->''"Ladies and gentlemen, this is not my doing! These robots are Dr. Light's creations. This proves he's had evil designs on the world all this time! I, Dr. Wily, have created my own robots to stop Dr. Light. But only your donations can help me complete them."''\\
--'''Dr. Wily''', ''VideoGame/MegaMan9''


A type of con where the giant monster attacking local villages ultimately turns out to be the property (or at least in the employ) of the very same hunters who [[ContrivedCoincidence conveniently showed up]] to exterminate it (for a nominal reward).

Before the culprit's racket is revealed, it seems like there's going to be an AlwaysSomeoneBetter plot. If the scammer is the protagonist, he will soon have to [[FakeRealTurn face the real thing]] and become a true hero. Either way, it's a common [[CallItKarma karmic punishment]] for this character to encounter the real thing, sometimes [[MistakenForAnImposter thinking it's his own hoax used against him]]. The real thing is usually none too impressed with the imposter, and doesn't hesitate to show him what it's ''really'' capable of.

In SuperHero stories, leaving aside conventional crimes, nothing will disgust the members of a superhero team/community more than catching one of their own pulling this scam. Someone would likely say "You mean you endangered innocent people for a self-aggrandizing ''publicity stunt''?!" just before they dropkick the offender out of their organization.

Subtrope of EngineeredHeroics.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* In ''{{Claymore}}'', villages that don't pay out after Claymores kill their yoma infestations are ''coincidentally'' overrun by yoma shortly thereafter. Huh. [[spoiler:Yes, the Organization did create the yoma in the first place, and the payouts are just a side benefit to their real goal of creating and testing living weapons.]] The Claymores are innocent of this, but some start wising up later on in the manga.
* An example without monsters: in an episode of ''Anime/FullMetalPanicFumoffu'', the martial arts club has 3 of their members pretend to be thugs and the other defeat them to impress girls. It works rather well... until the girls all meet and compare notes.
* The debut of Tien and Chiaotzu in the ''Manga/DragonBall'' [[EarlyBirdCameo anime]] has them freeing some villages from a boar monster that they own, until Goku finds out and stops them.
* A variation of this is the bulk of the short manga [[OnePieceWanted Monsters]] by Eiichiro Oda (author of ''OnePiece''), where the villains uses a magical horn to summon a giant dragon to raze the cities (so that they can pillage them). [[spoiler: The hero Ryuuma manages to slay said dragon with a single slash.]]
* Early on in ''Manga/InuYasha'', Miroku and Hachiemon the tanuki do this, with Hachiemon using his ShapeShifting abilities to become the "monster".
* In ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'' [[spoiler: Maverick hires criminals for the heroes to catch.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* [[ComicBook/AntMan Hank Pym]] did this with a robot (first) in the ''Comicbook/TheAvengers'' comic book when he was on his downhill slide; naturally, the situation got out of hand when he was knocked hors de combat. [[NeverLiveItDown No one remembers this because he also hit his wife]].
* El Hombre attempts this in the ''Comicbook/AstroCity'' arc "The Tarnished Angel". As part of his backstory, he hired one of his foes to create a giant robot to go on a rampage that he would then stop and restore his falling fame. The foe double-crossed him and did not include the agreed upon off-switch, forcing other superheroes to come in and stop the menace for real as well as expose El Hombre's scam. (This is almost certainly a homage to the Hank Pym story described above.) [[spoiler:Years later, he adopted a new identity to recruit a supervillain army, whom he later intended to kill in a CrowningMomentOfAwesome to establish a new superhero identity]].
* The short-lived ''Sentinel'' miniseries had its protagonist, who had become TheKidWithTheRemoteControl to one of the titular HumongousMecha, successfully pulling this on his high school (after teasing a more traditional RoaringRampageOfRevenge). Despite his newfound popularity and a distinct lack of casualties, he still has a MyGodWhatHaveIDone moment afterwards.
* Used in Jeff Smith's ''{{Bone}}'' series. One of the characters starts stirring up rumors about dragons in the region, and gets an entire town to give him their gold and treasure as "bait" so that he can "trap" a dragon. His actual plan is to get as much gold as he can, then skip town when people get too suspicious. It blows up in his face when an actual dragon the characters met before intentionally jumps into the trap and refuses to escape.
* The fame obsessed BoosterGold pulls a version of this in ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'', hiring an actor to play a supervillain so he can save the day (and upstage a popular new hero who's getting all "his" good press, Supernova). He gets busted for it, naturally. [[spoiler: This is actually a subversion as it was part of a BatmanGambit to get the villain to underestimate him. And Supernova is actually Booster Gold himself.]]
** He gained a rep for this from his time with the JLI and Conglomorate (see below)
* A GoldenAge ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' story had an ex-gangster using his underworld contacts to track down wanted criminals so he could capture them and turn them in for the reward. When he ran out of wanted criminals, he started busting crooks out of prison so he could capture them and turn them in.
* Max Lord, when he was running JusticeLeagueInternational, and his ex-wife Clare Montgomary of the Conglomorate, both have a habit of faking or hiring villains to make "their guys" look good (and in Claire's case because her corporate sponsers don't want the team fighting real villains without their control). In a variation, the teams themselves don't (usually) realise this, and think they're genuinely fighting the villains.
* In the comic strip ''[=SnarfQuest=]'', Willie the dragon (who thinks he's a duck) is suckered into playing the role of the monster in one of these.
* In the first volume of DC Comics's ScoobyDoo, this happens in two stories:
** The gang exposes the first racket when ScoobyDoo smells snacks in the fake monster's pouch.
** The gang scares the person behind the second racket by disguising themselves as ghost and allowing the racket's victim to beat them off.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The main human character in ''Film/{{Dragonheart}}'' pulls this on a few towns with the help of the dragon he befriended. Dragon flies over, sets fire to a few thatched-roof cottages, and scares some livestock. Hero shows up with a gigantic ballista and downs the dragon in a bolt, where it splashes down in a lake (in fact having caught the bolt safely under one arm, and escaped under the cover of water). This eventually backfires ([[RuleOfFunny hilariously]]) when the dragon lands in a lake that's too shallow for him to submerge in: The starving villagers rush the dragon while chanting "meat!", but after the dragon escapes (betraying the ruse) the villagers turn on the protagonists and start [[ImAHumanitarian chanting "meat"]]...
** Interesting point with this one is that the protagonist here actually ''was'' the real thing. The only reason he and the dragon started this little racket was because he had run out of dragons to kill; the one he's working with is the last, and by working together in this way the hunter gets to keep his job and the dragon gets to live.
* In Peter Jackson's ''TheFrighteners'', Michael J. Fox's character makes a living by having his ghost friends "haunt" houses before arriving to "exorcise" them.
* The Film/{{Ghostbusters}} had to face accusations of this, in the movies at least. Venkman actually ''does'' pretend to detect paranormal activity in Dana's apartment, although he's faking it to get into her pants rather than her wallet.
* This is the profession that ''Film/TheBrothersGrimm'' are in before they encounter ''real'' supernatural entities.
* Syndrome planned to pull this off in ''TheIncredibles'', but [[AIIsACrapshoot his robot outsmarted him]].
* The entirety of the ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequels, and therefore the backdrop to all Prequel-era ExpandedUniverse works as well. Then-Chancellor Palpatine secretly funds and directs the Confederacy only to justify turning the Republic into the Empire and so he can frame the Jedi. A rare case where the plan goes off without a hitch, with the Confederacy being destroyed only after Palpatine becomes Emperor.
* The Beast of Gévaudan in ''BrotherhoodOfTheWolf''. [[spoiler: The members of the brotherhood (who control the Beast) are all local aristocrats. The gypsies that were hired to "hunt down" the Beast work for them and like attending gruesome pit fights involving the Beast]].
* In the film ''Film/{{Thor}}'', this is an aspect of [[spoiler: Loki]]'s scheme. [[spoiler: He sets up a Frost Giant assassination attempt against Odin, foiling it himself in order for an excuse to destroy Jotunheim and [[WellDoneSonGuy win his father's approval]].]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In the first of ''Literature/TheSagaOfTheNobleDead'' series, the protagonists fake vampire attacks for a living and pretend to slay them. Then they encounter real vampires.
* The short story ''The George Business'' by RogerZelazny (possibly an influence on ''Film/{{Dragonheart}}'' per TheOtherWiki) ends with the dragon and George deciding to go into this business together.
* Most fiction parodying/deconstructing ''The Pied Piper of Hamelin''.
** This is a regular con that ''[[Literature/{{Discworld}} the Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents]]'' pull: rats show up and mess with things in incredibly visible ways. Town hires a piper, who is usually some kid and his pet cat (legitimate pipers are hideously expensive and prissy). Kid leads out all the rats in showy fashion. Kid gets paid. Kid leaves town and meets up with rats to count up and split the profits. (The meeting up with the real thing is also played straight, in fact, it is the main plot of the book.)
** It was revealed that the real pipers pull a version of this: ''they'' started the stories about horrible retributions for not paying them. It also points out the plot hole in the original: rats can swim, and will work their way back to provide future employment.
** Earlier in the Literature/{{Discworld}} series, the human villain of ''Discworld/GuardsGuards!'' had ''tried'' to use a one-shot version of this scheme to get a (figurehead) king installed as the ruler of Ankh-Morpork. It backfired, because the dragon he summoned as part of the plan turned out to have ambitions of its own....
*** At another point in the Discworld series, there's an anecdote about people attempting the "pest" version of this when Ankh-Morpork was in the throes of a rat infestation and people were being paid per rat. Lord Vetinari was asked what should be done, and replied simply "Tax the rat farms."
* The well-known Japanese story ''Naita Akaoni'' -- which roughly translates to "Crying Red Oni" or "Tears of the Red Oni" and is referenced in, among other things, ''TokyoGodfathers'' and ''KeroroGunsou'' -- features a Blue Oni that comes up with this scheme and acts as the monster in it, so his friend the Red Oni can befriend humans. In the BittersweetEnding, Blue Oni has to leave forever to keep up the ruse.
* A particularly elaborate and convoluted example occurs in the DocSavage novel ''Terror in the Navy''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Parodied on ''[[LateNight Late Night With Conan O'Brien]]'', where a dog is shown to have a [[ChronicHeroSyndrome hero complex]] and creates situations to save people from. After being reprimanded by Conan, the dog looks shameful, but oh so cute...
* Non-monster example: ''BigWolfOnCampus'' featured a FakeUltimateHero, Stormfront, who pulled this sort of scam by secretly engineering disasters, then showing up to stop them. For instance, pushing a baby carriage into traffic with a gust of wind, then rushing in and saving the baby.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis:'' Lucius Lavin did it in his second appearance, hiring former Genii soldiers to "attack" the town he was protecting. It went FromBadToWorse when he started to haggle after they had fulfilled their part of the contract...
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' - "The Most Toys": Fajo uses this in a plot to fake Data's death in order to [[TheCollector capture him]].
* ''KeepingUpAppearances'': [[VillainProtagonist Hyacinth]] tries this on a golf course, with brother in law Onslow as the monster, ice cream executives as the audience, and her husband, Richard, as the ace. It doesn't work, because CoitusEnsues [[MakingLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces in the wrong place]] between Onslow and Daisy, and when the real threat shows up, Hyacinth herself performs much better as the ace. Hyacinth gets the job offer that she wanted Richard to have.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' audio adventure "[[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho027TheOneDoctor The One Doctor]]", a conman fakes alien invasions and then poses as the Doctor to defeat them. Then the real Doctor shows up, [[HilarityEnsues with hilarious consequences.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Covertly introducing termites, rodents, or other vermin to a building, then "conveniently" showing up to provide fumigation services, is an old scam used by thieves to gain access to homes or other properties.
* Also real-life dhampir professed to be half-vampire, were typically at least half-gypsy, and hunted vampires for money, food, goods, and any and all favors that a vulnerable community could provide. And the myth that only a dhampir can see an invisible vampire seems to be invented specifically for this sort of scam...
* Some malware will pretend to be an anti-malware program and alert the user that the computer is infected with tons of viruses. Then they'll charge money to make the "viruses" go away while providing no actual protection to the computer. They can usually be detected by being massively more obnoxious than any legitimate defensive program.
* In British India in the 1800s, an example quite similar to the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' "Tax the rat farms" above, people started breeding snakes in captivity to collect a lucrative bounty on snakes, including cobras. Poor containment and the fact that the snakes were let go or the people moved on once the bounties weren't paid meant that the program actually increased the population of snakes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}} supplement ''Van Richten's Arsenal'' mentions the existence of charlatan "monster hunters" who prey on villagers' fears, faking signs of a werebeast or similar menace in the area, then showing up to "heroically" defend them. Often, their "proof" of victory consists of displaying the head of a dead (mundane) wolf or other predator they've killed as a scapegoat.
* A ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' Magazine "Dragon Project" article (unusual dragons for games other than D&D; in this case ''{{GURPS}}'') describes Dexter and Cornelius, a conman who works with a naive dragon. Cornelius "threatens" a village, and Dexter arrives to "save" it.
* Sin-eaters are known to do this in White Wolf's ''TabletopGame/GeistTheSinEaters'', where they use their status as TheNecromancer to cause ghosts to haunt people, and then charge them money to get rid of the hauntings -- or simply take possession of the "haunted" item itself. This sort of behavior is especially associated with the Bonepicker archetype, arguably qualifying as a sub-archetype in its own right.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The main character gets accused of this in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'' - he goes out to slay a beast terrorizing a farming village, only to find it's his old animal companion driven feral after he was taken into slavery for ten years. The villagers assume this is being pulled on them because they don't know the backstory, and they strongly hint that you should move on. One townsperson (a sweet, grandmotherly old woman) ''does'' realize he didn't actually do it, but still suggests he should move on as convincing the others that he's innocent will be impossible.
* In ''{{Okage}}: Shadow King'', the Chairman Evil King started a rumor that the heroes' guild was pulling this sort of scam with the ghosts. It's doubtful that they were, though.
* ''JakIIRenegade'' features a variation. The Metal Heads are legitimately a hostile invading force interested in destroying Haven City... but given the choice, they'd rather just lay low until they can do so, or at least do some real damage -- the GaidenGame ''Daxter'' covers one such attempt, disguised as a bug infestation to avoid alerting anyone before it's too late. The Krimzon Guard bribes them to make periodic ineffectual attacks so they can justify their brutal, fascist rule as necessary in the face of this threat.
* In Episode 2 of ''PhantomBrave'', Walnut falsely claims that Marona was running one of these, using her powers to summon evil phantoms to Windmill Promontory and then getting rid of them so she'd get paid for it. It's a lie, but given how hated and distrusted people with Marona's powers are, the person who hired her believes it without question and pays Walnut instead for the work she did. And this is ''after'' his plan to just kill her and take the credit that way falls through. {{Jerkass}} doesn't even begin to describe it.
* ''SuikodenV'' has [[spoiler:Euram]] do this with bandits rather than monsters. As an added bonus, the bandit leader was a look alike for the protagonist, adding an extra dividend to the plot.
* ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic V'' features this in the game's very first quest, in a city full of giant man-eating bugs. An exterminator has spent years getting paid to "work on the problem," while actually having the bugs shipped in from elsewhere.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', [[spoiler:Seymour lets fiends into Luca Stadium and defeats them in order to impress Yuna]].
** In a roundabout way, this is how [[spoiler:Sin works - while the Church of Yevon isn't ''deliberately'' rigging the cycle of its destruction and reincarnation, they have no problem with using it to maintain their power.]]
* In ''CityOfHeroes'', it's speculated that this may be why [[WarForFunAndProfit the architect of the Rikti War provoked the Rikti]], but [[EvilIsNotAToy he underestimated them]]. Although with him, [[GambitRoulette you never know]].
* The protagonists in ''VideoGame/FearIsVigilance'' decide to help their campaign to distribute free personal alarms by scaring the students into asking for them -- by beating them up every night.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', it's apparently rumoured the original [[VampireHunter Dawnguard]] may have pulled this and faked Vampire attacks on cities, then charged them for better protection; or pulled this con after ''becoming'' Vampires themselves?! History is somewhat unclear on the details, but what is certain, there is a ''lot'' of treasure under Fort Dawnguard.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Franz Rayner from ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' [[http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/5p19 tried this with synthetic]] [[ConservationOfNinjitsu ninjas]] on steroids as the monster and the people of the USA as the audience.
* ''Webcomic/DragonMango'': The Dragonslayers do this. With the added twist that [[spoiler:they are the dragons.]]
* ''MinionsAtWork'' cuts some corners in [[http://www.minionsatwork.com/2012/04/minions-318-sales-forced.html Minions #318 - Sales Forced]].
--> ...And before you say "I don't need dinosaur insurance", and "get off my lawn", I think there's something you should frickin' come out here and see!
* [[http://www.radiocomix.com/duncan-and-mallory/comic/duncan-mallory/ Duncan & Mallory]] tried to pull this off a couple times, (vegetarian) dragon J.P. Mallory would scare some villagers, they'd post a reward, then Duncan would "slay" the "beast" and collect the money. The first time a little girl that Mallory had helped out earlier spilled the beans, the second time they had to deal with a real dragon-slayer.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Creator/{{Tobuscus}}' "Safety Torch" video has Toby pulling this on an innocent child, waking him up in the middle of the night and offering to sell him [[VideoGame/{{Minecraft}} torches to scare away the monsters]] that are coming to eat him... and then water to put out the fires caused by the torches. Close examination of the video reveals that one monster says, "Sup Toby," in a blink-or-you'll-miss-it speech bubble.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce'', Mike Morningstar/Darkstar's first appearance has him bluffing his way onto the Plumber team by driving away zombies he made with his own energy-stealing power.
** In the first ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' there was an ex-plumber who made a scam by releasing imprisoned aliens from the null void and offers his services at a price.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' had this with a fake superhero called Major Man. It turned out he was setting up disasters, crimes, and even monster attacks so he could pretend to save the day and it would look as if the Girls weren't needed anymore. The girls beat him at his own game by bribing a monster to attack him, forcing him to admit his crimes and that he couldn't handle a ''real'' emergency.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' during the GrandFinale had the Masters' Blasters, a trio of teenage ghost hunters who do a better job fighting ghosts then TheHero Danny does. This is all tied to Vlad's secret plot to ruin Danny's reputation, and the trio later charge in exchange for their services. Could count as somewhat of an inversion, since it was the monster (Vlad) hiring the heroes. Notably, the Blasters didn't seem to realize their boss's secret either.
* The end of the second season of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' starts with a convenient save by the Thanagarians as they shoot down a Gordanian scouter when it tried to invade the White House. The Thanagarians claim they can protect Earth from future invasions if Earth offers no resistance in their occupation. Batman, crazy paranoid as usual, realizes the Gordanian pilot was dead long before entering Earth's atmosphere.
* ''WesternAnimation/DudleyDoRight'' featured a mundane variation of this trope in one episode. In his latest scheme against the Mounties, Snidely Whiplash forms his own competing Mounties. They always got their man and made the regular Mounties look like a bunch of incompetents. However, all the captures made by the Snidely Mounties are staged since Snidely controls the local criminal element.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{X-Men Evolution}}'' did this with the Brotherhood who, deciding to try the hero thing out, saved a train from a disaster and was rewarded with fame and fortune by a thankful rescuee. They then try to be heroes to get the rewards, but when they run out of people to save they get greedy and desperate for more, eventually starting disasters of their own so they can get the recognition for saving the day. This blows up spectacularly, of course, and [[StatusQuoIsGod they lose all their luxuries]] (including the ones they got for legitimate work).
* [[WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow Ren and Stimpy]] attempt this in "The Boy Who Cried Rat." [[NauseaFuel The results aren't pretty]].
[[/folder]]

----