5 Ways Free iPhone Games Con You Out of Your Money

#2. It's All About Siphoning a Little at a Time

One technique credit-card scammers like to use is skimming off small amounts of change from accounts, or "micropayments," knowing that people won't notice it at first. You only realize you got screwed when the money starts to add up. If you play Candy Crush, you might be familiar with that feeling.

Ashley Feinberg/gizmodo.com
A nose-candy crush saga is a cheaper habit.

Carnival games run a similar racket: When you're spending a buck to toss balls in Hitler's mouth, you feel like it's nothing ... until you leave the park realizing that you dropped $50 doing it over and over again (and you didn't even win the stuffed elephant). With a carnival it's perfectly legal to prey on that financial optical illusion, so thank goodness we're not all walking around with carnie grifters in our pockets, huh?

"All that's missing is the pee stench; that's a dollar extra."

Oh, that's right ... we sort of are doing that. This is why perfectly smart people will blow hundreds of dollars on Candy Crush -- our addiction to the game plus the small prices and the unprecedented convenience of it all essentially allow us to pull micropayment scams on ourselves. The app just has to sit back and watch us make a fool. Why do you think you get charged only every $10 or so, as seen above? Because that way it's much easier to forget that you've gone from "Well, it's just the price of a small burger" to "I could have had a lobster dinner with this."

You might say that the entertainment you get out of these games is still worth the price, and you might even be right, if it wasn't for the small fact ...

#1. They Get You to Pay More by Making You Feel Like Shit

Any fraud helpline or website will tell you that a con artist's primary tool is the ability to victimize you based on your own ego, neediness, or self-esteem. Desperate and/or greedy people make worse decisions -- and the more con artists can play themselves up while hammering their target down, like Mario murdering a goomba, the more money ejaculates out of the mark. Huh, that Mario analogy worked out better than we thought.

Incidentally, take a look at how Kardashian's dating simulator rejects you for not wearing the right outfit:

Glu Games
Cosby sweater was a poor choice for the sex tape level.

You're basically being told how terrible you look in the meanest way possible so you have to go buy more clothes, which of course will end up costing you money. We'd be shocked if it weren't for the fact that the game's first mission is for your character to give Kardashian something for free.

Glu Games
"I mean, I have all this extra cash now from the morons playing my g- uhhh, never mind."

From there she offers you a gig for your troubles -- effectively establishing that the more offerings you freely deliver to this B-list celebrity, the more reward there will be. Luckily, there's an app specifically designed to help boost your self-esteem so things like this don't happen! And because it's aimed at people who already feel bad about themselves, of course it's $50.

"Or $99.99 for PREMIUM self-esteem!"

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