Why do Scams Succeed?

A scam is a dishonest scheme; a fraud. Scams are not particular; they target people of all classes, backgrounds, ages, creed, colours and income levels. They are not particular to a country, region, religion or race.

There is no one group of people who are more or less likely to become a victim of a scam.

If you think you are ‘too clever’ to fall for a scam, you are taking a risk! Being in the belief of being “too clever” provides the scammer with a challenge.

Scams Succeed Because of Two Things.

Firstly.

The presentation looks genuine – like the real McCoy.

It appears to meet your needs and desires.

So when presented with an opportunity from another firm or company your first and predominant thought is to find out that the opportunity is in fact not a scam.

In pursuant to that, you must first make the effort to check it properly. You need to ask direct questions and obtain direct answers. You need to reason and think carefully, consider and question everything before you conclude what to do.

The above is a protection you need to dress in. When those personal thoughts and considerations are lost the veil and your guards are down, the scammer(who has a good eye) goes for the prize. With little side swipes and promises you are in the flange, ready to be left barking when they leave with their swag.

Being aware of the dangerous myths will help you with this. Depending on the issues, you can decide if something is a scam on the spot or you might need assistance, which could take several days so consider, check so think at all times.

Secondly.

Scammers manipulate you by ‘pushing your buttons’ to produce the automatic and knee jerk reactions they want. This is science, as where ever there is an action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It has got nothing to do with your personality; it’s to do with the way individuals in society are wired up, emotionally and socially. That my friends is the flaw in humans which give cause and reward to the scammer.

It’s because we are hard wired, our responses are automatic. It is us, the people, who fall for the scams and that is not your fault it’s entirely the way we were either made or evolved.

To stop scammers manipulating you into their traps and snares, it can be helpful to know how to prevent the automatic reaction they expect.

Dangerous Myths.

So dispel what you think you know, what your mum told you and give just consideration to the following:-

Some people hold beliefs that leave them even more susceptible to scams.

One of them is the belief that all timeshare companies, businesses and organisations are legitimate and honourable because they are all vetted and approved by the governments or some other authority. That is not so. The people who are employed by them have a duty to those organisations, if they don’t apply that duty they will be dismissed, so it’s their job.

They get paid commissions to undertake their duties and in the best interest of the enterprise they work for.

Consumer protection agencies, associations and legal professionals can only do so much. You are your own phalanx, shield or wall.

While others, on your behalf, are constantly in “the watch towers” for dodgy operators, some scams only come to their attention when people report them. Therefore we and others can only deal with history and alert people, we can’t stop scams but you can! It’s the savvy consumers who have the power not us.

A similar dangerous myth is that internet websites are all legitimate, believe you me this is a very new concept in the evolution of man and a new way of doing business. That being the case there are fields full of consumers who are not acquainted with the new ways and the fast transactions and blurbs which appears on website.

Consumers believe it is hard to set up website, but it truth it’s not. It’s quite easy and cheap to set one up. For my part I have no idea how to do one, how to make it professional or eye catching but like some people “I know a man who can”.

A professional looking website which is operational could be a ‘scam website’, could be used to sell a dodgy products, or it could be easily made to resemble a genuine website, like a bank or credit union website. These websites are often only ‘live’ for a few days but that is enough time to trick people and the scammer nets £000’s.

Another belief that makes people vulnerable to scams is the idea that there are short cuts to wealth. This is playing of the natural greed in us all. We all want to happy, wealthy and wise and that is ‘a want’. If you have a want, you develop a need and the scammers feed off that need. Ask yourself this question: if you knew a secret to instant wealth would you be altruistic enough to tell everyone?” Yes or No?

If you do have altruistic tendencies you would tell everyone to help them. Does it then fit that you would charge them for the assistance you are giving to society? No, you would not as that is contrary to you being altruistic as it would be a selfish act.

If you are selfish you would want to keep your secret and become the richest and most powerful person.

The answer is the same, no. So if you are faced with the scammer, think of the principle I have just set, if someone appears philanthropic, noble, magnanimous and thoughtful – are they? If they are charging, the proposition fails and the caution hairs should become erect on your spine.

Psychological tricks used in scams

As well as exploiting the dangerous myths (as discussed above), scammers often use psychological gun triggers to get a response without you realising it. Watch out for them next time you’re approached or even next time someone asks you for a favour.

TV ads showing Starving Children, The Snow Leopard, The Orphan, The Tiger, The Donkey, Cancer Research buckets etc. Have you ever considered that there is a sudden burst of all these nice people who are asking for this money?

Has someone dropped the magnanimous, unselfish or selfless bomb and the charitable radiation is entering the hearts, minds and souls of thousands of people or is the giving madness a sham.

Have you ever considered why these people are doing this? You might ask that, so we investigated and found out that in every case the man holding the bucket gets paid a proportion of the take, that take can be as high as 90%, sorry – I will repeat that as it was not a typo – 90% of the cash you drop in the bucket.

The generation that my mother lived in will (I am sure) refuse to believe this, that’s ok! I do understand, sometimes reality jumps up and smacks you in the face like a wet duck.

If the giving gives you a piece of mind, a kindness that you did your bit then you take it and you will be honoured by the good deed. It’s the thieves, bandits, pirates and scammers I dislike.

The reader might believe that I am a hero and a man of good, but am I?

Some scammers present the miserable meal in the low cut frock as good and benevolent.

“Look at me, I will help you” This could be me? I could be trying to pull a scam by writing this article which you are now reading. Think about it?

This article might be designed to impress you, to soften you up and belay your fears so that I can catch you unawares, ready for the sting of your wallet. Before you read this were you softening, think about it!

Then again you might think because I have alerted you to this possibility of being scammed by me (the author), that concession alone gives me more credibility. It could be the scammers are very clever!

In short that perceptions and promises should be discounted. As all you are told is a representation and these are the weapons of the scammer. The assistance given, the alert proffered and the warning aired are just another veil used by the scammer, so as to buy (cheaply ) the key ingredients in the recipe  CREDIBILITY.

The endless confirmation, re-confirmations and ‘re’ re-confirmations all add to the softening process.

But to put to sleep the security guards, the Bank Vault is yours for the taking, so listen, take in and wait and see if the wet duck slaps you. Then the goodness and kindness is replaced with you having to pay through the nose.

Reciprocation

Scammers give you something, such as a ‘free’ gift, a dream, an illusion, a promise or a guarantee of assistance, to get something in return, such as your agreement later on.

You are caught up feeling obliged, indebted, silly, unwise, too cautious and penned in.

Protect yourself from those sentiments by recognising the gifts and favours as nothing more than devices to influence you to return the favour. It’s called bait or the convincer to get you to agree to what you don’t want.

Scammers may sometimes make outlandish offers which are highly priced, which they know you will reject. This is the stage, and it is set. “They like you” and like most scams “it’s your lucky day” again!! Because you are wise! The scammer makes an offer which will not appear so bad in comparison to the first offer.

Commitment and Consistency

Some will get you to commit to something early in the sting. It could be something quite irrelevant, however later it is refashioned as a great thing and you did agree, didn’t you?

Later and after just consideration, you recall that initial agreement, you see the twist and you feel sick at the deceit.

To protect yourself, you need to treat each commitment separately and ask yourself whether, under the circumstances, you would make the same choice as you did earlier.

Your instinctive “gut-feeling” will provide the answer. That “gut feeling” has avoided lots of foul events in my life.  (Jokingly drink “Actimel” before a timeshare meeting that will give you gut power)

Social Proof

Everybody does it (the sheep factor), so it must be right! Pretty well sums it up. If you see a line with a sign that says: “queue here for a free holiday”, If you see a queue forming and you have a bent to join, the people in the queue are probably the sellers.

The other person will refer to what the majority does to get you to agree. The majority are never right, never ever (as my mother said). You check it out, consider Galileo. The representatives of God in Rome said his proposition was heresy and the entire religion condemned the man (even God’s ambassador) and banished him to hell for saying the earth travelled round the sun. The British killed 900 million Red Indians because of a mass considered belief . The masses do not objectively check the facts they follow.

Liking

Good looks, similar interests or backgrounds, humour and other attractive characteristics are standard tools for the con-artist, as well as for honest people who want to generate a good rapport with you.

If you like someone you’re more likely to go along with what they are suggesting. Your defence is to separate the issues on offer from the person offering it or associated with it.

Authority

Authority, in or out of uniform, will cause an automatic response in almost everyone. We appeal to and use authority all the time to justify or support our position. Scammers do it deliberately to hoodwink you into agreement. Your protection here is to ask whether the authority is relevant to the context.

Scarcity

The fear of missing out! Being told that this is the last chance or that there are only so few still available, leads most people to agree hastily before they have had the opportunity to think about what they’re doing. Some people have found themselves in horrible financial situations because they rushed into agreements or purchases in the fear of missing out. Your protection here is to separate your emotions from your decisions.

When we’re up against these influencing strategies, getting caught up in a scam is not necessarily a reflection of your gullibility or poor judgement. It just shows how good the scammers are at manipulating us. Don’t be clouded by influence triggers. Recognise them for what they are, and keep a clear head when making decisions.

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Last modified: March 11, 2016