Shady AF: 10 Ways New Yorkers Will Try to Scam You

Straight up with the facts, New York City: Sometimes people suck. At times they can be shady, awful, mean and manipulative. Sometimes, people can be just terrible.

You'd think that transparency wasn't too much to ask for, but then you woke up and realized, "Oh. Still dealing with humans. Sad!"  

Okay, rant over. Keep calm. Not all people are terrible. Nobody's inherently evil or irredeemable, but everybody has the potential in the moment to make a bad decision at your expense.

Take heart, NYC. Find comfort in the fact that not only are there scammers and schemers, but there is a way to potentially learn more about someone giving you the runaround. It's called BeenVerified.

BeenVerified is an incredible service dedicated to helping you discover, understand, and use public data in your everyday life in ways that are easy to manage. 

BeenVerified is an incredible service dedicated to helping you discover, understand, and use public data in your everyday life in ways that fit your lifestyle.

BeenVerified aggregates public record information from multiple sources, providing an easy, one-stop background check service for personal use.

Their services are fast, easy, and affordable. It shouldn't be wildly expensive or complicated to figure out if you've got #StrangerDanger. That's what BeenVerified lives for. 


No, we doubt that anybody is inherently evil. But everybody just happens to have some kind of agenda—good or bad. Here are 11 ways a New Yorker with an agenda will try to scam you.


1. Sell you an umbrella that will break in 13 minutes


If there's a chance of rain, there's a good chance you'll hear this on the steps of Penn Station:

"Umbrella, umbrella! Umbrella, umbrella—don't get wet!"

Which poses an interesting problem: No, you don't want to get wet. You can't rely on scaffolding to protect you, but you don't want to be that person that doles out cash and directly contribute to one of NYC's most damning epidemics: awful side-walkers.

It's one thing to text while walking. It's another thing to walk with an umbrella that's at eye-level with everybody else nearby. It's a whole other thing to be that awful person who texts with an umbrella. You're determined not to be that person.

The person selling you the umbrella doesn't care because they know the secret: no matter how conscientious you are on the sidewalk, that umbrella's not going to live for long. 

2. Trick you into using your last MetroCard swipe on them


It doesn't matter where they're going, but there's almost always going to be someone looking for a swipe. It's not too much of an issue if you've got an unlimited, they catch you on your way out of the subway, and you're not too pressed for time.

But if you've forgotten to re-up your monthly, are sort of in a rush, and somehow get pushed to the brink of tears by someone's story about how they need to get uptown to meet their nephew at the hospital who's getting a transplant for a leg he lost in a track fire, thus giving them your last swipe: you A) probably forgot your headphones because B) you just got scammed. 

3. Act like they want to date you then ghost you


This story is all-too-real. It hits too close to home. No, we're not crying. Stop it. You're crying!

But seriously. Online dating is a sketchy realm of impossibility. You're either limited to what they present on their profiles, or you have to corroborate their in-person narrative with what you've managed to dig up via social media stalking.

You don't need to feel creepy about "Facebook Stalking" if it's someone you don't know in real life. You can potentially discover something about this person that they weren’t disclosing.

Before you get ghosted, make sure your would-be match gets BeenVerified by running a background check. 

4. Sell you a broken dresser on Craigslist


Oh, it's so easy to not realize that your dresser doesn't work the way it should: drawers opening and shutting while standing steadily upright against a wall.

Seriously. We've tried it. It wasn't until the drawer came all the way out that we realized the bottom was held together with duct tape.

5. Give you wrong directions to mess with you (or to pretend they know everything)


Okay, so we're definitely guilty of doing this, too, unknowingly or otherwise. Sometimes you're just a little disoriented and accidentally send someone two avenues North instead of South.

But some people intentionally mix it up saying, "Yeah, it's two blocks South, three avenues East!" knowing full well that you're probably too confused to realize: WAIT. THAT MAKES NO SENSE!

Pro-tip: NYC is a grid system. Avenues run North-South. Streets run East-West. 

6. Upstreaming your cab


This isn't so much a scam as it is just an indication that you're dealing with a miserable person Did they need that cab more than you? That's not a worthwhile question. It. Doesn't. Matter.

7. Trying to convince you Staten Island is a real borough


Oh, bless your soul. 

8. Tell you they need $3 to get to Columbia hospital because their wife is in labor


Spoiler Alert: They're not married. 

9. Advertise the super cheap room available in their apartment as “cozy,” but it’s actually an actual closet


While this "colorful description" is a nuisance, it's not impossible to get solid proof to work around.

With BeenVerified, not only can you run background checks and potentially confirm the identity of the person advertising the apartment, but you can also actually run a background check on the property itself!


You can see the status of the property's owner, inspection details, any misleading info as to whether the apartment is an actual livable place, and if any 19th century family of five was ever brutally murdered there and now haunts it! 

10. Ask you to hold their place in line in Trader Joes for “like 2 seconds” and then they disappear for 30 minutes.


To the lady that did this last week: Welcome to your tape. 

Don't Get Scammed. Check Out BeenVerified Right Here

[Feature Image Courtesy Crains New York] 

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