People Describing the Craziest Scams They’ve Pulled or Seen Pulled

Here’s a lengthy collection of people on Reddit telling stories about the scams they either pulled or saw someone pull.  A few examples:

Faking Car Theft for the Insurance Payoff

Right after high school a friend of mine hit a pole thus messing up his car. He didn’t have the money to get it fixed and he knew his insurance didn’t cover it, but it did cover theft. So he reported the car stolen, hid it in the garage so the cops wouldn’t see it. That night at like 4am he had another friend follow him out into the middle of nowhere and he left his car in a ditch. Got a ride home. Two days later he got a call that his car had been found but it was damaged. Insurance paid for it. – via momadance

Selling Public Parking Spots

My father had a couple of cousins who lived in New York. They had this thing going in the 50s or 60s (the family lore is unclear on the dates) where, on the afternoon of Yankees games, they would get some pylons, block off a side street near the stadium, and charge people to park there, filling up the street bumper-to-bumper. They did this for quite a while. One day they told someone who drove up the price (must have been a dollar or two at the time) and the guy started arguing with them, som ething like this: “No, you have to pay to park here.” “You don’t have to pay to park on a public street.” “Yes you do. C’mon, pay up.” “Well, I’m a policeman, and I know you don’t.” At that point the two guys ran off and hid in someone’s chicken coop for a while. When they got back to the street, all the cars they had parked there had parking tickets. So they took all the tickets off the cars, threw them in the sewer, and went home. I wish I could say that that kind of ballsiness was genetic. – via mattbin

Mini-Golf Fraud

In high school my friends and I would frequent the local arcade/mini-golf course called “Putt-Putt.” One day my buddy Dan and I were leaving after playing some arcade games and I turned to him and said “Hey, what do they do with the tickets after you turn them in for prizes?” we both turned our heads towards the dumpster in the parking lot. We open the dumpster and find bags and bags full of tickets that had been turned in for prizes. So we started checking regularly for these bags and hoardi ng them in my parents’ garage. Eventually I think someone realized and they started shredding the tickets.
Then we got greedy… We figured we needed MORE tickets (we had about 100,000 at this point). So one day Dan and I were back at the arcade . We noticed that they kept the keys that open the machines on a nail behind the counter. There were only two high school students working at the time. So we devised a plan. I was to distract one of them while the other was busy and Dan would steal t he keys. So I complained that a machine had taken my tokens and Dan nabbed the keys. We excitedly walked out of the arcade. In the parking lot I turn to him and go “wait dude, we can’t leave! we were the only ones in there, if we leave now, they’ll k now we took the keys.” “You’re right, we have to go back” he said. So we went back in and played it cool and later left. Now that we had the keys, we would get in the Jurassic Park game which was one of those enclosed booth type games. There we could open up the coin box and get as many free tokens as we could use. We would also open the skee-ball and other ticket games and remove entire rolls/stacks of tickets. So anyways, at this point we had hundreds of thousands of tickets saved up . So finally one day, we load over a dozen garbage bags full of tickets in to my white child molester van (that shit was actually the awesomest car to have in high school) and went to the arcade to redeem some prizes. We stroll in there cocky as shit carrying bags of tickets and start dumping them on the counter like that scene from “Miracle on 34th St.” We got every single prize they had. Seriously, we cleaned them out. It was the same two stupid high school kids working that day, so they either never figured it out, or just didn’t care. Prizes included like 5 razor scooters, all of the candy and little toys, a crap load of nerf guns and an N64. – via journeymanSF

Magic Trick Con (Not Illegal, But Still a Hustle)

Me, at band camp tryouts in middle-high school.  I always carried around a deck of cards. I would scope out small groups of kids from other schools, then ask them if they wanted to see a magic trick (yes, explicitly a magic trick). I would do a simple card force (i.e., asked them to pick a card, any card, but I knew exactly which card they would pick), and then shuffle up the deck. I would then theatrically deal out the deck in a random pattern until the card they had picked was on the table, then deal out one or two more cards. I would then declare “I bet each of you FIVE DOLLARS that the next card I turn over will be your card.” Almost every kid would take the bet, some would even raise me. I would turn over the forced card on the table, take their money, and move on. Made $100 a day at band tryouts from people who thought I messed up a magic trick. – via heptadecagram

What’s the craziest scam that someone you know has pulled? [via Reddit]