People Are Sharing The Exact Moment They Realized They Were Being Scammed, And We Gotta Watch Out

It's been a few years since the "scammer era" — from Anna Delvey to the Tinder Swindler — completely took over pop culture, but that's not to say scammers aren't still constantly trying to get in front of us.

Anna in sunglasses and off-shoulder top standing outside
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Twitter: @morganisawizard

I personally have received attempts at being scammed — one time someone sent me a photo of a bottle of wine pretending to have the wrong number. Luckily, I realized it was a scam after finding the exact same photo/scenario online:

Apparently, it's part of a pig butchering scam, where the scammer entices their victims (aka

Considering there are so many other scams, I figured I'd ask the BuzzFeed Community how they've gotten scammed so that we can all be more aware of how people lie, trick, and deceive. Here's everything they shared:

1."I talked to a scammer for months. Of course, he was stationed overseas. We even talked on the phone. I put his pictures through Google Images and found out who he was impersonating. I played along. Eventually, he sent me a check for $30k."

A person in bed looking at smartphone screen in the dark

2."This was a while back (maybe 2010ish) when I was selling a sofa and chair on Craigslist. I was contacted by someone who wanted the furniture but wanted to pay by money order. I agreed, and they sent it, but for more than I was asking, they claimed it was an accident. Then they asked if I could return the difference (around $1000). They said they were moving across the country, and I had to send the money to a relocation manager."

Smartphone displaying Craigslist logo on screen, held against a blurred background

3."My house burned down, and after I got the insurance money, I had not one, BUT TWO contractors take my money and not do the work. So, I had to borrow another $70,000 to finish my house. The work wasn't even done right. When I said I wasn't happy, the contractor said, 'Too bad, that's what you get.'"

<div><p>"Then, the next day, he went out and BOUGHT A BRAND-NEW PICKUP TRUCK (with MY MONEY). I have a two-family house, and he didn't put insulation between the floors!! I'm NOT DONE WITH HIM! Hope KARMA bites him in his rear end."</p><p>—Anonymous</p></div><span> Aaronamat / Getty Images/iStockphoto</span>

"Then, the next day, he went out and BOUGHT A BRAND-NEW PICKUP TRUCK (with MY MONEY). I have a two-family house, and he didn't put insulation between the floors!! I'm NOT DONE WITH HIM! Hope KARMA bites him in his rear end."


Aaronamat / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."I only use my home computer to pay bills online. When I logged on, I got a flashing alert that my computer was compromised and I needed to call this number immediately. I did, and the fellow said he could fix it. I granted him access, and we chatted while the program was downloaded. He asked me what I used the computer for and who used it, and I answered. After a lengthy period, he 'showed' me evidence on my computer of all the bugs and security risks and said I could buy software from him for $1,500."

A person using a laptop with a system warning alert on the screen indicating an error

5."Okay, y'all, I'm sharing, but I AM SO MAD AT MYSELF. So, my husband and I moved, and we needed to change our mailing address beforehand. So he went online and did it for under $5. He then texted me and told me to bust mine out too, so it was just done because it was so cheap, and I was like, 'Sick, that makes sense.' So I went online and found what I think was the exact website my boo used, and this LOOKED SO REAL. It had seals and tabs, and I'm a little dumb."

<div><p>"So I start changing my address, and it asks for my card info, and I'm like, 'That makes perfect sense; my hubby had to pay a little fee.' So I entered it and kept clicking, AND THEY CHARGED MY CARD LIKE $50. So I called my husband bawling, and this sweet angel of a partner was like, 'You beautiful little fool. I'll be home in a sec.' He came home, called the number, and made them give me my money back. Then he called the real number and changed it all for me. LMAO."</p><p>—<a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kira;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Kira</a></p></div><span> Jessie Casson / Getty Images</span>

6."I fell for a phone scam where they call pretending to be from your phone company, ask if you'd like to upgrade, and then send a different phone from the one you've agreed upon and ask you to forward it to the 'real' intended recipient. Thankfully, I realized before it cost me any real money, but my phone company told me the scammers might've hacked into my phone. The worst part was that every text and call from the scammers said it was from my phone company, so I'll never again trust contact from what may or may not be the actual company."

"When I asked my phone company's fraud department how scammers can do this, they acknowledged it but said they were unsure. I naively thought this kind of scam only happened to older people. Afterward, people told me that your phone company would never really call with offers. But I've had genuine upgrades from them in the past; it used to be fairly common before smartphones. Either way, trust gone, and lesson learned. And remember never to share your one-time passcode with anyone!"


7."It's much smaller than other stories, but a credit card skimmer got us at a vending machine. Two transactions for $95 were charged at a gas station in a state over 1,000 miles away from us, and our bank alerted us of possible fraud. We got the money back, changed cards, and no longer use vending machines unless we have cash."

A person using a card at a vending machine payment slot
Twenty47studio / Getty Images

8."I just started a new job as an office manager, and one of my responsibilities was to order office supplies. One day, I received a call from someone saying they were an office supply company and wanted to see if I was interested in their products. They seemed nice, and they had good pricing. But what really made me think they were legit was that they said they had spoken with our CFO (even providing his name) and had approved orders. I wanted to give them some business, so I ordered a few items."

Three individuals working at a desk with laptops and phones, with the middle person smiling and talking on the phone

9."A bogus brick mason I found through Thumbtack referrals took my $1200 deposit and never showed up to perform the work. Thumbtack vendors were supposedly fully vetted. They refused to refund my deposit, saying they were not responsible for incomplete work."


10."Not me, but a friend. We were in college, and she got a call from a number with the correct area code. The person over the line said, 'Hello (name), I'm (name) from the university of (our university) in the math education department. I see that you have an outstanding fee. Do you have the time to take care of that now?'"

A person looking at their phone with a credit card in hand

11."I live in Canada as a permanent resident and had to renew my PR Card (can't travel outside of the country without it — or, more importantly, can't get back in). So I went to the federal government's website, did my thing, and clicked the link to pay the processing fee. Many months pass. A vacation I've already paid for is coming up fast, and I still have no card."

"With less than a month to go, the government mailed back my renewal application, informing me it's been rejected because the payment didn't go through. The link turned out to be a scam—on a government website! Despite my best efforts, I couldn't renew the card in time and had to skip the vacation. I never got my money back, either."


12."I got a call from someone claiming to be from Customs and Border Protection. They said they had intercepted a package addressed to me and started asking questions about it, my banking, etc. It freaked me out because it felt like I would be charged with something I wasn't involved in. Somehow, I managed not to give out any important information."

Documents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

13."I'm in high school. A hacker got onto our tech help's email and emailed the school about a job opportunity. I have an iffy home life, and I really needed the money, so I filled out the form. I gave my name, address, phone number, and school email. It ended up being a scam. I'm actually terrified of what I did, but thankfully, my school is looking into it."


14."A man knocked on my door, claiming to be a neighbor. I opened the door because I thought maybe he had a package of ours. It turns out he was selling a magazine subscription and was doing this to pay for his college. He asked for cash, but I didn’t have any, so he offered his Venmo."

Person with backpack reaching towards a door handle under an awning

"I realized that was so foolish of me because why would paying him directly pay for the magazines? Luckily, I didn't lose more than $55, but I'm still mad at myself for falling for it."


Franz12 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15."I got a phone call at 11 p.m. from (I thought) my crying 4-year-old child saying a man took him and he doesn't know where he is; I called out his name, 'Johnny?!?! what's happening?' Then a man came on the phone and said, 'If you want to see Johnny again, you need to pay $5,000.' My husband figured it was a scam when he demanded to speak to our son again and realized it was a recording."

<div><p>"What made everything worse was that we had dropped our kids off earlier in the day with my mother-in-law two hours away because we had to work that weekend in the opposite direction. Even though we later spoke to him and my mother-in-law, who confirmed everyone was safe, I didn't breathe again until they were in my arms Sunday night."</p><p>—Anonymous</p></div><span> Pornyot Palilai / Getty Images</span>

16."I'm a therapist. A man called from the 'police department' of the suburb I work in, telling me I was in contempt of court for not responding to a subpoena for a court hearing. He said the judge (whom he named and was actually a judge in that area) was willing to 'work with me' on the fine. When I asked him to clarify, he said I had been sent a subpoena but did not come to the court to testify on behalf of a minor."

"I knew something was wrong then because I don't work with minors. I kept asking questions because I wanted to figure out the problem. He finally got frustrated with me, called me a b!+@#, and hung up. I immediately googled the situation. I found out that other therapists had been scammed by this. I was grateful that I followed my gut. Still, it was scary."


17."Using a dating app, I chatted with a profile that was almost too good to be true, but not quite. Eventually, the 'person' on the other end got into talking about their side hustle of trading on precious metals/jewelry and how lucrative it is. They could show me how to 'get started' for as little as $500 (before meeting in person, of course). I was not interested. They got more insistent, then got plain rude."

Person browsing on phone with visible app interface, seated indoors

(Cont'd) "After that first one, I noticed a few variations come through regularly. Things change from crypto investments to precious metals to other things. The funny part is they are so stuck to the 'scam script,' so I usually know within 2-3 exchanges that it is a scam profile."

Text conversation discussing the potential and challenges of investing in cryptocurrency, with a focus on Dogecoin and Bitcoin

And lastly (buckle up, it's a doozy):

18."I went to the grocery store one day after work to grab a few items. I live in a pretty affluent area where sketchy behavior is not common. As I walked to my car, a teen boy approached me and asked for help. I was weary but decided to hear him out. He said he had ordered a pizza, but the delivery driver wouldn't take cash. If I could help him, he would pay me the cash. I asked the driver why he couldn't accept the cash, and he said that the order indicated a debit/credit payment, so he could not accept cash as there would not be a receipt."

Man in denim jacket talking to a person outside, gesturing with hands, not facing camera

(Cont'd) "While I paid for the order, the driver took the machine after I entered my PIN (not uncommon) and handed me my card and the receipt. Then they started arguing again, but this time, the driver was going on about how lucky the kid was that I was there to help and that he should be very grateful to me. When all was said and done, the kid thanked me profusely, and we went our separate ways."

Woman handing payment card to delivery man by a scooter

(Cont'd) "I called my bank right away, but when I entered the card number, I realized my card had been switched to the card of someone who also banked with my bank. So the cards were identical, minus the name and card number."

Woman in striped top looking puzzled while talking on phone and holding a card

Have you been a victim of a scam, too? Let us know in the comments!