Scams are not new to the world and have been wildly successful for centuries. While the method of scamming innocent individuals has drastically shifted with the advent of the internet and social media, the concepts and execution have not. Learning why people fall for scams is essential to help prevent and intervene to keep those in your life from getting caught up in a lie or paying dearly financially.
Scam artists know what makes people tick, and often target demographics that include low-income individuals or those struggling in poverty. Targeting a poor community is a way to appeal to those who are desperate or truly in need of a life-changing opportunity. Many scams promise wealth or charge small fees to gain access to “endless opportunities” and free money, which tugs at the emotions of those they are targeting.
Usage of Familiar Brand Names
Many individuals who work as scam artists utilize well-known corporation and brand names to reel in those who are unfamiliar with scamming. Using brand names such as large superstores, banking institutions, or popular brands helps to boost the scam artist’s credibility and authority. When individuals who receive phone calls, online messages, or direct mail view the sender as trustworthy, they are much more likely to share information while handing over highly sensitive data such as banking details and social security numbers.
Pressure And Legal Action Threats
Scare tactics are extremely common with today’s scams. Companies who prey on the innocent utilize pressure with legal or law enforcement threats. Individuals who are unaware of scams involving legal action threats often become fearful and more willing to divulge information they would not share to strangers otherwise. It is important to share with family, friends, and members of your community that these threat-based scams are on the rise. Many times, scammers leave voicemails that are auto-generated including threats of arrests, financial loss, and investigation to get their victims to cooperate.
The Lure of Activation Fees
The lure of an “activation fee” is a scam that is not new, but continues to evolve using social media platforms such as Facebook along with traditional email. Scammers who want to lure in their victims offer promises of wealth or receiving a large lump sum of money in exchange for collecting an activation fee. In some cases, luxurious vacations and cruise ship getaways are promised for a small fee rather than paying for the trip in full. Scam artists often target the elderly and those who have limited access to the internet with activation fee scams, making it much less likely that the individual they are contacting will have the ability to research the company before making a decision.
Although scams are on the rise, the ability to seek out information and determine the legitimacy of an individual or corporation is readily available. Remaining informed and self-aware of potential scams and illegal activity is the best way to ensure you and your loved ones steer clear of criminals and thieves, both online and in the real world.
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