Urgent! We’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty! This is the IRS. Someone has attempted to use your social security number to make online purchases. We have a buyer for your Timeshare in Florida! Patricia, is that you? Someone you know is trying to contact you, and they just need a little bit of money to get through. My credit card is not working, can I charge something to your account and pay you back?
Ah, the dreaded phone scams. We’re all familiar with them, and we all hate them. But sometimes, instead of ignoring and immediately blocking these annoying individuals, it might be fun to play along with the act. We’ve gathered some of the most pathetic attempts at scamming people that have been shared on the Scams subreddit, including some where the receivers played their own tricks on the scammers before blocking them or being blocked, so you too can know what to look out for online. Keep reading to also find interviews with scam protection experts, Troy Hunt, Microsoft Regional Director and founder of Have I Been Pwned, and Robert Nordlander, host of the Fraud Fighter Podcast.
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
Enjoy these hilarious messages, and then if you’re interested in joining my business and earning up to $40k per month through online trading and cryptocurrency investments– I mean, sorry. If you’re interested in even more pics from the Scams subreddit, you can check out Bored Panda’s last publication on the same topic right here. (I promise, the link won’t infect your computer.)
#1 The Wife Left Me A Note To Warn Me About A Scam
Image credits: Carl_Reed85
To gain some insight on the topic of spam calls, we reached out to Troy Hunt, founder of Have I Been Pwned, a website that works hard to bring an end to data breaches and hacking. When asked why scam phone calls and messages are so common nowadays, Troy says, “Because it’s a low-risk criminal activity that can be executed in bulk and have potentially high returns. Compared to more traditional criminal activities such as break and enter, cybercrime is very attractive!”
We also asked him how often people manage to fall for these scammers’ tricks. “A huge number of people fall victim to these scams every single day,” Troy says. “Part of the problem is the difficulty in separating scams from legitimate emails, in part because the scams do such a good job of emulating genuine communications, but also in part because so much genuine communication is indistinguishable from a scam!”
#2 I Finally Got One!! Or At Least, I Think I Did. The Conversation Did Not Quite Go As Expected
Image credits: astridbowie
We also asked Troy how much damage these scam artists do. “At an individual level, it could be anything from a few bucks to your life savings. Increasingly, these scams are targeting corporations and the damage there is often in the millions of dollars.”
“Scams are successful due to clever social engineering; we are all subject to behaving irrationally when a scam creates a sense of urgency, appeals to our curiosity or greed or makes us fearful of not responding,” Troy explained. “We, the humans, remain the weakest link and that’s what scammers continue to exploit.”
If you’d like to learn more about Troy’s website or find out if you have been “pwned”, check out Have I Been Pwned right here.
#3 Is This A Scam?
Image credits: Alpha_Lemur
We also reached out to Robert Nordlander, host of the Fraud Fighter Podcast, to hear his thoughts on the topic. When it comes to why these scams are so common, Robert told Bored Panda, “Scam artists use the technology that is available to the general public. Long time ago, it was mail, but today everyone uses email and texts. It just makes the results faster, and it is also cheaper to send emails/texts. When texts/cell phone calls were expensive, it wasn’t as prevalent.”
When asked how people manage to fall victim to these crimes, Robert says, “No one will know the exact data except for the scam artists. But it must be profitable, because they continue to use it. The scam artists spoof links to take the victim to spoof webpages, so their personal information can be requested. These links or attachments allow the scam artists to determine which email address/phone number is active. So even if the victim doesn’t ‘bite’ on the scam, the scam artists know that there is activity whether answering the phone or opening the email. I have personally received emails that request my services (albeit suspicious story). However, I respond with ‘not interested’ comment, only to receive an email as if I was interested.”
#4 It’s Insane That This Is Even Necessary
Image credits: Adoptstrays
Lastly, Robert added, “According to the Annual Report by the ACFE, fraud is estimated to be 5% of total sales worldwide. If it is too good to be true, it is. Stay away from promises of anything free if you respond to a text or email. Same thing with being added to a sweepstakes to enter for a prize. Your chances of winning are very small if it is legitimate, but the chances of being scammed or receiving a computer virus is exponentially greater. If in doubt, hang up on any person claiming to be a representative calling you to request your personal information. Then call the 800 number on the financial institution’s website or call the number on the back of your bank card. If there really is a problem with your account, you can get direct help from your bank when you make the call.”
If you’d like to learn more about preventing and avoiding scams from Robert, be sure to check out the Fraud Fighter Podcast right here.
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
#5 You Are Under The Rest
Image credits: R-DnB-83
Scammers have been around for generations. We like to think that we all know not to click suspicious links or fall prey to obviously sketchy messages, but obviously someone is doing it. Or these scams would not be so prevalent in the first place. According to a report from Truecaller, almost one third of all Americans admitted they had fallen prey to a phone scam during 2021. Among those who have been victims of phone scams, nearly one fifth of them had been swindled out of money more than once.
These phone scams have been becoming increasingly more common over the years as well, as there were only 22.1 million such victims in the US in 2017 and 59.4 million in 2021. As CNBC reports, not only have these crimes increased in number but also in the amount of money that is being taken from people. In 2020, the average loss reported by phone scam victims was $351, but by 2021, that amount skyrocketed to $502 per person.
Image credits: bridgerberdel
In response to this concerning amount of scams happening in the United States, senior advisory board member at Truecaller, Clayton LiaBraaten told CNBC, “It’s very disappointing to me, and alarming that people are getting convinced to send criminals money.” But he explained that he was, unfortunately, not surprised. “These criminals are incredibly clever in the way that they manipulate people.”
When it comes to the demographics of who is more susceptible to being scammed, the most vulnerable age group was adults between 35-44 years old. Interestingly, men are also much more vulnerable than women, regardless of the age group they fall into. The Federal Communications Commission is working hard to mitigate scam calls, as they implemented requirements in the summer of 2021 for providers to provide caller ID authentication technology, but it’s not a perfect solution. Scammers are very clever at finding ways around the rules, so unfortunately, Americans are still receiving way more spam calls than they should. “They’re not going to give up,” LiaBraaten says.
#7 I Was Surprised To Get A Message From A High School Friend’s Father
Image credits: blackcav
If you find yourself receiving 5 scam phone calls a day, and you are worried about protecting yourself, there are ways to reduce your risk of being stolen from. A simple tip that most cybersecurity experts recommend is just never answering phone calls from unknown numbers. If it is important, they will leave a message. And if they don’t, you don’t need to worry about it. Just block the caller.
Another giveaway that someone is calling you to try to scam you is if the call is coming from an area where you don’t know anyone. If you live in California, but you suddenly receive a call from Louisiana, a state you have no ties to, chances are you don’t need to answer it. It can be hard to know when to answer calls if your business operates across the country or you live in a city with many transplants, but in general, if you don’t know who the person is, let them leave a message.
#8 But I Wanna See!
Image credits: hardoseal
#9 I Thought I Was Worth A Bit More Lol
Image credits: Pumpkin__Butt
Don’t forget to block suspicious numbers after they call as well. Scammers are persistent, but if you start by blocking every number that contacts you, it will slowly reduce the number of spam calls you receive. Most mobile service providers have free software or apps that allow you to screen or block automated calls,” CNBC writer Megan Leonhardt explains. “Some, like Verizon, have software that automatically blocks some of the worst robocalls throughout their network, while others have separate options that consumers can install.” Be sure to add yourself to the National Do Not Call Registry, if you live in the United States, as well.
#10 Most Disgusting Thing I‘Ve Seen All Year. American Pos Pretending To Be An Ukrainian Citizen, Trying To Get Donations
Image credits: [deleted]
#11 Booked A Beautiful 2 Bedroom Condo On Airbnb. Host Cancelled And “Upgraded” Me To This “4 Bedroom Dream Home”
Image credits: rockhavenrick
#12 Had To Be Reminded
Image credits: Vi11agio-Xbox
Another easy way to reduce calls from spammers is to limit how often you give your number out. Every time a retailer, website, or activist on the street asks for you to put your number down, consider if it is really necessary. As much as we would like to trust these companies or individuals, our information can always be sold and distributed without our knowledge if we don’t hold onto it tightly. In reference to the extremely high amounts of money scam artists have recently collected from Americans, LiaBratten says, “This is high enough at $500 a pop that people should be treating their phone numbers like they treat their bank account numbers.”
#13 This Is The Single Most Creepiest Link I’ve Ever Seen.. Thoughts?
Image credits: jackel_fried39
#14 It’s Close To Midnight And Something Evil’s Lurking In The Dark
Image credits: lukini26
#15 How Did These People Make So Much Money Off This??
Image credits: Mushlaam
Scam phone calls are not a uniquely American issue, though. In fact, the United States ranks 20th on the list of countries receiving the most spam calls annually. According to Truecaller, the country that is plagued by the most spam calls, by far, is Brazil. In 2021, Brazilians received on average 32.9 spam calls a month. The country with the second highest scam call rates was Peru, with the average person receiving about half as many calls as citizens in Brazil. What is even more shocking is that, during their deep dive into spam calls, Truecaller determined that one single spammer in India made over 202 million spam calls over the course of one year. “That’s over 664,000 people that were disturbed by spam calls every day and 27,000 people every hour – from just one phone number,” their report explains.
#16 Very Bold
Image credits: vandaloLO
#17 This Is Truth Needs To Be Said , Don’t Fall So Easily For Those Cheap Mails Guys
Image credits: Mary-Sylvia
#18 I Told Them It Was A Wrong Number But They Kept On Going
Image credits: resentfulpenguin
So how did online and phone scams snowball into the monstrosity that they currently are? I know for a fact that when I was in high school, I was not receiving the same amount of calls about my car’s extended warranty or made-up charities begging me for donations. According to Walt Hickey at Business Insider, there are a few reasons these scams have been able to flourish. First, he credits technological advancements for this plague. It has become far too easy for scam artists to create countless numbers of robocalls that can’t be traced. He also notes that scammers can make a lot of money off their victims, so it is an enticing “career path” for those lacking a conscience. Lastly, Walt writes that it is incredibly easy for people to get away with these crimes, due to a lack of legislation concerning them and under-funded law enforcement groups. Even if they are seen as a serious issue, they are a beast to confront.
#19 So, I’ve Been Contacted By “Keanu Reeves”
Image credits: Naomian1984
#20 My Mother Had This Thing In Her House Blinking Red And Yellow. She Says It Protects Against 5g. Is This Thing Real?
Image credits: The1cyrus
#21 Is This A Scam?
Image credits: Answer_2_Everything
Walt goes on to explain just how profitable phone scamming can be. “They work,” Aaron Foss, founder of Nomorobo, a company that blocks spam calls, told Business Insider. “The response rates are abysmal, a tenth of a percent response rate. But the risk of getting caught is so, so low, and the rewards are so high.” For example, 125,000 minutes of robocalls from Message Communications Inc can be purchased for only $875. If each receiver of these calls stays on the line for an average of 3 seconds, that $875 funds 2.5 million calls. And if only one out of 10,000 calls is successful, one hour of these robocalls can bring in $1,750 in profits.
#22 Well That Escalated Quickly (Common Whatsapp Scam That I Have Been Getting)
Image credits: afunzombie
#23 This Sub Has Made Me Aware Of Literally Every Scam Before It Happens
Image credits: Right-Shelter
#24 My Mother Got Scammed For At Least $20k After Everyone Warned Her. This Was The Last Text She Sent To Me
Image credits: nooneknows153
Apparently, phone carriers are also not particularly interested in stopping these calls because they often cannot prove for a fact that any illegal activity is taking place. They are also fearful of blocking too many calls, leaving customers missing important information. “A pharmacy may contact a patient about their COVID-19 vaccine appointment with an automated call, and if a carrier blocked that there would be hell to pay,” Walt writes. “Carriers avoid interfering in gray areas, and will only block a gateway carrier or caller when given ample grounding to do so, often by federal action against a bad actor.”
#25 Dear ‘Custmer’ Lmao
Image credits: VinsonPlummer
Image credits: coralinethecorgi
#27 How Did Netflix Know That I Love Costumes???
Image credits: gonzojeff
We hope you are much more entertained by this list of hilarious and pathetic spam messages than you are by answering your phone 10 times a week to find a robo message on the other end. Keep upvoting the pics that you’d like all of your fellow pandas to catch, and then let us know in the comments if you have any hilarious encounters with spam callers or messengers that you’d like to share. Remember to always be suspicious of links you find in your inbox and calls from unknown numbers, and if you’re desperate to earn some extra cash, I have a great business opportunity to share with you. If you follow the link I have sent you, you can start earning enough to retire in the next 5 years– *cut to the dial tone*.
#28 I Guess She Really Wanted To See It
Image credits: Tazzy1337
#29 Watch Out For Support Monkey Scam
Image credits: fredtheunicorn1
#30 This Email Had Me Rotfl. Yahoo Boy Almost Had Me
Image credits: lyttleman
#31 The Message That’s Printed On Government-Issued Envelopes In My City ?
Image credits: TopperMadeline
#32 Can You Guys Help Me? I’m Losing Hope
Image credits: DutyIcy2056
#33 I Knew Someone Would Try Sooner Or Later. I’m Still Missing My Cat
Image credits: JustNothing5464
#34 Bro I Can’t- ??
Image credits: tiredofmissingyou
#35 Kindly Hit Her With That Uno Reverse Card
Image credits: coreythebuckeye
#36 Received This In The Mail All By Itself, Addressed To Me With No Paper Work. Hmmm. Should I Plug It In? Ha!
Image credits: Eric12345678
#37 I Was Just Offered My Dream Job, Should I Accept??
Image credits: gingersnatch_
#38 These Scammers Are Nicer To Me Than My Own Friends
Image credits: ashcash1234
#39 Private Landlord Insists On Application Fee
Image credits: Mr_Unbiased
#40 Youtuber Who Exposed Multiple Scam Call Centers Leads To Shutdown And Arrest Of 15 Involved Individuals
Image credits: systemfrown
#41 My Brother Is An Idiot. He Actually “Cashed” The Check And Used It To Pay His Rent
Image credits: Ragarianok
#42 These Cameras Arrived At My Home And Nobody Purchased It
Image credits: shibe9000
#43 They Didn’t Even Try
Image credits: alldemboats
#44 A Hitman Is Asking For $100k To Not Kill Me. Is It A Good Deal?(Noob)
Image credits: McworreK
#45 Hard To Spot This One
Image credits: reddit.com
#46 Ah A Classic Scam
Image credits: Sufficient-Claim-525
#47 Strange Scam Call. “My Son Lost His AirPods And They Are Pointing To Your Address”
Image credits: jay–mac
#48 Will An Old Post On Reddit Get Me Into Court
Image credits: antmaster208
#49 Wife Thinks This Is Legit. I Do Not. What Do You Think?
Image credits: Igglethepiggle
#50 Here You Go
Image credits: MavDrake
#51 My Fiancée’s Mother Bought A Dozen Boxes Of Theses Patches That Promise You Will Lose Weight Just By Using It A Couple Of Hours Daily
Image credits: aviitor
#52 Made Me Giggle And Think Of You All Lol
Image credits: LottimusMaximus
#53 In Case You Got Ptsd From The Oscars, You Can Get Over 1 Million Dollars!
Image credits: Cyclone221
#54 I Need Help I Lost My Cat Last Night And This Random Person Said They Found Him, I Have Not Posted Anything Online But These Messages Look Really Weird
Image credits: Ordinary-Star-657
#55 This Is A Scam Right?
Image credits: reddit.com
#56 Can’t Believe I Fell For This Feel Like An Idiot
Image credits: MegaFatcat100
#57 So After A Week Of Talking To This Guy To Buy My Truck For $19,000, He Sends Me This ?
Image credits: sa-northerner
#58 I Finally Received One Of These! I Feel Like A Full Member Of Society Now
Image credits: baramobacka
#59 After Someone Sent Me Money On Paypal, I Got This Seemingly Legitimate Message From Paypal Support, And It’s Breaking My Brain
Image credits: AmcillaSB
#60 I Know This Is A Scam, But What’s The Point?
Image credits: DontFeedTheTech
#61 Scammer Posing As Us Airforce
Image credits: Aggressive_Western51
#62 Is This Site A Scam?
Image credits: Slimguy24
#63 Is This A Scam? My Info Is Actually Sent Including My Name And Address And I Did Receive An Amazon Package That I Didn’t Order About A Week Ago
Image credits: jasiekkffasola
#64 Does Ticketmaster Even Sell Airline Tickets Or Is This Fake?
Image credits: Fine-Match-3159
#65 My Uncle Bought $200 Worth Of Ground Beef From A Facebook Ad And Got Scammed
Image credits: brebre431
#66 FBI Contacted Me, Finally I Will Get My 10,3 Million?
Image credits: Bluetex110
#67 Thanks To This Subreddit, I Avoided Being Scammed Today!
Image credits: valhalla_visitor
#68 Don’t Buy Chains Off Of Smaller Websites Using Tiktok To Advertise, Most Likely A Scam
Image credits: paceysewell
#69 Feels Scammy – What’s The Story With These?
Image credits: fugensnot
#70 I’m Running An Event And Within 30mins Of Posting It On Fb, I Deleted At Least 10 Fake Accounts Trying To Sell Tickets
Image credits: ShaneWarrn-ambool
#71 A Crypto Class? This Is Basically A Scam, Right?
Image credits: highlandpolo6
#72 Damage A Scammer Can Do With Elderly Person’s Credit Card In 5 Short Days
Image credits: MikeTheAvocate
#73 Is This Legit?
Image credits: Due-Entrepreneur-570
#74 Someone Hacked My Instagram: Need Help. Hacker Is Asking For $100 Or He Will Sell My Account To An Indian Scammer. Anybody Can Help With This? Any Solutions?
Image credits: abac18
#75 Please No One Fall For This Shot On Instagram, This Is My 10th Friend Getting Their Account Hacked On This Same Bitcoin Bull. At Least This One’s Funny Af Though Lol
Image credits: Jumpy_Vacation_3151
#76 I Encountered One ?
Image credits: reddit.com
#77 This Is Fake, Right? Friend Was Shown This As “Proof” Of Why Their Long Distance Military Boyfriend Can’t Do Any Video Calls. I See Several Errors And These Officials And Legal Statues Don’t Seem To Exist
Image credits: H3d0n1st
#78 A Scam Crafted To Target The Kindness Of Your Mother
Image credits: Salt_Paint_1074
#79 Today I Received This Text Message On My Personal Phone, Should I Be Worried? I Have No Idea Who This Is
Image credits: Due-Foundation-8853
#80 Freelancing Job Wanted Me To Send Money To Sketchy Gmails. They Sent Me This Email After I Refused To Send Money To A Sketchy Gmail. I Asked For A Company Email And Got This On Return. What Do I Do With The Money
Image credits: satanswallows
#81 I Received This Text This Morning… The Only Person I’ve Been With Said It Wasn’t Her, And I’m Hesitant To Click On The Link To See If It Brings Me To A Legit Website. Chances Of This Being A Scam?
Image credits: Solly8517
#82 Boyfriend Was Trying To Sell On Ebay And Received This In The Mail, Thought It Was Legit Until I Told Him It Was 1000% A Scam
Image credits: SpicyMackerel
#83 I’m Trying To Sell Some Stuff On Ebay And Idk
Image credits: ThatGermSquad77
#84 Seems Sketchy? I’m Selling A Couch On Craigslist And Unsure About Potential Buyer
Image credits: mgg3427
#85 What Is “Alaye” And Why Does It Deter Scammers? Tried This Myself Today, Got Blocked
Image credits: mmofrki
#86 Amazon Scammed Me. What Should I Do?
Image credits: Complementary-Tea
#87 Restaurant Takeout Order Scam?
Image credits: SnomDax
#88 President Joe Biden Sent Me An Email Himself!
Image credits: randomlyterepi
#89 If You Have To Ask If It’s A Scam, It’s A Scam (More In Comments)
Image credits: AthleticNerd_
#90 Posted On Facebook Market Place, This Lady Seems Suspicious
Image credits: RujiarinChef
#91 I Really Need To Check My Junk Mail Folder More Often
Image credits: 300blkdout
#92 You’re Trying To Get Into The Online Influencer Ambassador Program?! Me Too!
Image credits: Altruistic-Neat-30
#93 Is This A Scam? I Think It Should Be Fine If I Cash The Check First
Image credits: VentusApolox
#94 Did I Dodge A Bullet/Is Buying Reddit Accounts A Thing?
Image credits: Ifyouhav2ask
#95 So My Friend Contacted Me After Months With This… This Is Definitely A Scam Right? And If I Didn’t Give Them Anything Will They Try To Hack Me? I’m Scared Now…
Image credits: sv816
#96 Does This Feel Scammy To You Guys? The Mutual Friends We Have Have No Relation To My Mom
Image credits: Pdubz91