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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire…By Cheating?

January 6, 2017

TV game shows are highly regulated and played under very strict sets of rules. Nevertheless, people still find a way to beat the system to beat the game. Here are some people who cheated on game shows.
Who Wants to be a Millionaire

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

Charles Ingram appeared on the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire back in 2001. While the show provides lifelines to help out contestants who are at a loss (“Phone a Friend,” “Ask the Audience”), those weren’t enough for Ingram. Instead, he had his wife and a friend posted up in the studio audience. Then, he would carefully read aloud the four multiple choice options for each question. As he did so, he’d listen to hear a faint cough. That was a signal from his plants—the choice he’d just read was the right answer. This method was as simple as it was nefarious, and Ingram used it to win the million-pound grand prize…until the scheme was uncovered. Ingram and his associates were arrested, charged, and found guilty of fraud.


In 2014, Adriana Abenia was a contestant on the Spanish game show Pasapalabra. During one segment, Abenia had to identify songs by hearing a short clip. She nailed every single one…until the host noticed that Abenia had her cell phone out and was using the song identification app Shazam to identity the songs.

Millionaire Hot Seat

In 2014, Khaled El-Katateny won $100,000 on the Australian game show Millionaire Hot Seat. After his episode aired, El-Katateny publicly announced that he’d cheated…or had used keen observational techniques. He says that he closely watched host Eddie McGuire as he read off the multiple choice options for telling “mirco-expressions,” such as a fluttering eye at the correct pick. El-Katateny also watched the studio audience to see when their faces lit up the most, indicating they’d just heard the correct answer. He got to keep the money—science wasn’t against the rules.

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