17 unethical — and sometimes illegal — life hacks people use to get ahead in life

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Some people cheat a little to get ahead in life.
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Shutterstock

If you could game the system, would you do it?

Users on the question-and-answer website Quora recently shared their “best” unethical life hacks that could score you everything from free Chipotle to major savings at grocery stores.

But be warned: These hacks are uniformly unethical. Some veer into fraud. They should be regarded as informational and for entertainment purposes rather than as actual suggestions. You shouldn’t do them. If you do them, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Keep reading to see the 17 unethical life hacks.


“Buy an appliance that’s identical to the one you broke, swap them out, and then return the broken appliance for a refund.”

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meddygarnet/Flickr

Jay B.


Take advantage of “grace periods” in ticket-entry car garages.

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416style/Flickr

“Most of these garages will have a grace period so that if you pull in but you didn’t really ‘park,’ you can leave and pay nothing. […]

“Next time you park in one of these garages, grab a ticket like normal and go park. When you’re ready to leave, pull your car close to the entrance, and go push the button to get a fresh entrance ticket, time stamped to that moment (when you’re ready to leave). Then, just go to the exit and put your brand new ticket in the machine or hand it to the person. If you’re within the grace period, you will be charged nothing and you can leave. […]

“Even if you’re a few minutes over, you’re paying for minutes rather than hours or days.”

Anonymous


Weigh all of your fruit as apples at the self-checkout station.

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Flickr / Michael Verhoef

“Go to a self-checkout and weigh [everything] as apples. If you’re worried about getting caught if someone checks, ring up organic [apples] as regular [apples], fuji apples as red delicious, etc. Voila, your grocery bill went down.” – Leigh C.


“Lying about your kid’s age at an amusement park or buffet will get you a cheaper price.”

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Flickr / withvengeance86

Cara T.


Get a free drink at Starbucks by pretending your order was taken.

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REUTERS/Andrew Winning

“Have your friend order a drink at Starbucks and pick up their drink and leave. After a few minutes, have the friend walk to the counter and say they never got their drink so they make another one.” – Cara T.


Eat for free at a major hotel’s free continental breakfast — even if you don’t stay there. Walk in like you belong, take your food, and leave.

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fitri.agung/Flickr

Prince C.


Get free meals at Chipotle by using a debit card without enough money on it.

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Chipotle on Instagram

“According to a manager, Chipotle will let you go with free food if your card doesn’t authorize, because speed/efficiency is crucial to their bottom line.” – Josh R.


“Buy a movie ticket, but plan out the theater’s schedule so you can see multiple movies throughout the day, back-to-back.”

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Karramba Production via Shutterstock

Cara T.


Get a free extra carry-on by asking for the airport gift shop’s gift bag.

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orijinal/Flickr

“For extra carry-ons at no charge, go the airport gift shop and ask for a gift bag, and stuff your stuff into it. Because it looks like you purchased it at the airport, the flight will (allegedly) let you bring it on free, even if it’s over your carry-on limit.” – Josh R.


“Purchase expensive clothing and wear it to an event then return it the next day.”

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tinou bao/Flickr

Jay B.


Read online subscription news for free by deleting the cookies in your web browser.

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“If the site has a limit to the number of articles you can read before requiring a subscription, just delete the cookies in your web browser after you reached your limit. Your count will be restarted.” – Joe R.


Use your college/student ID for discounts ever after you’ve graduated.

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REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Cara T.


Use pennies instead of quarters in coin-slot laundry machines.

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Andrew Maiman/Flickr

“In college we used to have these laundry machines that charge ~$1 (in quarters) to wash/dry a load of laundry. Someone found a hack to flick pennies into the coin slots so it would “hit” the sensor at the back and have a penny count as $0.25. We did laundry for under $0.10 most of the time (instead of $2-3).” – Cara T.


“The best public bathrooms in a city are in the expensive hotels.”

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danperry.com/Flickr

Inam U.


Take advantage of “hidden city ticketing” to get a cheaper plane ticket.

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jtosh/Flickr

This one isn’t so much unethical as it is controversial.

“Instead of buying a ticket for A:B, find a cheaper one for A:B:C and get off at B. Savings can be 30-50%. Airlines really hate this, but there’s not much they can do about it.” – Josh R.

Still confused? Here’s how to do it.


“Take a big pack of toothpaste and hide a toothbrush inside it. You will officially be charged for toothpaste pack and the toothbrush is free.”

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Flickr

Kandarp J.


Steal magazine subscription details from any waiting room or lobby.

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striatic/Flickr

“Go to a dental/medical lobby and take pictures of the account info/address/barcode printed on the magazines. Allegedly, this is all that’s required to access the digital versions online.” – Josh R.