4 Beliefs That Make You Easy Prey for Scammers

Scams have been a part of our lives since I can remember. Years ago it may have come in the form of a Con Man and it wasn’t very prevalent.

Since the Internet it has gotten worse and now the level of sophisticastion is astounding. From phone calls, to phishing every day we are hit with some sort of scam.

Most of us are convinced we will not fall for one, but the reality is a good portion (more than 50%) of us will.

Let’s explore more with a research study that breaks it down to a simple 4 beliefs you may have that make you susceptible to a scam.

Be Well,

A New Study…

A new study looks at how the attitudes and beliefs that shape how we view the world – a concept known as “mental frames” – might influence how likely we are to fall prey to a scam, according to a two-year study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust and the University of Minnesota.

The researchers identified and interviewed 17 study participants. They came from a pool of people who filed reports with BBB Scam Tracker, an online fraud reporting tool. Ten of them lost money to scammers, while seven did not.

In interviews with researchers, some participants shared their experience with scammers who contacted them with “promises of easy money or lucrative investments.”Other participants had received phone calls from crooks acting as IRS agents and demanding payment of back taxes.

Researchers also interviewed two people who worked in an overseas call center, where they used the IRS scam to defraud hundreds of victims.

The study concluded that four mental frames – views regarding compliance, opportunity, intelligence and order – may influence how we interpret the things we hear from scammers.

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The 4 Beliefs You May Have That Can Leave You Open To A Scam…

Specifically, the researchers found that people are more likely to lose money in scams if they hold the following beliefs:

1. Authority should not be challenged.

2. Financial opportunities are a zero-sum game with clear winners and losers.

3. The world is organized in a way that rewards good people.

4. Asking too many questions can make a person seem ignorant.

Educate Yourself…

On an encouraging note, the researchers said those who hold views that make them more vulnerable to scams are not doomed to becoming victims, as the meanings people assign to things and experiences can be modified. For example, social psychologists have found that short, simple exercises often are all it takes to change behaviors.

According to the researchers:

“Researchers found that when study subjects had some knowledge of common financial scams, they were less likely to be defrauded. Those who knew a little about the specific scam presented to them were 80% less likely to engage. Even when they did engage with scammers, they were more than 20% less likely to lose money in the end.”

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In Closing…

As scammers get more and more sophisticated just be on your guard. If you are unsure if something is legit, ask someone you trust. My sister in law at least 2 times a week will text me a picture of an email or something that wants to install on her computer to ask me… “Is this legit?” Most of the time it is just her Window’s updates, but there have been a few times she would’ve downloaded some malware.

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