Do you ever watch a movie about a guy pulling a fast one and walking away with millions? Or maybe you see on the news a story about a guy holding up a jewelry store and making off with bags of diamonds. While both of these examples are ways to make money illegally, they both make us fantasize, even for a brief moment, what it would be like to make that kind of money in a short amount of time.
Let’s face it, if you make money the honest way like the majority of us do, you know there are a lot of factors that come into play if you want to be wealthy. You need time since you can’t make a boatload of money overnight. You need to keep your expenses in line too during the years as you your earn an income and you need to save and invest so that your money can grow.
But what if you wanted to make a ton of money quickly. What are you options? Unfortunately, 99.9% of the options don’t follow the letter of the law. Still, it would be fun to fantasize so I came up with this list of 14 ways to make money illegally. Please note that the ideas listed below are for entertainment purposes only and you should not, under any circumstance, actually consider trying any of these out.
But if you are here because you really have considered these ways to make money, stick through to the end. I’ll offer you some options that are legal and that you can actually use to make money (and in some cases rather quickly). With that said, let’s have some fun!
How To Make Money Illegally 14 Different Ways
#1. Rob A Bank
This is a classic option. Get a ski mask and gun and you are pretty much set. Of course, you are pretty much guaranteed of getting caught too. There are just too many things that can go wrong that makes robbing a bank just not worth it. Think about it – you have to figure out the odds of the bank having a decent amount of money on hand (this varies through the week and the year); you have to take into account dye-packs in the bag of money, and let’s not forget all of the cameras.
To make it worth it, you would need to make a huge heist. After you steal the money, you need to launder it so that it cannot be traced back to you, which carries with a whole new set of risks. All the while, you have hundreds of cops and federal agents looking for you and living your life in hiding or always looking over your shoulder when you go out won’t be much fun.
#2. Rob A Convenience Store
Same idea as above, but odds are you are going to have to rob a handful of stores to make anything worth the effort. Most stores now only keep a small amount of cash on hand and you also run the risk of trying to rob from a store that has a worker with a shotgun! I think we’ve all seen the news clips of robberies gone wrong when the robber messes with the wrong clerk.
For a couple of hundred bucks, the risk is not worth it. And even if you do get some cash, there are surveillance cameras everywhere. Odds are they will get a picture of your car, your license plate, your tattoo, something that will make it easier to find you.
#3. Become A Drug Dealer
The higher up the food chain you are, the more money you stand to make. Of course, the higher up the food chain you go, the more heat is on you from the legal side too. As a street dealer, you can make a decent income, but your odds of getting shot and/or killed are pretty high too. Personally, that isn’t worth it to me.
If you want to get off to the right foot, consider this: move to a state that legalized marijuana. Get a job with a company that grows it and learn everything you can. Then move back home and implement the same process, just on a smaller scale. You will increase your odds of success greatly by going this route as opposed to just finding a supplier for you.
#4. Run Your Own Football Pool
This is a much safer option of how to make money illegally than the ones listed so far. You could just run a small pool and take a cut off of the top. If you want more money, you could become a real bookie and take bets on other sports as well.
While it sounds fun to combine money making with sports, if you lose you could be out a ton of money. Another downside is dealing with the deadbeats. You will run into guys that owe you money and aren’t paying. This will result in a lot of work chasing them down, threatening them, physical violence, etc.
#5. Re-sell Forever Stamps
This one is my favorite. Simply buy a bunch of Forever stamps and wait for the Post Office to increase the price. Then you can sell your stamps for a profit. Sounds great right? Three problems: first, you need to buy a ton of stamps to make a good profit, Second, you then need to find buyers for all of these stamps. Lastly, it is completely illegal.
In my mind, if you had the thousands to buy the stamps in the first place, you wouldn’t need these ideas to make money illegally. You could just invest the money in the stock market and have it grow for you without much effort.
#6. Count Cards Playing Blackjack
This one is illegal as well. If you can become good at card counting, you could hit the tables and make some decent money. The problem with this option though is that most casinos are great at catching card counters since there is a routine to how they play and bet. Plus, the house sets horrible odds so the payoff isn’t that great.
If you are going to do this, you have to be smart and do it on a small scale. This is what gets most card counters into trouble. They get tired of small winnings and want to take down the house. When you get greedy, you lose. But with that said, if you want to read a fascinating true story of a guy that took down Atlantic City, check out this story.
There is a better option than card counting. It’s all about taking advantage of streaks and making a boatload of money with little risk. You can learn more here.
#7. Drug Smuggler
Another drug related option for how to make money illegally is to become a drug smuggler. This profession pays very well.You can either do this one on a small scale and be a ‘mule’ by transporting a small amount of drugs across the boarder or you can do it on a large scale and load up your plane or boat and smuggle the drugs that way. Obviously, the larger the quantity you smuggle, the more money you are going to make. And of course if you get caught, you are going to jail.
But even with the threat of prison, the money you could earn from smuggling drugs makes people do it. There are stories almost weekly of the state police pulling over a pickup truck that has a hidden compartment full of drugs.
The good news though is that if you are successful at smuggling, you have a re-occurring income stream as the drug kingpin will keep coming back to you to transport more drugs. The bad news though is that eventually, the odds will catch up to you and you will get caught.
#8. Professional Scammer
When you start scamming people, you will find it very lucrative. And thanks to the internet, there are all sorts of ways you can start scamming people. For instance, you can:
- Pose As Companies: you can send out emails pretending you are from various banks or other companies and request payments for unpaid bills. Without properly doing some background investigating on potential victims, this one is also hit or miss.
- Go The Nigerian Route: pretend you are some rich African businessman who needs help depositing his money. With the word out on this one though, it is tough to make decent money.
- Craigslist: you can scam people all sorts of ways on Craigslist. You could pretend you have concert or sports tickets and sell fake ones. You could meet someone to buy an item and rob them instead. The list goes on and on.
- Investment Scams: Find some people with money and tell them you can get them a 20% return on their money. Once you have a couple people, you can use the money one person gives you to pay the “earnings” to the first person. As long as you keep adding in new clients (and this should be easy once you deliver on the return) you won’t get caught. All the while, you are living a life of luxury and aren’t actually earning any returns for the investors. You are simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. This article will show you how Bernie Madoff got his scam going and what led to his demise.
- Emotional Scams: in this scam, you find someone that is traveling overseas either through word of mouth or based on their social media accounts. You then reach out to their loved ones claiming you are their loved one traveling and you are in need of money and to wire you the money. You’d be surprised at how many people fall for this one.
The good news is that if you are smart about it, you can get away with scamming for some time. Of course, like with all of the other ideas listed, odds are the law will catch up to you.
Loosely related to becoming a scammer is to become a hacker. Send out emails and try to install malware on random peoples computers. Steal their info and then resell it on the black market.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of secretly installing malware on computers and then reselling personal info, you could team up with an organized crime unit. This could net you a decent profit for just hacking into a bank or government. If you are really good and can cover your tracks, you might be able to get away with this one for some time before they catch you.
#10. Buy Alcohol For Teenagers
This one is low on the how to make money illegally totem pole. All you have to do is head over to a college campus and befriend some freshmen and sophomores. Have them give you money and buy them some alcohol. While you could run off with their money (see the scamming idea above) odds are you want to make a decent amount of money this way. So, buy them the alcohol.
If you are reliable, word will get around and you can make some serious money. Just charge them $10 for your service.
Again, you have to be smart about this one too. As word goes around, someone will hear something and that someone might be a cop. That cop may just be waiting at the store the next time you happen to be shopping there.
If you can get good at pickpocketing, you can make some money doing this. However, with more and more people not carrying much cash on them, you are going to have to resort to selling credit card and social security numbers on the black market. If this isn’t of interest to you, then pickpocketing might not be your scam.
But if it is, you need to add a few people to your crew to really get good at it. This will lessen the odds of getting caught while in the act as well as harder to catch after the fact. Here are some cool videos to watch to help you not become a victim of a pickpocket.
#12. Insurance Fraud
Let’s say you get into a car accident. You have some aches and pains. Are you good enough to push through the pain with some over the counter medication or are you seriously hurt and cannot work?
Some people who are able bodied end up taking the seriously hurt route. They scam insurance companies to pay while they sit at home watching television, pretending to be seriously hurt. It sounds like a great way to make money illegally. But insurance companies are smart.
They will send out undercover agents to watch and record you outside of your house. They will knock on your neighbors doors and interview them with questions about you. In other words, if you don’t keep up the charade 100% of the time, you are going to get busted.
Think about it, not only do you have to act seriously hurt without making it look fake, you also have to talk to people like you are hurting. For example, you can’t tell friends or neighbors about the fun things you do or how you have zero pain because they will tell the insurance company. You will have to live a life of lies and that will get complicated really quickly.
People are always looking for a good time and if you are willing to provide that good time, you can make some money. Unfortunately it is illegal most everywhere. And with more people open to having one-night stands, and the ease at finding these people online for free, it is tough finding someone to pay for a good time.
The final option for how to make money illegally is probably your best shot at getting away with it (though you will probably still get caught). A typical embezzlement scenario is the person who handles the billing at a company funneling some extra cash to themselves.
You see this all of the time on the news that someone in the accounting department at a small business was taking money off the top for the last 10 years. They end up taking hundreds of thousands of dollars by simply padding the books.
No one suspects anything because it is usually a nice, friendly, middle-aged woman who everyone thinks is a saint. All the while, she is living an extravagant lifestyle with the money she is embezzling.
Legal Ways To Make Money Quickly
OK, so I noted, you shouldn’t actually try any of the options listed above. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options for making some fast cash. Here are a couple of ideas for you to check out if you really are interested in making some money without a lot of effort.
25 Bets You Can’t Lose: A short digital book that highlights 25 easy ways to trick people out of their money. I’ve had readers email me saying it was the fastest money they ever made. Click here to get your copy.
Fiverr Success: I know, you only make $5 a shot on Fiverr. But what if you were taught how to game the system so that you were making $4,000 a week and putting in minimal effort? Click here to learn how you can do just that.
Wealth Trigger: If you can think like a millionaire, money will start flowing in. Here is a way to learn how to think like a millionaire. Click here to see this in action and get started.
Code of Influence: Getting what you want is all about persuasion and influence. This course will teach you how to be influential so that you can easily make more money than you ever imagined. Click here to learn more.
Easy Money Blackjack: As mentioned before, you can skip card counting and use streaks to make money while playing blackjack.
I hope you enjoyed the fun look at illegal ways to make money. I am sure there are tons more, but these were the ones that interested me the most. Your takeaway here, other than all of these options are illegal and will ruin your life when you are caught is that you will most likely get caught.
You will start off small, making a couple extra bucks here and there. Then you get greedy and want more – a lot more. You get cocky, make mistakes and leave a trail. Eventually you then get caught. It’s not worth the risk.
If you want to make money (and stay out of jail), the old-fashioned route is the best: invest in yourself by getting a good job, live within your means, and invest for the long-term. Boring stuff I know, but it works.
Readers, what would you add to my list on how to make money illegally? The crazier the better!
Hi, my name is Jon and I run Compounding Pennies. I’ve been interested in personal finance since high school and love writing and talking about it. You can learn more about me in the Authors section of this site.