I Got Scammed So You Don’t Have To

AKA, scams I have known

Cate Vegas
The Bad Influence
Published in
12 min readSep 8, 2020


Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Learn from the mistakes of others. — Literally Everyone

When you work on the internet, inevitably you run into some scams. This post is a Public Service Announcement to help you determine whether someone may be genuine or is attempting to scam you out of your money. Whether you’re an Influencer, employee, or just trying to scroll through social media, there are some genuinely good offers but most often if you think it might be a scam, it is.

The biggest problem here is that the onus is on you as the consumer to be educated and stay away from scams since our U.S. legal system provides absolutely no protection to you from scammers. Seriously, none. I’ve tried everything to get recourse after being scammed, including escalating charges to PayPal, Amazon, and my bank, putting marks on businesses through BBB, and even contacting the police, the FTC, and the SEC. Plus, most of the scams seem to be China-based/ non-U.S., which gives you even less recourse.

1– The IRS Phone Scam

This was the worst scam I’ve been involved in and definitely common. As a small business owner for many years, my business is required to make quarterly payments to the IRS in anticipation of quarterly profits.

I received a call while I was at lunch from a man with an East Indian accent, claiming to be from the IRS and saying I needed to pay X amount of dollars immediately or I would be taken to jail. Now I believe my mail was stolen, and that’s how the thieves got the accurate amount that I owed for the quarter. I was terrorized on the phone for over an hour until I put $500 on an iTunes gift card at a 7-Eleven nearby.

The $500 wasn’t enough to pay the balance, and after I hung up and calmed down, I realized other things didn’t add up. How did he know he was talking to the right person? How would an iTunes gift card settle a U.S. tax debt? I called a lawyer friend of mine, who assured me that was not how the IRS operates — scary as they may be.

By the way, in attempting to recover my money, I actually called Apple and asked iTunes if they would refund me. They agreed I was scammed and even looked up what the scammers purchased with the card. However, they wouldn’t…