Scammers – manipulation (Part 2)
Posted on 13th March 2023
One tactic scammers use is to isolate their victim from sources of support. It’s important to keep in touch with your family and friends to make sure they aren’t being manipulated.
Some also try and make their victim feel protective towards them. They are skilled at making people believe they are doing the right thing and that they are in control. This means people often don’t ask for help.
One way scammers convince people they are genuine is to communicate as if they’re from a trusted or official organisation. They will copy familiar formats, trusted images and use the right type of language.
They are taking advantage of an existing relationship of trust with legitimate organisation like a charity or government agency. Often they have access to information that has been stolen online. They can then send a false direct debit request at a time when a real one is expected, for example. Or, they might ask for updated payment information at a time when a real bill is due.
The people they have targeted often don’t know anything has happened until an account is raided or their personal information is used.
Taking advantage of opportunities
During the pandemic many scammers sent emails or text messages claiming to be from the government or other trusted organisations. They offered what seemed to be important information that could be accessed via a link. Often the link introduced a harmful computer program or virus that could access and use personal information. Alternatively, they might appear to sell products that never arrive. Scammers can even access existing text message chains to make their message seem more relevant.
Creating a sense of urgency
Giving people very little time to think about what they’re being asked to do is another trick scammers use. When someone feels they must respond urgently they might not query a fee they’re asked to pay. Someone who would normally carry out careful research or ask for recommendations might not do so.
They convince people to react quickly by creating a time-specific scenario that needs to be resolved immediately. Scammers might say a virus has been discovered on their victim’s computer, so their bank accounts are at risk. Or a victim might be convincingly persuaded the criminal themself is at immediate risk and needs help.
Scammers don’t want friends or family members to intervene while they are misleading someone. Of course, it’s very hard to know if someone has been sworn to secrecy.
Criminals are very ingenious in the methods they use to convince their victim to keep secrets without causing alarm. They might make requests for secrecy seem normal, such as suggesting someone be surprised with a treat, for example. It might seem quite natural to keep seemingly official or routine financial communications private. Routine transactions like paying for a TV licence probably would never be mentioned. All of these could involve money being handed over to scammers.
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