TL;DR – Scam victims are often tugged at their heartstrings or give in to temptations. Self-awareness of your weaknesses can help to safeguard yourself.
Scammers these days are highly organized and sophisticated. They made it their mission to prey on the inexperienced and vulnerable.
There are countless articles and reports on the news announcing many scam cases. People are also made aware of the key identifiers to spot a scam. Hopefully, these resources are enough to illuminate ignorance.
Having said that, we can never take it for granted that scammers will not evolve their strategy or business model. Best to keep abreast of any news of new scam incidences as a precautionary practice.
Having head knowledge of scams isn’t enough because as humans, we are driven by our emotions and aspirations. The new scams are personal and intertwined with the way we live now. All the more reason to guard our hearts!
All vulnerable scam victims share the same mix of personality traits and personal circumstances.
1. Fear & Desperation – The impatient
Victims who fell into scams out of fear and desperation tend to be less educated or ill-informed. The type of scams they tend to fall prey to are those impersonating banks or government authorities, fraudulent investment platforms and fraudulent job portals.
Scammers impersonating banks or government authorities approach victims with a problem and a sense of urgency to trigger fear and desperation. In that moment of panic, victims end up giving their personal information to the scammer.
Unemployed victims desperately in need of money would fall prey to fraudulent investment platforms or job portals.
2. Greed & Envy – The discontented
Where there’s greed, there’s envy. You rarely see one without the other because envy propels greed to continue growing.
Greed is tricky because most of us disguise it with practical reasoning to justify our sense of wanting more. This logical argument, based on personal desire, coerces us to believe we need more.
The greedy are easily lured by scam messages promising easy money.
Greed accompanied by impulsiveness and recklessness makes up a profile of a gambler. You may not identify yourself as a gambler but when you are convinced to put a substantial amount of money into a fake financial fraudulent company before doing your research is essentially taking a gamble.
A less drastic example of greed victims would be those who want to earn quick money so they can afford luxury brands to flaunt to their peers. Thinking that a simple task of “liking and sharing some social media content” could earn them commission seemed like an easy side hustle.
3. Love & Lust – The insecure
Victims of romance scams are usually those who are lonely and single. It’s an obvious scam when the man/ woman you’ve been communicating with won’t even show themselves, making constant excuses when asked to have a video call.
Don’t live in denial! Think with your head and not with your heart! These are easier said than done.
Scammers take advantage of the emotional attachment victims have developed for them and deceived them into making payments to receive purported gifts, or into providing financial assistance.
Victims would receive calls purportedly from delivery couriers, informing them that the parcels were detained by the authorities. And for them to receive the valuable gift that the scammer claimed to have sent, they would need to make an online payment to a third-party bank account for the release of the parcel.
Another variant involves a scammer asking a victim for financial assistance by buying gift cards and sharing the activation cones with the scammer, or by transferring money to a third-party bank account.
Work on your flaw to safeguard yourself
Scams are even more poignant when people’s feelings are being exploited. And scams work because they are built on hope, promising you rewards, security and love.
The key is to be self-aware of your weakness and work towards building some firewalls to prevent yourself from falling prey. But the best approach is to have someone you trust (a close friend or family member) to be accountable to.
1. Fear & Desperation – Be patient.
Calm yourself, hang up the phone and seek a friend/ family member’s opinion whenever you are suspicious of a scam.
2. Greed & Envy – Count your blessings
When deals are too good to be true, chances are it probably is. Keep yourself grounded and make realistic goals. Wealth takes time to grow. Trust in yourself and the steps you are taking, and more importantly, enjoy the journey. You will feel so much pride and satisfaction knowing that you did it the right and honest way.
3. Love & Lust – Be yourself
It can feel crappy to be the last single friend in a clique but being in a relationship shouldn’t be for status and neither should it define your worth.
Dating platforms are widely used nowadays and scammers are trained to make you feel psychologically good. Always guard your heart when deciding to jump into a relationship and think with your head too!
Let me leave you with a quote from the movie Ready Player One.
Parzival: He’s been my best friend for five years. Now, spill it. Are you a woman? And by that I mean are you a human female who has never had a sex-change operation?
That’s right! The next time you find yourself in a plausible scam relationship but just need an extra nudge before getting out of it, remember this! The person on the other end could be of the opposite sex, and he/ she could be fat or ugly. Don’t be fooled by the fake pictures they can send you of themselves to “justify” because this is a digital age and anything can be made up. They’re just out for your money.