How Gullible Are You?

Have you been scammed? Taken to the cleaners by fake phone calls or emails? Join the growing crowd.

An image of a person at a laptop with the message “ Fraud Alert” showing on the screen.

Throughout human history, there have always been evil and heartless humans who have preyed on the weak, the defenseless, and the gullible.

The advent of the internet has opened the floodgates for scammers, scumbags, and other heartless bastards who prey on gullible people, particularly the elderly, the infirm and the naive. They are in the same class of perpetrators as pedophiles and those who commit violent crime; the lowest of the low!

Every day in the newspapers, there are stories of fraud ranging from internet phishing scammers who use fake email addresses to elicit personal information from victims to impersonating tax departments (Canada / USA) and a variety of other various countries to phone calls pretending to be a relative in financial distress and on and on. A complete list of modern-day scams can be seen here.

Many people who have been cheated out of considerable amounts of money, often their life savings, could have avoided being scammed if they had used a little common sense. Take the tax scam for example. Do you really believe a tax department in a western country would phone you up with the threat of an arrest warrant for unpaid taxes unless paid by bitcoin or a Visa gift card within 24 hours? Common sense dictates this demand as being suspicious, to say the least. A simple phone call to the tax department would have shown this is a scam.

The people who initiate these scams are completely devoid of compassion, and empathy. They will say and do anything to pry your last single dollar from your wallet. Even from their own grandmother’s cold, dead hands.

The country of Nigeria has become synonymous with the scam that involves large sums of money supposedly held in an escrow account or that has been forgotten in some major government operation. Or, the money could be a legacy with you tracked down as the only living heir. Sometimes the money can be upwards of $20 million dollars. Before the internet, people and businesses received letters in the mail from these creeps. Most of the time they were written in very poor English and on a typewriter that was badly in need of a new ribbon. However, even though they were very badly produced, many people lost thousands of dollars, sometimes ten’s of thousands to these Nigerian “entrepreneurs”. There are several cases of businesspeople losing millions with the underlying cause being their own stupid greed. Always keep in mind the old saying of: “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

With the advent of the internet and new technology, scamming has become mainstream and many people who have been defrauded have only themselves to blame. There are many websites that list all the different types of scams. Elderly people should always check with family members before they send money off for anything that sounds even remotely suspicious.

Modern-day scamming seems to be a male-dominated industry. The question is asked: are women more empathetic than men? Men really are less empathetic than women a new study from England suggests, offering clues about why this might be the case.

A recent study involving more than 45,000 volunteers identified a link between genes associated with lower self-reported empathy and an increased risk of autism. The study also indicated that while women are generally more empathetic than men, gender differences in empathy are not genetic. This discovery suggests a role for biological factors such as hormones or social and environmental influences in the sex-related differences.

An image of a man with a hoody talking on a phone in a back alley
An image of a man with a hoody talking on a phone in a back alley

What does this prove or mean? Are men more prone to criminal behavior than women? Mass shootings are a frequent occurrence in the United States. Over 90 percent of mass killers are men. The proportion of male murder offenders is nearly as large. Ninety-nine percent of sexual assault offenders are men. The proportion of men among those found guilty of sexual harassment is also extremely higher than that of women.

In the fraud area of crime, studies indicate that females are also less fraudulent than men. Fraudulent eCommerce orders placed by males are 30% higher than in purchases made by females. In other words, online orders placed by men are 1.3x times likelier to be fraudulent than orders placed by women. Biologically, there are differences between men and women. It could be possible that some of the hormones that are present in greater levels in women can drive some of the higher empathetic scores. The jury is still out as there are many notable exceptions such as in the infamous Bonnie and her friend Clyde.

Regardless if you receive a phone call from a man or a woman claiming to be from a government agency, a financial institution, or is a distant ‘relative” that requires you to part with money, don’t send any money until you have verified 100% the call is genuine. If you think the call is genuine just because the person at the other end sounds official or provides a tidbit of information that seems to indicate they are real, remember, scammers work very hard at sounding genuine. That is their job! And, they can call from anywhere — even jails.

If you get an email from your cable company, your bank, an app of any kind requesting you click on the email to update your information, look at the email address where the email originates from. Often, it is not related to the organization that is contacting you. However, that is gradually changing as scammers become more sophisticated and now use hacks to impersonate company email addresses. If in the slightest bit of doubt, ask a friend, a relative, your local police, or carry out a search. DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE PRESSURED. Genuine companies are always prepared to negotiate terms on an outstanding account. They will NEVER ask you to pay by bitcoin or a gift card.

This website from New Zealand provides a great deal of information on how to identify a scam.

Remember, scammers will take food from the mouths of your children and steal from their grandmothers. And, they have two very simple weapons.

1 — Your greed or 2, your gullibility.

Have you been scammed and want your voice heard? Have you heard of a new type of scam that should be put out there? Leave a comment or contact me through Handshake Consultants. I’d love to hear from you.

If you have any comments, disagreements, or additional information on this post, please contact me either through Medium, or through my website.

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My direct email is handshakeconsultants@shaw.ca

Since 2012, I have been business consulting and writing through my own agency Handshake Business Consultants. Fiction books, business plans, blogging, articles.

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