In the '90s, my dad was conned into paying extra for digital cable service when he only had an analog TV and the signals were all analog anyway. He paid for the cable company to convert the original signal to digital, send it to his house and then had a converter to change it back to analog. (I know 'digital' is the correct term, but not sure about 'analog'. Now, of course, digital has taken over, so this wouldn't happen.)
Then, Reader's Digest sent him extra notices about my subscription's being ready to expire even after he had renewed it, so for a year I got two issues. Fortunately, my name got misspelled from 'Luci' to 'Lucy' so I knew which it was. I never told him because I didn't want to embarrass him over a few bucks and knew his time was coming to an end. (That was 8 years ago, and I still get ads for 'Lucy' sometimes, so I know Reader's Digest has sold my name and address.) Reader's Digest also kept sending him stuff he ordered to get the free item and then forget to cancel. Once I just packed it all up, mailed it back to to them and told them what I thought of that practice. He did NOT get charged for those items, so I have to give them kudos for that! He never opened anything that came without asking me again so at least I didn't have to pay for the postage after that.
There was a lady who was renting a Princess Phone from a phone company since the '50s. When she died in the '90s, she still had the phone but was paying $2.50 a month for all those years. (That was a news story - I can't site the source.)
We noticed we were paying repair insurance on our phone lines through our phone bill every month, so I stopped it after about 2 years. Then 30 years later, we had a problem. The service representative was rather stern with me when pointing out that if the problem was in the home, we would have to pay for the service call, but if we had been paying this free repair item it would be no charge. I pointed out how long ago we had stopped the fee and that we never had a problem. so paying for the service call would still be money ahead. I simply said, "You do the math." His answer was, "Oh." ( I do realize that if we had, for example, a mouse probem, the fee would have been worth it.)
We were also paying for 'free' light bulbs through the electric company. My father-in-law was, too, and he loaded up on the allowed 'free' bulbs (which had had paid for, of course) he got occasionally and passed them on to us. I stopped that fee, and after he passed away, I started buying light bulds as needed. We were money ahead by the time the service was discontinued, even on our own.
These are all little things in the great scheme of preying on people, but they really do add up, and it really burns me. I often wonder what little things I'm missing now. Not all these are scams, but they really feel like it sometimes. Read the fine print!