56 Things That People Think Are Giant Scams

There are plenty of seemingly innocent products and services out there that are just elaborate ways of getting you to part with your money. They might not try to bamboozle you as obviously as some spammers and con artists, but underneath all the glitz and glamor, they’re still scams.

Redditors have been sharing their opinions about what things they consider to secretly be giant scams after redditor MelteyReddit asked them to share their thoughts on this. In a viral thread, these redditors touched on everything from baby products and printer ink cartridges to a variety of questionable ‘health’ products and multilevel marketing companies. You could argue one way or the other for some of these, but that’s half the fun.

Check out what these people think are total scams, meant to get you to hand over your hard-earned cash, and upvote the opinions that you agree with as well. Disagree with any of these opinions? Know of any other things that you think aren’t much better than actual scams? Share your thoughts in the comment section. Meanwhile, be sure to read Bored Panda’s in-depth interview with the author of the thread, MelteyReddit.


Anything that says it will detox your body. That's what your kidneys are for.

Image credits: drromancer


This might be unpopular but here goes.... The Catholic church. Currently worth 30 billion, the Vatican has 8 billion in assets . In 2014, it was discovered they were hiding 1.1 billion off the books. Why aren't these funds going to the poor? In 2019 it was discovered the Vatican was heavily invested in unreported luxury apartments.

Then there's the ugly stuff all this money is financing; Until 2014, the age of consent in Vatican city was 12. Yes. Twelve - the lowest age of consent in the world. It was only changed after the pedophilia scandal took hold. Then there's the wide history of evils brought on by the church; the ivory trade, castration of young boys (castrada), the Spanish Inquisition, Holocaust denial, cutting funding for the poor with LGBQ ties and on and on....

The Catholic church provides a thin veneer of "good" for their followers, but for centuries they've been feeding corruption beneath the surface and continue to do so.


The whole baby product industry is based on making parents feel worthless and irresponsible if they don’t shill out for things that will be outgrown or unnecessary in six months.

Image credits: mywifemademegetthis

Redditor MelteyReddit’s question got quite a bit of attention on r/AskReddit. Their thread got 20.2k upvotes and 15.4k comments, while the original poster racked up a whopping 55 awards at the time of writing.

“When I first published my question, I didn't think it would get so much attention. I thought to get a few responses here and there but quickly realized my phone exploded with notifications,” the redditor shared with Bored Panda how they reacted to their post going viral.

“The reason why I think [the question] resonated so well is because it's a very open discussion that can be easily argued about,” they pointed out that there’s quite a bit of nuance in the thread and not everything is as black and white as it seems.


That humans are here to just work and die. No way humans evolved so we can work 5 of 7 days of the week, trying to jam fun in on weekends

Image credits: Visible-Activity2200


Any product that's made by Gwyneth Paltrow

Image credits: lamesas


US healthcare system. I went to the ER a few weeks ago for an unknown pain in my chest and overall shitty feeling. Got slapped with a 1500 bill with what turned out to be viral food poisoning. My brother, who is a doctor, said that was normal. Why the fuck is that normal?!

MelteyReddit personally believes that it’s vital to know where your money is going. “I always try to stay up to date with where my money is going. If you are unsure if something is a scam, you can try looking it up on the internet to see how other people feel about it,” they urged people to do their own background research before purchasing something. What’s more, if your gut says that something’s off, chances are that something fishy is actually going on.

In MelteyReddit’s opinion, there are a few things that stand out and scream that something’s secretly just one big giant scam.

“I think the best way to recognize one is by a few factors, [for example,] if they are really pushy about a product that they wanna sell or if the website design/product design looks fake/rushed. Or if they ask an unreasonable amount of money for their product,” they shared their take on how to recognize hidden scams. “An answer posted a lot on my post was the lottery or casinos. Of course, we can't forget those.”

The author of the post added that they’re thrilled and thankful to everyone who engaged with their thread on r/AskReddit. “I want to thank everyone for answering my post, it means a lot to me!”


Emails and messages from corporates and celebrities that "We are in this together" during the pandemic.

Image credits: northern_light007


Any online course promising to teach you how to make money

Image credits: Sullixio


Funeral services, preying on the grief of loved ones.

I understand that its really for the living to celebrate their lost loved ones, but when I'm done I just want my family to bury my dead ass in the backyard and throw a bash at the house in my honor. Doubt I'll mind considering I'm dead.

Image credits: SingleFunction80

For an earlier article, I’d spoken with one of the mods helping run the r/Scams subreddit, a community that helps support the victims of scams and help inform them about the various ways criminals might try to bamboozle them.

One of the mods told Bored Panda that rudimentary research, education, and preparation all make a huge difference when trying to recognize scams for what they are. Nobody is ever 100% foolproof, no matter how insightful and perceptive they might be, but it’s always better to educate ourselves. Internet scams, in particular, can be more difficult to recognize in some cases because you’re no longer dealing face-to-face with a real-life person.

“When you have a real person in front of you, a typical person will feel shame or guilt at the thought of taking advantage of a person. With the internet, you aren't dealing with a person, but a username and avatar. It is much easier to act maliciously when you don't have a real victim directly in front of you," they explained.


Convincing every high school kid they NEED to go to university. In reality skilled Trades or another specialized school would be the best route for a lot of people, and the pay can be very good.

Image credits: alp1ne


Instagram fitness model meal plans. I cant believe people still pay them a lot of money for cookie cut meal plans and fitness advice. They are literally just pulling shit off of google, copy paste your name, and make you think its personalized for you. Taking advantage of dumb people who are desperate to lose weight. Its pitiful on both sides.


College tuition. I graduated with a B.S. Information Technology and Computer Science. Working at a job and earning just as much as my coworkers who didn’t go to college and earned certifications. They have zero debt, while I’m $40k in the hole.

Image credits: Accurate_Interview10

“Online scams also use a lot of tricks to pressure buyers; low prices, pushes to buy now!, taking advantage of someone's kindness or naivete (re: advance check fraud, money mules, etc), or advertising one product and sending another (or nothing at all, by using a fake tracking number). Getting a person to make a decision via high-pressure tactics and preventing them from reflecting and making a sound decision is key," the mod from r/Scams told Bored Panda earlier.

"If a deal is too good to be true, it is. If you see a pair of brand new Apple AirPods advertised for $50, you are not getting an authentic product. There are many counterfeit items out there on the market, and you need to verify authenticity before hitting buy," they said.

"Not only to avoid contributing to the counterfeit market, but because these knockoff products do not always go through the same safety standards of the real item; they may not be UL certified, they may use chemicals or ingredients that are not FDA approved and are unsafe for use on or in the human body, or could cause major harm to human life or property."


The wedding industry in the U.S.

$20,000 - $30,000 for a single day, stressful-as-hell event. When I learned a photographer alone runs $5000 minimum I almost puked. And a lot of venues didn’t give a shit about covid and hosted packed weddings, resulting in deaths because “wE gOtTa MaKe MoNeY sOmEhOw” Absolute slime balls.

Now before all the vendors dog pile me, let me be clear, I’m fully aware why you guys charge as much as you do. I also hope you understand why an average person like me looks at the price and says hell no.

And for those that want a conventional wedding: If you can swing it, do whatever you want. My wife and I did a Sandals all-inclusive vaca/wedding/honeymoon, which has its own pros and cons but still a no-brainer due to the cost and convenience.

Image credits: CaptainPlummet


Any claim that a 'magic' drink will help you burn fat.

No, no drink or no food can burn that -- that is a pure fabrication.

Image credits: moosejaw110


Ink cartridges for your printer are super cheap to manufacture but the retail price is really high

Image credits: holytaco57


Two-party political systems. They seem to be in opposition to each other but in reality take "donations" from the same entities to further their agendas, so the sense of choice is mostly false in reality.


Organized religion.


Planned obsolescence.


Recycling plastics.

Less than 10% of plastic waste is actually recycled.

Image credits: vitto2point0



All of the casinos in my state are video poker and video slot machines. There are barely any table games left.

No one is happy, no one is having fun. It's just a room full of zombies feeding the machines and losing money. Every person I talk to is convinced that they know the secret formula to win. You cannot win.

It might sound trivial but the old slots were just a spinning reel. These new machines are extremely addictive. The way the lights flash and the sounds go off like: Bing Bing BING. WINNER of 40 cents. The entire thing is a psychology hack to give people the impression that they're winning when they're not.

Image credits: MSFNinja


Trying to look good for men by reading women's magazine articles! Throw those magazines away, take good care of yourself, make the best of what you've got and don't be defined by someone else's expectations of what you should be.

Image credits: KatPrincess88


The five day work week

Image credits: yomommafool


Pretty much anything that says it will enlarge your penis


Apple cables


Companies saying their employees are valuable to them and they care about their employees.


Essential Oils being marketed as having these major health benefits/as treatment for illnesses. The only exception being clearing your sinuses. Some essential oils actually do pretty good work in that regard (at least for me personally... mileage will vary I'm sure).

Image credits: tim_to_tourach


Adulthood because kids think it’s great but it’s not


Adobe’s subscription based monopoly

Image credits: pregnantbaby


Bottled water, looking at you Nestlé




In the US, doing my own taxes. The government literally has all my info and can do it for me, but their excuse is that "but Americans like doing their own taxes!". No. I especially don't like being forced to pay for a service like TurboTax either.

Image credits: turnOn


Supermarket orchids.

They're planted in poor, degrading substrate and need to be repotted asap. But people don't and they die after at most a year, and the cycle continues.


All multi-level marketing companies.

They tell you that all you have to do Is get 5 people to sign up and they each get 5 people to sign up, etc. Except these are not mathematical geniuses running these companies. By the time you get about 12 levels deep, you’ve surpassed the entire population of the Earth. It’s a good lesson in exponents.


The lottery


Eating/drinking raw eggs. The proteins found in eggs only become useful to your body after the structures are changed by applying heat aka cooking them.

There's not only no point choking back a raw egg. You're also absorbing less protein from it than if you were to cook it.

"Cooked eggs have a bioavailability of around 91% for protein, while protein from raw eggs only is 50% bioavailable (Evenepoel et al., 1998)."


Tiktok. They now have an event where they pay you $40 if you refer a friend. It’s clearly selling your private information, but people ask their friends to be referred like crazy.


Insurance, health insurance in particular. The whole concept is pay into a pool on the off chance that something happens you can get some kind of reimbursement which sounds fair on the whole, but is so often bogged down with unfair terms and conditions that many get screwed over. This on top of predatory policies and greedy salespeople means a whole lot of people get fucked over.


Having a royal family. It’s bonkers in this day and age that a country as grown up as Britain has a monarch that costs us all money, just for privilege of having her. A literal Queen, wearing a crown, who believes that she was sent by God to sit on a gold throne. And we have to sing a song asking for her longevity at football games. The royal family are a scam, cost us too much money and are currently harbouring a nonce to boot.


Realtors, probably the most overpaid, under qualified profession. The commission based comp is crippling for some sellers, and if you try to sell on your own (FSBO), they will steer all their buyers away from you.


The "All natural" market/label. Means nothing.


Fifa games




Chiropractors. "The only way I can help is if you come see me 3 times a week for as long as you live."

Image credits: zopea


The entire working economy is a scam. You bust your ass for half of your waking hours, at least, then get told that your work is worthless and you don't deserve basic needs... even though your rich owners are making millions in profit off of your "worthless" labor?



There will be a market for these in some form, but we are hip-deep in the rowdy, scam-filled early days.


Getting a phone call about your cars extended warranty.


non-GMO food

GMOs are safe, we have been unknowingly doing this for thousands of years. Now we just have a more reliable,safe and fast way to do it.


“We’ll pay the sales tax” ads. It’s not even a 10% discount.


Corporate owned apartment complexes tacking on hundreds of extra dollars in monthly fees on top of rent. Mandatory cable TV packages, parking fees (on a flat surface lot, with no assigned parking), valet trash. All a scam and just a way for them to pocket incremental sales on top of rent.


Paying for college in the United States.




I've heard Susan G Koman only gives 20% of donations to cancer research. The rest goes to administrative costs and advertising.


And survey says; Diamonds (but also most jewelry)


All those ads on podcasts. They claim to be a better way to "blank" when in reality they have crazy mark up prices. In my opinion they are middle class traps.


Home Advisor and Angie’s List. Please stop using them. Each time you search for a contractor you generate a “lead” that then goes to a contractor on the network who gets charged a hefty sum for your “lead”, even if you aren’t really serious at all about the project you are looking up. The contractors have to pay for that lead regardless if you talk to them or not. The prices of these leads range between 50-300 dollars.

Here’s where it gets REAL fucky. Both of those companies are owned by the same parent company (IAC) and leads generated on Angie’s list are turned around and sold to multiple other contractors on Home Advisor who also get charged for them even if the job for that lead has already been completed.

Every single thing about these services is a titanic scam and I cannot fathom how these organizations are allowed to exist.


The Graduate record examination (GRE). It predicts only socioeconomic class, not success in graduate school. It’s expensive and stressful, and everyone from psychology to engineering take the same math portion, which COMPLETELY fucks the norms.

Luckily, thanks to covid closing testing centres its being waived as a requirement for psych programs, and it may never come back.