Home Sales Customers Who Attempted Shameless Scams & Got Caught Red-Handed

Customers Who Attempted Shameless Scams & Got Caught Red-Handed

Darren June 7, 2022

They say that the customer is always right, but there are a lot of employees who will confirm that this isn’t always the case. Some customers are terrible and will attempt all sorts of scams in an attempt to exploit unsuspecting businesses. That’s why it’s important for staff to be aware of the different tricks they may attempt.

Today, we’ll look at a range of stories where people tried to shamelessly scam different workplaces. The audacity of some customers is incredible but also very entertaining, so check out these strange stories via Buzzfeed, Reddit, and other sources below.


50. Empty Envelopes

One bank advisor told Reddit that they dealt with a spate of empty envelopes. Nstal_ said: “Basically that’s when someone goes to the ATM, puts in an empty envelope, and claims there’s $$$ in it when there’s not. It almost immediately freezes the account for fraud. Don’t do it lol.”

This is the type of scam that people think may work but doesn’t in real life. It’s always going to end badly because a bank machine can identify currency from regular paper. Therefore, it will always end badly for the scammer.

Sneaker News

49. Air Jordans

Some people don’t think about what they’re doing. One Redditor revealed that somebody tried to scam their store but they failed in the process. They said: “Had one guy who had claimed fraud a few times, try again for several hundred dollars at a Nike store. Claimed it was a fraud but was wearing his brand new Air Jordans.”

Don’t wear the stolen products when trying to scam a business. That’s a standard rule for any would-be thieves out there but this idiot didn’t get the message. Perhaps he was testing the alertness of the store because he didn’t think they’d notice. In the end, it didn’t work out for him.


48. Company Scam

Sometimes, even proper companies attempt to defraud other businesses. One worker claimed that they deal with this type of situation all of the time. They said that sometimes their clients buy something but forget about it for a long time. Then they try to bring it back with questionable means.

Wild_Alaskan said: “Most of the customers I deal with are other businesses. It’s not uncommon for them to order something, then put it on a shelf and forget about it for 10 years. Then, when they clean out that shelf they’ll try to return the part as if they bought it yesterday.”

The Spruce

47. Lock Up

This storage unit manager revealed that they sometimes dealt with non-paying customers. In one case, a unit sat idle for several months before the customer came and demanded they open it. They claimed that the company had no right to keep their belongings and threatened legal action.

LastPhoenixFeather said: “I had the immense pleasure of telling her to her face “No. Also, to be a customer you have to have PAID ME. Right now you’re just trespassing.” The worker couldn’t believe the audacity of the scam because they thought that they would get away without paying a dime.


46. Monopoly Money

One Redditor revealed that a child came into her shop to buy milk. He cried because he said that he fell and hurt his knee. That he paid for the drink with a $20 bill before leaving. A few minutes later, the pharmacy owner came in and said that a child did the same thing with a counterfeit bill.

LolsyByrne said: “I opened my till and sure enough there was a fake note in my till. Wasn’t even the right blue color and felt like Monopoly money. I didn’t notice because I was more concerned about the little boy being hurt.” Later CCTV footage revealed that several children participated in the scam.

Marketing Donut

45. Poor Treatment

Sometimes people claim that employees mistreated them and behaved horribly. This restaurant worker said that someone claimed their manager acted in a racist manner toward them. However, there was a serious flaw in their cover story.

MiddleAgeThreat said: “I was managing a restaurant on the open shift, and a guy called to complain about his treatment the night before. His story made no sense, then he said, “and the manager was a racist who would not help me because I am (race x.) “I said, “that is weird because the manager last night is (race x) too!”


44. Take a Picture

There are horror stories about customers who try to return clothes after wearing them. But what about used tableware? One individual tried to do so after using them for a party. They said that their plans fell through and that they cleared it with the manager.

But they didn’t realize that they were speaking to the manager at that point. MyMeatPuppets said: “I pulled out my phone, asked the customer to please standstill, and took their picture. The customer actually smiled at me! I then directed this person to pick up their stuff and get out of my store with no refund or exchange.”


43. Dairy Queen

Nobody can predict who will try to scam a business. A Dairy Queen worker claimed that an affluent-looking lady attempted to trick the business into making food that they “forgot to deliver.” However, there was no record of her order and she lied about knowing their phone number.

CrabBlue6 said: “‘my manager will be in soon. You’re welcome to stop by in a few minutes and talk to her.’ And, she never came back. The thing that always gets to me though, is that this lady was not poor. Like she was a classy-looking white lady driving a nice car, so what’s the point of scamming?”


42. Cancelled

This person worked for an ISP with a 30-day money-back guarantee. One customer allegedly canceled their purchase on the 29th day multiple times. They tried to scam the system but they didn’t read the fine print. If they had they would have realized that they’re only allowed to do this once in 12 months.

BW_Bird said: “The company sent him a letter (which he apparently never read) that told him they were going to back charge him all but five of those months- which still left him with a few hundred dollars to pay off. When he called and demanded to know why we had this rule to which I said “Because we’re not stupid, sir.”

Money Talk News

41. Too Greedy

Here’s an example of what happens when a scammer takes it too far. They had the perfect plan that worked well multiple times but in the end, they got too greedy. The adrenaline must have gone to their heads.

This Redditor revealed the fraudster’s tactics: “Go to the store, buy an item, and have a receipt. Go home. Go back to the store a day or two later, browse around, take the SAME ITEM off the shelf and go to the counter to ‘return’ it with the valid receipt from the previous purchase. She got away with it for a long time till she got too greedy.”

Food and Wine

40. Wrong Color

In this case, a dubious shopper almost pulled off the perfect scam. They bought a bottle of wine by sticking a fake barcode onto a $185 bottle of red wine. The new price was about $4 but it was for a bottle of 150ml Chardonnay – a white wine. This was the trickster’s downfall because it alerted the worker.

They challenged the scammer but they ran out of the store. However, the Redditor admitted that they could easily have gotten away with it. Shadow125 said: “The crazy thing is – if she had simply used a barcode from a Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz ($15 low-end Penfolds 750ml red) I doubt that I would have actually noticed!”

Screw Fix

39. Cleaning Mishap

Businesses understand that if customers suffer an injury on their premises they may be stuck with a lawsuit. That’s why there are always ‘Caution – Wet Floor’ signs in shopping malls. At least if they fall, there’s a sign they can point to and say that they’re not liable.

One Redditor worked as a cleaner in a mall when a customer claimed to have fallen when there was no warning sign. They said: “Upon watching the CCTV footage, it showed her moving a yellow warning sign away and then laying down on the floor and suddenly acting as if she had just slipped.”

Jakarta Post

38. Stamp Duty

Nobody likes to spend money on stamps. This is especially a problem when the package is big and bulky. One sender tried to pull off a scam but it didn’t work. Cpeery7 said: “Tried to mail a very large 14-pound box as a small 9-ounce envelope. We immediately sent it back with hefty postage due.”

Maybe on another day, a postal worker wouldn’t register the discrepancy. But most of them are professional and know exactly what every package will cost. This moronic individual received an expensive bill that rubbed salt into the transaction.

Embassy Cleaning

37. Laundry Fee

Here’s another brilliant scam that works as long as it isn’t overdone. But of course, fraudsters don’t know when to stop and continue to skim the same businesses. That’s always the fatal flaw in their tactics because the business eventually realizes what’s going on.

Lookssharp wrote: “There was a scam where someone would come in and hand me a receipt and say something like I had to get dry cleaning done on my uniform because someone spilled on it last time I was here. Your boss said you would pay for it. The same people tried it multiple times.”

First Quarter Finance

36. Stolen Checks

Another person explained that a scammer tried to change the routing number of a check while he was standing in front of them. For some reason he didn’t think that they’d have a problem with this. However, he was more stupid than malicious and they threw him out.

This Redditor described the ridiculous situation. They wrote: “He literally had me stand there and he was like “let me change this to a 5” and then he tried to scribble the routing with a pen. He got banned from the store and later apprehended by security. They were stolen checks and he was dumb as a rock.”


35. Roof Repair

One ridiculous story saw an oncologist lock a repairman on the roof. Then he searched for the purchase order and destroyed it before releasing the worker. The maintenance man printed a new quote but the doctor accused him of double-charging. Then he even called the police on the hapless individual.

“This is a well-respected doctor held up as a pillar of the community,” Pencilowner explained. “I have seen similar things happen at other clinics. I think they assume it’s a shrewd business in their minds but it’s often just bullying and deception.”


34. Tempered Glass

One worker installed a section of tempered glass on a meat case. Then the manager came over and said that they chipped it and demanded a new one for free. Meanwhile, this was tempered glass that immediately shatters if the integrity is compromised.

“No one, literally no one, not even the manager claiming it, can find any damage to the glass,” Cyanora explained. “She keeps emailing us and her higher-ups that she wants a new piece of glass, and she wants it for free, but keeps forgetting to ask us to remove the old piece of glass because she wants a freebie.”

Tech Pinions

33. Personal Laptops

One tech worker revealed many new staff members attempt to pass off their laptops as work appliances. This rarely ends well because it’s unlikely that they’ll receive expensive tech from the company. In the end, they just appear greedy.

RogueAntics wrote: “Okay, your 8-year-old laptop running Vista with literally hundreds of pirated videos and music with pictures of cats as the desktop, and taped up charger… Yes just how the company gave it to you considering you only started a year ago.”

Money-Saving Central

32. Bargain Buy

“Any time there’s a sale in one department,” Fragmented-Rooster wrote. “It’s an absolute guarantee that a few people each day will rip the sale stickers of discounted clothes and stick them to full-priced ones. Then they get upset and angry when we call them out.”

This is a common scam but that doesn’t make it right. The problem is that sometimes people make a genuine mistake and it’s awkward for everybody. In the end, the employees pay out of their pockets if they make a mistake that cost the business money.

Spark Recipes

31. Cheese Scam

People try to take advantage of every situation. It doesn’t matter how petty it may seem. One person explained that they even experienced attempted fraud while they sold steak and deep-fried cheese on sticks.

The Redditor explained: “A common scam was people would quickly scoop out the gooey, hot cheese, then accuse me of selling them hollow cheese on a stick, and demanding a refill. The thing is if the cheese did fall out of the breading, there would be hot cheese floating around the fryer, and the coating would deflate.”

The Guardian

30. Clearance Items

Here’s a first-hand account of a family trying to scam a clothing store. A mother and her children spent a long time in a changing room as they removed the original tags on the items. Then they attempted to buy everything for free but the worker realized what was going on in the end.

Inkwell_Jade wrote: “They would cut the clearance tags off of clothing items that were actually on clearance and reattach them using a tagging gun they presumably owned. I realized they switched tags when I typed in the UPC code from the inside of the clothing pieces instead of scanning the generic clearance ticket.”

Dough Roller

29. Receipt Scam

It’s amazing the lengths that some people will go to scam a business. Here’s a situation that ended after grocery store staff realized what was happening. In the end, they threatened to call the police on the suspect but it took a few times to figure it out.

“Lady would look in the outside trash for receipts, get a cart and find all the items and wander around the store until shift change,” the Redditor explained. “Then she’d come up to a register and claim she was returning all the products because her mother had gone shopping earlier and gotten the wrong things.”

Dreams Time

28. Free Latte

Some men have a weakness for beautiful women. One woman used her assets to her advantage in a coffee franchise. She successfully scored free drinks by tricking male staff at busy times.

Leona_Faye wrote: “There was a lady coming into a coffeehouse in NoVA to score a free latte. Bent over strategically to show the girls off to the male cashier, using a receipt from two towns over. It was always a busy day. It unfortunately worked.”


27. Permission From Customer Service

Sometimes customers try to scam a business but don’t do their due diligence. They attempt to bluff their way into a fake refund or to get something for free. But then they encounter the real manager or customer service after claiming that they had permission.

“A lady used to damage goods and then ask for discounts,” this Redditor explained. “Another would go into the back storage and look for things to steal. I caught her and told her to leave, she said that she had permission from customer service. It was nice to explain to her that no she didn’t have permission from them because I was customer service.”


26. Stolen Goods

One garden center worker explained that sometimes they couldn’t do anything about scams. If the police didn’t come in time then they wouldn’t be able to hold a person against their will. It meant that the person could escape before the authorities arrived.

This Redditor said: “We once had a guy steal some expensive equipment by walking right out into the garden center during the middle of the day, push the items underneath a weak part of the fence, go back through the store and drive away. There was nothing we could do about it besides calling the police.”


25. Gas Station Scammer

Occasionally, people deliberately make the wrong decision because they want to sue the service provider. Gas station attendants must stay attentive because people will use the wrong fuel and claim it wasn’t their fault. They may even attempt to take legal action against the gas station.

One Redditor revealed that a lady put diesel into her gas car. They wrote: “I told her not to put that in that she needed regular gas and she said she knows what she’s doing. Her car broke down just a few minutes away and then she tried to sue the gas station. Also had a customer there use our air pump on their tires and overfilled their tires and their tires popped they also tried to sue us for it.”

Farm and Dairy

24. Stolen Item Claims

“Working as an internet installer you’ll often have people call in claiming that you stole something of high value (iPhone, jewelry, etc) even if they don’t have that item in their possession currently just so they can scam the company into “reimbursing” them for the stolen item,” Gumgumrun wrote on Reddit.

This is an idiotic scam because there is little verification for them to prove that somebody stole something. If this happens, the police will check everybody that was at the house. If it isn’t on their person at the time it’s impossible to say they have taken the belongings.

Oregon Live

23. Green Dot Scam

A 7-11 worker revealed that one common scam involved fake Green Dot staff. These people rang the store and pretended to be a representative. Their attempts to hack the cash register were as subtle as a slap across the face. Needless to say, the store developed a policy to deal with these attempts.

“You were supposed to read the card information over the phone, which would allow them to basically hack the register,” a former worker explained. “I got a call one evening and told him he would need to come into the store, which is exactly what I was supposed to do. Not exciting, I know, but it did feel really good to thwart his attempt.”


22. Venmo Scam

While it’s not good to scam any businesses, many people think it’s not as bad if it’s a big corporation. They can handle a certain amount of losses because of the larger scale of their operations. But it’s completely immoral to steal from an independent store that struggles to keep its doors open.

“I’m a small independent business and yesterday someone tried to pay via Venmo and pretended to scan my phone,” Pamplemousse wrote. “She said, “okay paid you!” And then just zoomed away. Took a couple of seconds to realize she didn’t actually pay me. It was for an over $100 transaction too.”


21. Quick Change Scam

The quick-change scam is a classic that may work if the employee isn’t alert. In short, the customer pays with a large bill but then quickly asks to change it into smaller notes. The idea is to trick the worker into giving back too much change and leaving with a profit.

“I loved the one time I was there when someone tried that at my coffee shop in New York,” a Redditor revealed. “My coworker at the register listened to this entire routine and then handed him exactly the correct change, closed the drawer, and started helping the next customer in line. The dude looked flabbergasted and just walked out.”

The Spruce

20. Pot Plants

It’s amazing the efforts that people will go to to save money. One wild story on Reddit explained how a woman dug up some pot plants. Then she swapped them with more expensive flowers including the soil. It’s a significant amount of work, but she didn’t escape unnoticed.

The Redditor said: “She thought she got away with it until I told her the total was $50 something. She argued up and down they were only a dollar until my manager walked up like a boss and told her ‘you know what you did mam.’ I guess he saw the whole thing on camera and came to confront her.”

Fancy District

19. Buffet Value

A hotel buffet chef explained how two men gamed the system in style. Technically, they didn’t illegally scam the hotel because they didn’t break the rules. But they took advantage of the buffet in a way that most people wouldn’t bother. In short, they had all of the time in the world.

TheLilbel wrote: “Two older gentlemen came in right at 10, got a bunch of food and ate it, and then sat at their table for around 3 hours, just talking. When it was near closing time, they got some more food, sat down, and ate some more while chatting. 2 meals for the price of 1. Genius.”


18. First Sip

Few customers like when a bartender underfills a drink. However, some customers take advantage of this with a common scam. One worker revealed that they dealt with patrons pretending this happened all of the time. But they didn’t have any patience for their lies and nonsense.

The Redditor wrote: “I used to work in a couple of different bars and the common trick was: customer orders a beer, I serve them, they “subtlety” take a sip and then ask for it to be topped up “because the foam died down”. Loved refusing those people, telling them that they didn’t have a problem when they took their first mouthful.”

The Times

17. Gaming Workshop

It turns out that there are scams in every type of workplace. Even innocent hobby stores receive their fair share of problems. Here’s a story of a fraudster who tried to trick a Games Workshop into returning a product. But the fool didn’t realize that they’d check the item properly first.

Neverthesanagain wrote: “Guy returned a tank model still shrinkwrapped. The shrinkwrap was a different quality than what comes from the factory. Opened it up, and he had filled the box with empty sprues (the plastic frames that you cut the model part off of). Banned him from GW and it got around to other gaming stores as well.”

Guam Daily News

16. Wrong Receipt

Some customers attempt to pull off an inexplicable scam. In this case, a man tried to return an item to a service station. The employee asked to see their receipt and the individual handed it over. But the problem was that it was from Burger King. When the worker refused to refund them, the customer called the police.

According to the service worker: “The guy outside looked so smug until I explained what happened and they left. They fined the guy for wrongfully calling emergency services. He yelled at me after the cops left that he’s never coming back or spending his money here ever again. He came in two days later to buy Juul pods.”


15. Milk Scam

Most of these scams are unbelievable despite real people being involved. Amazingly, grown adults still try to pull off these stunts. Some of them are so childish, it’s ridiculous. Then when the staff challenges them, they refuse to back down.

One convenience store worker described a crazy situation with one man. They wrote: “He said that his wife bought milk the night before when we didn’t have milk for 5 days. He had no receipt and was trying to scam us out of a gallon of milk. He made a scene and everything.”

The Post-Crescent

14. Live Mouse

One Canadian liquor store worker had a wild story. They said: “One day this guy and his brother, I think, tried returning a bottle of Elsinore that had a live mouse in it! They were citing some gibberish about legal precedent in Canadian law to get free beers. I suggested they both go to Elsinore themselves to get a refund, else I put them in a bottle!”

Imagine trying to convince a store worker that you found a mouse in their liquor. It’s insane that they thought they could get away with this but they tried. In the end, they didn’t get their refund because the worker wasn’t stupid enough to buy it.


13. Dodgy Return

One common scam sees people buy an item and take the receipt home. Then they return to the store with the receipt before picking the same item off the shelf. Sometimes they can trick the worker into refunding them. However, one individual tried to pull this off without any receipt at all.

“The thing they tried to return was Polaroid film, something we stocked but literally never sold,” PaintedLady5519 wrote. “I know, I dusted it weekly. When denied, tried to say his wife would come after us? Don’t know how that was supposed to be a threat.”

NBC News

12. Return Policy

Some stores have lax return policies. These don’t make life easy for their workers because they have to deal with people who are constantly trying to scam them. Here’s a horrible situation where the staff member knew exactly what was happening. It’s a disgusting story but it says a lot about the customer too.

The Redditor said: “Basically gave me enough trash and empty bags of chips to ring up a $120 refund, they tried to buy a Visa gift card with it, but you can’t buy a gift card with store credit. I still feel like the loser in this because I had to handle what was basically rotten trash.”

Mail Service

11. Small Packages

Here’s another situation where a postal worker dealt with people trying to scam the system. They worked in a mail center where they sorted packages according to their size. It’s always noticeable when senders stick the wrong stamp onto a large package.

Mail workers know the weight just by holding the item. The Redditor wrote: “The way we define a small parcel and a parcel is if it’s bigger than a shoebox or over 3kg. Always peaks around Christmas where we’ll get a couple of boxes that are twice the size of a shoebox with the small parcel label stuck on it.”


10. No Fries

It’s a common gripe that fast-food chains don’t give customers enough fries these days. But it still takes a lot of courage to bluff a worker into thinking that they forgot to give them fries at all. One person couldn’t believe that a customer succeeded with a ridiculous scam.

CoolHandLoser said: “He quickly ate his fries and came back and said we gave him food without the fries. Had to give him a free meal so it worked.” Unfortunately, the staff couldn’t prove that they had already given him the fries. So he unfortunately got another meal in the pettiest win of all time.


9. Grandma’s Diapers

GoldenSaintBlue told an insane story about a man who tried to return his grandmother’s diapers. It takes a special type of person to attempt this kind of stunt. It’s a foul story but the individual didn’t succeed.

The Redditor wrote: “Apparently, his grandmother died the night before and his first thought was to return her adult diapers. No receipt. I called the manager over and she looked it up in the system and there were no sales on that item at any point in the last three months he spoke of. We got rid of him shortly after.”


8. Chai Latte

Some customers try to scam the staff but they don’t realize that they’re walking into a trap themselves. This is always the case when the store doesn’t have an item in stock for a while. A scammer pretends that they bought it without realizing that was impossible.

“Way back when I was a barista, we ran out of chai mix one day, which was a bummer,” TinyPiecesOfYarn wrote. “So it was fun when an irate man came up and said he ordered his chai latte 10 minutes ago and we must have forgotten, or someone else took it from the counter.”

Daily Record

7. Amazon Abuse

Amazon is notorious for treating its staff badly. So it’s silly of customers to think that the company would bend over backward to look after them. One common scam sees would-be buyers claim that they ordered something but it never arrived. A former worker explained how they deal with potential fraudsters.

They said: “At some point, they flag your account and will prevent refunds/replacements. The system even keeps track of account information and will automatically tag any new account made with any of the same information as a concession abuser.”


6. Doubling Down On A Scam

Part of pulling off a successful scam is being confident. A stressed KFC worker explained how one man queued for 15 minutes before making a complaint. The store was extremely busy so it was only chance that he realized that the fake customer tried to trick him.

According to the worker: “He demanded to know why there wasn’t cheese on his Double Down, and that he wanted a new one. I didn’t like having people scream at me, so I was about to apologize until I looked at the box. This is KFC, that’s a Burger King container. They’re down the street.”

TBM Group

5. Insurance Fraud

Insurance underwriters deal with attempted fraud every day. Clients always try to game the system because they want to make some money. But their attempts to scam the company usually fail because they see the same things happen all of the time.

The Reddit user wrote, “You would be amazed how many people take out their first-ever contents insurance policy, and then two days later a pipe leaks right above their box of priceless collectibles (which are now unrecognizable due to the water, of course).”


4. Blatant Lies

One repairman revealed that some customers try to get out of paying by claiming that he didn’t do the job. They send a picture from before the task as supporting evidence. That’s why he always takes a photo before and after he completes the assignment so nobody can lie.

Furthermore, the demographic is shocking because it’s not who he expected. He said, “The scammers are surprisingly rich folks living in big houses, so you would think they could easily afford a few hundred but they try to scam us and make me look bad anyhow, without care of what these accusations could do to me.”


3. School Friends

A cinema worker dealt with their fair share of garbage customers throughout their tenure. One of them claimed to be a student but was unable to display their ID on request. Needless to say, this didn’t help their case, but they bravely continued to try and scam the worker.

The worker said, “I told him that because of that I couldn’t give him one. He then says “Come on, Poizunman! We went to high school together!” I didn’t recognize him and my school was super small. So I ask him which high school it was and needless to say, he got it wrong.”

Robert Rolih

2. Hairy Food

Nobody wants to find hair in their food. That’s why restaurant staff will usually oblige when a customer demands a refund or a free meal when this occurs. However, sometimes unscrupulous fraudsters take advantage of this. That’s why the staff must stay alert.

One worker revealed that they gave a refund to a woman after she allegedly discovered a long brown hair in her food. But then they noticed: “there were only two people working in the kitchen that day: a guy with REALLY short hair and a redhead with MUCH longer hair than the one in the burger.”

Healthy Children

1. Tanning Salon

This final entry shows how stupid people can be. “I worked at a tanning salon and believe it or not people actually steal those little towels!” JimmyBear09 wrote. “It’s hilarious because it’s not like the employees don’t know who does it, because immediately after they leave the employee has to clean the bed.”

The audacity of some people is unbelievable because there’s no way for them to get away with it. This is the type of behavior that affects businesses in a very negative way because it all adds up. But some customers don’t care and try to scam them anyway.