We’ve all been manipulated, and it’s no fun. What’s worse is when that manipulation costs us a lot more than we were prepared to give. It’s good to know the persuasion tactics we fall for over and over again.
Picture: Don Hankins/Flickr.
The BBC has some good-to-know details on how scammers target and trick their victims. Characteristics of your personality — like a lack of self-control, for example — can make you vulnerable. We also found it really interesting that scammers use the same seven principles repeatedly to con and manipulate victims:
…the scammers repeatedly used one or more of the same seven persuasion principles. Three of these principles are similar to those Modic identified by talking to potential or actual scam victims. Scammers use the “time principle” to persuade us we need to act quickly before we can think rationally and exercise self-control. They also make use of the “deference to authority principle” and the “herd principle” — our tendency to act like our friends or those around us — to convince people that the scam is legitimate.
But scammers have at least four other tricks up their sleeves, says Stajano. They might distract us so we don’t recognise a scam — making use of physically attractive accomplices, for instance. They can use our deepest desires to blind our reasoning — which is why online dating scams are so common. They can hook some victims by manipulating our innate dishonesty and making us act criminally ourselves — knowingly attempting to launder money as part of the Nigerian email scam, for instance. Finally, they can use the kindness of some well-meaning victims against them — scam emails begging for help and money are often sent out in the wake of a natural disaster.
If you know what weapons are being wielded against you, you have a better chance of defending yourself against them. Read more about how scammers con people below.
Understanding scam victims: seven principles for systems security [University of Cambridge via The BBC]