12 Ordinary Scams That Even Smart People Fall For


Nobody likes to find out they’re a sucker. You only want to be called a “mark” when your name is Mark.

The truth is, though, that everyone has fallen victim to a scam at least once. Unfortunately, some well-known scams remain inexplicably common.

1. Renting Your Router

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Though the internet is a modern amenity worth paying for, one web surfer realized their internet provider was charging them for a router.

That is normal enough, except the customer already paid for the router upfront. This story begs the question: How many customers are paying their internet provider excess rental fees without being the wiser?

2. False Mobile Game Advertising

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Game developers are a clever bunch. Too often, the advertisement you see while waiting for your YouTube video to load is a far cry from the cookie-cutter product you get once you’ve paid for the game.

In other words, what you see isn’t what you get.

3. Renting to Own

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Without exception (find one, and I’ll admit I was wrong), renting to own means paying borderline predatory interest rates.

By the time you pay off the product (plus interest), it may no longer be the cutting-edge electronic or appliance you started renting.

4. Naming a Star

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Wishing upon a star? Well worth the effort. Paying to name a star? Not worth the money. Odds are, any company bestowing ownership of celestial bodies probably doesn’t have the right to do so.

Even if a company has some right to sell stars, what are the odds your star is yours and yours alone?

5. Overpriced Funeral Services

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Those who have lost a loved one and assisted in the funeral service know how predatory the grief business can feel.

There is a sense that if you’re unwilling to pay the $10,000-plus price tag that most funerals carry, you’re somehow callous or cheap.

This pressure leaves surviving loved ones ripe for all sorts of scams that, to be frank, constitute grief profiteering.

6. Carnival Games

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You’ve shot at the basketball hoop with a rim half a millimeter larger than the basketball’s circumference. You’ve tried to toss the rings onto the pin, only to have them bounce back mockingly in your direction.

You’ve played the carnival games and lost, yet you’ll play them again.

Don’t beat yourself up; there are worse things than donating to your local carnie.

7. College

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Remind me of the explanation for the eye-popping increase in college tuition over the past few decades.

Are students to believe that their education is exponentially better than the schooling their parents and grandparents received?

That’s a tough sell.

8. Bottled Water

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OK, get this: It’s the same clear, tasteless liquid you get out of your sink, but bottled in particle-shedding plastic and sold to you for $1.99 (or more, if you’d like).

Is this something you’d be interested in?

9. Third-Party Security Systems

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Remember those ADT signs you’d see in yards throughout suburban neighborhoods in the late 90s and early-to-mid 2000s? Some people still have those.

Despite being more expensive and less effective than newer, DIY home security system setups, third-party security services are still a thing.

10. Multi-Level Marketing

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This is an entire genre of scam. At the risk of offending, I’ll refrain from mentioning specific companies or programs.

Once you’ve finally quit your multi-level marketing scheme and seen the light, you’ll know that you were part of a scam—no matter how passionate you might be about it right now.

For many, multi-level marketing businesses are very expensive friendships built upon a foundation of fool’s gold.

11. Unpaid Internships

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An unpaid internship at Goldman Sachs might be worth the clout it brings to your resume. An unpaid internship at the local burger joint? Not worth the effort.

Use your best judgment when offered an unpaid position of any kind, as the proposition of exchanging your time and effort for zero money is one to view warily.

12. Payday Loans

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Any Financial Literacy 101 course warns students about payday loans.

Unfortunately, many (dare I say most?never enroll in Financial Literacy 101.

More From Money Smart Guides

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Here are the steps you need to take to protect yourself from scammers and hackers.


Unique Savings Hacks To Try

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There are many ways to save money, and you most likely heard many of them.

But not all of them.

I sourced the internet far and wide for expert approved saving hacks and came up with this list.

The only question is, which one will save you the most money?

10 Expert-Approved Money Saving Hacks That Actually Work!

Best Places To Hide Money At Home

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Did you know there are many places around your house you can hide cash?

Many of these places, no one will ever think to look, making them excelling hiding spots.



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Many people think buying a hybrid car will save them money. They base this on the fact they will buy less gas, which means saving money. But they don’t take into account the higher cost of a hybrid vehicle. Can this difference make a hybrid more costly to own?


Binge worthy Movies And Documentaries About Money

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Do you enjoy movies and documentaries? If so, here are the best ones that are related to money.

All of them will keep your attention from start to finish, and who knows, you might actually learn something too!


This thread inspired this post.

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