“I was scammed”

“If it’s too good to be true” … guess what? it probably is, not true.
We live in the age of “cons”. They are all around us. At the very minimum “they steal our attention”- I am talking about the internet and social media. You might have hard time believing this but “we are being fed that information which these scammers- I would call them “soft scammers” want us to feed on. They choose their targets well. Many of you would admit that if you search a particular merchandise, the next time you open your browser you would see the same item being advertised. Some of us also start seeing these items even if you were talking to your spouse about it – without becoming paranoid, I would suggest AI – whether it’s Alexa or Google assistant – is eavesdropping. We may not buy these but “we sold our attention”.
Let’s move on to “no ifs and but’s” kind of cons – like Nigerian prince Con or Ponzi schemes.
What I plan to do is, to explore what do the swindlers look for in a victim.
They do feed on the victim’s fear, greed, guilt, concerns, desires, hopes and so on.
I am going to try explaining this with examples from real life.
This lady in her early fifties- let’s call her Martha, lived alone worked in a grocery store making minimum wages. She was divorced and very lonesome. Started using online dating sites and befriended a handsome, rich guy who had “tracks of land in Texas” but was not able to pay taxes. He wanted to sell this property, but the hitch was he had to pay the taxes. He planned to relocate where this lady- my client, lived. “Too good to be true for her” and sure enough it was not true. She finds this hard way after helping him out with the taxes but never hearing from him again. Became despondent, depressed, and was admitted to a psychiatric unit. With proper treatment she was released to her son as she was seen as vulnerable adult and family support was a requirement for her successful discharge.
Thus far it could be seen as an unfortunate story of fraud but,what is hard to understand is that she succumbed to two more very similar cons. When probed deeper- it became apparent that “her desire for a romantic love relationship made her desperate to seek it at any cost” and the fraudsters are scouting for such victims.
Another story focuses on the concerns and fears about the well-being of the family members. A co-worker told me this as I was writing the blog. His 80yrs old mother gets a call from the detention center informing her that her grandson has been arrested and if she wants him to be released, she will have to pay a fine, during this call she can hear some screams in the background. This grandson had had some legal skirmishes in the past. In her anxiety to get her grandson out, she does what she was asked to do. Normal concerns of a grandmother got amplified by grandson’s legal history and the staging of screams in the background.
A cliché “if you want something for nothing”, you might end up getting “nothing for something” but that’s the story of a scam.

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