Why do people fall for scams?

Ever had one of those annoying phone calls where someone rings up pretending to be from your IT supplier or something? If you have any brains at all, you know it’s the start of a scam, and you need to get rid of them. We’ve tried various methods down the years. A) Pretending we’re a garage and assuming they’re calling about their car (it’s never been ready yet) B) Converting them to The Lord Jesus Christ (it’s useful to know a couple of hymns and invite them to sing along C) Faking a nervous breakdown, or drunkenness.

The online ones are more skilful. Their imitations of real corporations and their website are chillingly authentic these days. No more grammar or spelling errors like they did five years ago. And of course there are always the Love Rats (to borrow a phrase from the estimable Take A Break ) who rip the lonely and the sad out of millions.

We at LSS think the scammers are part of the same industry as certain charlatans who practice in politics, religion, health and nutrition, and give all practitioners of these arts a bad name. So why do their entreaties work? How? Today we have a series of pieces which we hope will help you explore the world of scamming, and how you might be wise to the pitfalls. Here goes

Why people fall-the psychological weaknesses, if you like- are admirably introduced by this clear piece in The Conversation by psychologist Paul Seager


While Stacey Wood for the BBC carried out controlled experiments to look at the actual process of deception.


As for the types of scams-there seem to be more of them then there are types of lager in our local supermarket. Phone scams, advance free fraud, pyramids…..that excellent site Which gives a jumping off point, but a quick google will reveal many, many more.


And finally…….spare a thought for the victims Many, many have had their life savings, homes and pensions snatched away. Ultimately, the problem will require transnational regulation for it to be eliminated. But that’s a thought for another day.

#fraud #scam #gullible #psychology

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