. I found the same watch for just $15 and bought it.
When it arrived, there was blue paint in the seams. Happy to have the original back, though.
35. You Can Tell A Lot About Someone By Their Handshake
Walking through the French Quarter in New Orleans. This guy sees me from across the street and starts calling out "Hey man, how you have been, haven't seen you in a while" as he's walking toward me. This guy is some gigantic Ving Rhames—Michael Clarke Duncan hybrid-looking guy in a nice suit.
So, at this point, I'm thinking this guy must be some friend of my parents or grandparents, who are pretty well known in certain circles in New Orleans, and I just don't recognize him. As he gets to me, he puts out his hand and I instinctively go to shake it, because it's obvious this guy knows me from somewhere.
As soon as we shake, he clamps his massive hand onto mine... hard. He kind of pulls me toward him, leans down next to me, and quietly, calmly, says "Give me your wallet right now or I'll break every bone in your hand".
I hand him the wallet, and he releases my hand, slaps me on the shoulder, and says, loudly, "Great to see ya again! We should get together sometime and catch up". So then, he calmly walks off.
36. I’m Okay Grandma, But You Might Not Be After Hearing This
While in university, my grandmother called me repeatedly during a class. My mother then texted me to pick up the phone. I apologized to my professor and asked if I may step outside for a moment. It was a small, night-time class of maybe 8-10 people, and she let me go without a fuss.
Turns out my grandmother received a call from someone that sounded "exactly like" me and gave her a bunch of details and requested not to mention my call to my parents, giving their names, along with my brother's.
This person told her I was in a car accident while on a road trip in Canada, and that I desperately needed her to wire me money to get a new rental car and pay the damages to the damaged one. If I recall correctly, she ended up sending $4-5k, completely irreversible.
37. What Did I Pay For?
I overpaid a garage door repairman. It wasn't really a scheme, he did the work he promised, and everything has worked well ever since, I just way overpaid.
I don't know what I was thinking at the time, but he made it sound perfectly reasonable that a tune-up on each garage door opener, tightening the springs, and replacing all the wheels on both doors should cost $750. In fact, he had me convinced that he was giving me a half-price special.
That was probably five years ago, and I still feel like an idiot about it sometimes. At least I haven't made a similar mistake since. Live and learn.
38. Plot Twist
I've fallen for the "I bet you can't touch your elbows behind your back" line. I did this for five solid minutes before I realized why so many guys seemed so interested in this. But jokes on them because I'm double-jointed and actually could touch elbows.
39. A Bad Souvenir From Vacation
Yeah, I was on vacation and didn't have my phone on. The people who took my money called my house and my sister was house-sitting for my wife and me. They told her I was going to be tried for an undisclosed charge if I didn't pay them something like 900 dollars for the case to be dismissed or I would be served the next day.
She tried calling me and I didn't answer as I was on vacation.
I left her one of my bank cards so she could buy food and stuff since she was doing me a favor. She paid them with it as she thought it was real and I am not a saint, so it was believable at the time, and this was a while ago before these tactics were well known.
I was so mad as I noticed the charge when I checked my online banking while still away.
The worst thing is now I guess I am on a list of people who have fallen for this, and they call me all the time.
40. Where’s My TV?
This didn’t happen to me but to a customer at Best Buy.
A customer came in, demanding to speak with a manager, regarding a TV he had ordered. The manager he asked for was "Tammy", and we had no managers by that name, nor pick-up orders for this customer in our system.
At that point, I was fully suspicious. I asked for more details. The customer had responded to a Craigslist ad for an unbelievable price on a TV. The seller claimed to be a manager at our store and instructed him to make payment by purchasing gift cards for the asking price, then send pics of the back of the gift cards to the seller.
The customer did all this, then was advised the TV would be ready for pickup at our store.
Needless to say, there was no TV for him. He demanded to speak to an actual manager, who kindly informed him that he was out of luck.
41. Sketchy Landlords
Almost but I caught it, me and my ex then-girlfriend were looking for a new apartment as our lease was coming up. There was a post on Craigslist and the place was exactly what we had been looking for and the right amount.
The "landlord" was a couple from the area but were on a mission trip out in Malaysia working with sick kids and they weren't able to get us in for a showing, but we could drive passed the house and get a look at it.
Within the next few hours of contact with them, they got really pushy and were pretty much demanding us to make the decision and to send them a $150 deposit to hold the apartment for us.
My ex was the one doing all the communicating since I was at work, and when she was telling me all of these red flags started going up as soon as they were trying to get money out of us. I told my ex that it was most likely not real if they weren't going to allow us to walk through the apartment and are trying to get a deposit out of us sight unseen.
She ensured me that it wasn't a scheme and gave me all of their info so I could send the money. They wanted a Western Union money order sent to some place in Nigeria, I burst out laughing and told her that it was definitely not real.
So, we got into a big argument, and I had to go down the list of things that I saw wrong with the scenario. First, not letting us see the apartment before signing a lease, second, making us send a deposit without letting us see the apartment, third, sending a wire transfer to Nigeria, and last of all, they are doing mission work in Malaysia but want their money transferred to another country.
My ex went quiet after that.
42. A Photographer’s Worst Nightmare
Quite a few years ago, I was supplementing my income by doing digital photograph editing for models. While I did receive a handful of bizarre requests, like the one from a guy who seemed like he was trying to augment his dating site profile, most of my clients were straightforward and honest.
That state of affairs lulled me into a false sense of security, and it left me open to getting out of hours of work.
The individual who ultimately ripped me off was billing herself as a plus-sized model and an entrepreneur, and she wanted me to touch up some images for her business's website.
To this day, I don't know what that "business" actually did, given that the page in question seemed like it was just a clunky invitation to meet the woman at whatever nightclub she happened to be frequenting.
Before you ask, no, she wasn't a sketchy person; she was just the self-proclaimed "sexiest soul sister in the city" who was apparently pretending that she was some sort of celebrity. Still, she offered me a decent amount of money for what should have been a fairly brief project, so I took the job.
Now, I know that I should have been wiser about this—like I implied, I was a little bit naive—but after I had finished the pictures, I sent them over to the woman for her approval. She said that she was happy with them, then asked if I would edit a few more, saying that she would double my fee for the trouble.
Once again, I agreed... but when the time finally came for me to get paid, things started going downhill.
The first excuse I received was that my client was waiting for her latest paycheck to clear. Not long later, she claimed that she didn't have a PayPal account, then said that she'd send me a check via standard mail.
A couple of weeks passed after that, and when I finally asked where my payment was, she responded by saying that it must have gotten lost in the mail. Finally—when I asked her to send me a money order with a tracking number—she insinuated that I was trying to pull a trick on her by attempting to trick her into paying me twice.
Needless to say, I was a little bit irritated, not least of all because her excuses didn't make sense.
That same woman reached out to me again about a month later, too, with a request for an animated banner. I told her that I would be happy to assemble it, but that she would have to compensate me for my previous work... and as she had done before, she said that she would double what she already owed me if I would finish her project first.
Fortunately, I had learned my lesson, so I wrote back to her by stating that while I appreciated her generosity, I'd really need upfront payment this time around.
Her response was a long-winded message which suggested, amongst other things, that I was trying to take more money again. It was hilarious how she had played me, saying that I was not particularly well-endowed, that I had probably pleasured myself to the images I had already seen, and that she was going to sue me for copyright infringement.
She signed off by promising that I would be hearing from her lawyer in the very near future.
I can only assume that his correspondence got lost in the mail, too.
43. Corporate Life Is Tricky
I got a job at a "marketing" company. The job description sounded like it was an office job, maybe telemarketing or putting up ads on websites. No. It was a multi-level marketing company.
They completely lied to me. They had told me I'd be paid about $10 an hour and make a commission. They told me I'd be in the office. They told me it was a professional company.
It disguised itself as that. It was a pyramid scheme. I was only getting $7.25 an hour. They told me for the first week, I was going to have to be trained. Okay.
Then I was told I'd be going to different stores to advertise certain products. I was those people you see who set up tables with products and try to get you to buy them. Like pillows, or body massagers.
I thought, okay I could do this. Then they told me I could only take a few five-minute breaks and put it as one whole-hour break. Even if I didn't get an hour total.
I decided that I wasn't going to do that. I put in my five-minute breaks. They also told me to put in certain hours, even if I didn't work that. If I was scheduled to work from nine to five, I couldn't go over that. A few times I had to stay until nine to put away all the products and write my summary of products sold.
They deleted the times and put the "correct" ones.
They also expected me to put in the time when I was off. If I didn't it was frowned upon. I have a family. I can't just drop everything and go to your "meeting" at your house during my time. I'm not being paid!
I told them I had had enough.
They hadn't paid me because they had to "correct" my time sheet. I worked there for a month and a few weeks. I had gotten sick and passed out at the office meeting and they still asked if I was going to work that day. No! I said I'm done. I'm leaving. I want my paycheck at the end of the week.
They tried to hold it. I called my husband and told him they were holding it and asked what I should do. He told me to call the authorities. I said into the phone in front of the secretary, "Are you sure I should call them? Should I leave and come back with them? Or wait?"
Then the secretary changed her tune and got me my paycheck. If you could call it that.It was a personal check from the person heading the "company".
I called the Better Business Bureau, and they opened an investigation into it. The lady didn't tell me that much, only that they had similar reports, and they could tell there was a trend. She said they'd call or email me if they needed anything else.
If you get a call from a company claiming they're a marketing company and that within a year you could climb up the ladder and probably run the front lines, don't. The company was called Legacy in El Paso, TX. I'm not sure if it's there anymore. This was just last year.
44. A Masterplan
This is real life. I was about 22 and I was high at about 1 pm on a Sunday afternoon and I was walking to my car from a head shop. As I got into my car a man ran up to me speaking in what I figured to be an African accent.
He was asking for directions to a bank. He had on a coat and in the inside pockets he had a large amount of cash in 100-dollar bills. I'm talking at least 20 grand, but probably more. Several large stacks of 100-dollar bills. He didn't look poor or rich, just very foreign.
He said quickly and with a strong accent that he was from out of town and had only just come into town for a few weeks to take care of his brother's affairs since he had passed on. He just got out of the lawyer's office and this money was part of his inheritance.
I told him to put away the money as he was in a bad area, and I offered to drive him to a bank down the road. As we were driving, he seemed to get worried and had me pull over as if he was having second thoughts. He was worried that the banks were not trustworthy.
This is where he got me. I, an American, was proud to show off the legitimacy of my country and our great banks. He was concerned that they would take his money and wouldn't release it in time for him to leave.
So, I started to try to convince this random person that the banks were legit and that it was all good. At this moment “guy number two” came into the picture. From my perspective, he came out of a painting truck and had the clipboard, paint-covered clothes, and a truck full of painting stuff.
He said he was repainting the lines in the parking lot. Made sense. He said he saw us arguing and asked what was up. He then took my side and tried to convince this guy that the banks were safe. This is where I messed up.
The guy seemed way better at dealing with the other guy than me and offered to ride right down the street to help me with this foreign guy and the bank situation. It was like a three minutes’ drive from there, so no big deal, and he was at lunch, so he had time.
When we got to the bank, the foreign guy got nervous and was worried that we couldn't easily take large amounts of money from the bank.
So, I, a veritable idiot, then proceeded to take out my rent money, around 1000 dollars out of the atm and drive around the lot to go back in and put it back in the bank. Those two guys were ready for this.
They were buttering me all up saying the foreign guy was going to give me some cash for helping him out, donate to my church, etc... They were saying all kinds of “You’re such a swell guy and we want to help you” kind of stuff.
They had a car waiting on the other side of the building. I guess there was a third guy who followed us there... They grabbed the cash and got in that car, facing the opposite way, and bolted before I could blink.
I couldn't believe it. It happened so fast. I panicked and told my parents, and they asked if I was addicted to some things and needed the money since this was so unbelievable...
It really happened though, and those guys were legit gypsies. It was so well planned and executed I never picked up on anything until it happened in a flash. One of the craziest experiences of my life.
45. Technology Versus Old People
My grandparents had gone to Staples to buy a few things. They're not tech-savvy at all, so they decided to ask a quick question to one of the sales representatives while they were there. They were wanting to transfer pictures from their camera onto their laptop. Easy, right?
This employee told them that they would have to pay him $200 to get it done. To take an SD card out of a camera and drag their pictures onto the desktop. That way, they could "Keep the pictures on their camera as well".
My grandparents had plans to go through with it but luckily it was brought up in conversation and I convinced them to come to me if they needed technical support in the future.
46. Daycare Don’t Care
It wasn’t intentional, but it still counts.
I am a teacher. I have my pay spread out over 25 pay periods, which results in a couple of weeks where it feels like I don’t get paid. The three or four paychecks before that get cut at the same time so I like to pay out my bills for a couple of months to help me budget better and not do dumb stuff like buy a pool when I need that money for bills later.
So, my daughter is in daycare; she goes year-round to keep her spot. We ask the owner if we can pay for a month or so to help keep our books right. They gladly take our money. With about $500 paid for weeks left, my husband gets a call that they are shutting their doors for good, that day, and he needs to come gets our daughter.
We tried for weeks to get her to pay us back, even threatened to take her to court but all she said was “She had her family to support and just didn’t have that money to give us”. Eventually, she stopped answering us. We decided it wasn’t worth the fees for the lawsuit and time to get her to pay it back.
47. Say Cheese, But To What Camera?
A few years ago, in my late teens, I spent a summer in South America doing humanitarian work. We started out in Brazil. Part of it was a boat trip down the Amazon from Manaus—central Brazil—to Belem. We'd probably been in-country four or five weeks, traveling around.
The boat was a fairly large affair, with comfortable sleeping quarters, and an open area with hammock mounts for 250 or so. There were 60 of us and about 400 Brazilians. We'd been on the boat for about three days and actually got to know some of the people around us fairly well.
Along the river, sometimes people would paddle canoes out to beg as the boat went by. People on the boat would throw down clothes or food at them.
Toward the end of the trip, I was standing by the rail with my camera, watching this. One of the Brazilian guys on the boat came up and asked if he could see my camera. I shrugged and handed it to him—I mean, it's not like he could run off down the street or something. But I never anticipated his next move.
This was back in the day when a "camera" meant film. Sure, there were some digital cameras, but they were big, expensive and extremely poor picture quality, and not good for travel, either. My camera wasn't anything fancy, but it had a decent lens, etc. I'd probably taken four or five full rolls at this point, plus the one in the camera.
He makes a big show of trying out to zoom and stuff, then acts like he's going to toss it down to one of the kids in the canoes. I said "No!" and grabbed it, and he just grinned.
I put the camera back in its case and went back to where the rest of the group was staying. I made sure it was out of sight, etc., and was in the area for a while, but eventually forgot about it. The boat was almost to Belem, so we were getting stuff packed up and ready to unload.
A couple hours later as we were getting ready to unload, I realized that the entire camera bag was gone. I never saw the guy or the camera again, but I assume he probably followed me and grabbed it when he saw an opening.
48. What’s In The Box?
I bought some shoes at a market stall in a developing country. I figured they were... well, "off-brand", but they were comfy, and I really don't care about branding. So, she boxes them up, I pay her, and go.
Then about five minutes later, I opened the box and my jaw dropped—it was a completely different pair of shoes, and they don't have insoles, just cardboard. I would have gone back, but I was already late to meet my friends. Turned out okay, I just got some Dr. Scholls and wore them anyway.
49. A Pet Pick-Pocketer
I was sitting at an outdoor cafe with a group of American friends in Barcelona. A furry retriever-type dog came up to our table and acted like he wanted to be a pet. He looked clean, so we acquiesced.
He sniffed around the ground beneath our table for crumbs and scraps. We stopped paying attention to him—but we should have never let our guard down. Next thing I know, he's got my bag between his teeth and has run clear across the plaza. He turns a corner and disappears—my passport, my wallet, my camera, all gone.