If the last decade was dominated by scammers, 2022 ushered in the era of the cheat. Less elegant, less contrived, and alarmingly more desperate, the year’s cheaters scurried to eat the crumbs of any pie they could get their hands on. Some cheated in sports, others in the game of love. All were incredibly amusing, none were particularly well thought out.
The 2010s had Anna Delvey, Fyre Festival, the college admissions scandal, and Theranos—all elaborate schemes that earned the schemers their own retellings on various streaming platforms. And while I was certainly amused by this year’s fraudulent affairs, they weren’t really intricate enough to carry a seasonal arc. But just because they won’t be on television in the near future doesn’t mean they weren’t entertaining to watch unfold in real time
I don’t know if it was the wear and tear of the pandemic that took the spark out of all the world’s aspiring scammers. Maybe too many high-profile ones were caught and ridiculed, swaying potential young charlatans from entering the arena. Maybe people just realized that you didn’t need to get Ja Rule involved to make money off of people and that slipping weights into the bellies of fish would do the trick. Whatever caused this seismic shift and intellectual downgrade in the con artists industry, has been duly noted. Of course, I don’t expect that to stop people from trying to swindle us in 2023. But before that begins, here are the dumbest and most delectable cheats of 2022.