Diversions – One Of The Ways That Scammers Manipulate Their Victims

Diversions – One Of The Ways That Scammers Manipulate Their Victims

One Of The Ways That Scammers Manipulate Their Victims

Psychology of Scams – A SCARS Insight

Scammer Diversions – Dodging The Bullet!

A Diversion is a Technique that Telemarketers use to Manipulate and Control Potential Customers on the Phone, Steering them toward the Desired Outcome. But Scammers use this Technique too!

In the case of scammers, it is just one way to maintain control over a victim.

Scammers use simple techniques to manipulate and avoid having to remember very much about a victim and to divert them from uncomfortable or problem topics.

Diversions also help manipulate and control the victims and get them to project their biases (beliefs) onto the scammer, instead of seeing what is really there!

What is a Diversion & How Does It Manipulate People?

Diversion is a technique used to shift someone’s attention away from something. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including persuasion, manipulation, and deception.

In the case of scams, diversion is often used to shift the victim’s attention away from the scam and onto something else. This can make the victim less likely to notice the scam or to question the scammer’s motives.

Here are some examples of how scammers might use diversion:

  • A scammer might ask the victim to do a favor, such as filling out a survey or taking a phone call. This small request serves to distract the victim and make them less likely to notice the scam.
  • A scammer might create a sense of urgency by telling the victim that they need to act quickly or they will miss out on a great opportunity. This can cause the victim to make impulsive decisions without thinking things through.
  • A scammer might use emotional manipulation by appealing to the victim’s fear, greed, or sympathy. This can make the victim more likely to comply with the scammer’s demands.

Diversions Designed to Manipulate Include:

  • Sending poetry (stolen of course)
  • Telling stories (made up of course)
  • Sending the victim music (that the victim can listen to and emote about the relationship)
  • Asking questions: about what the victim eats, what the victim did, how was the victim’s day, how the victim feels, and about the victim and their family and friends
  • Talking about future plans
  • Talking about their invested family members
  • Talking about their emergency
  • Talking about their business opportunities
  • Tanking about the victim’s businesses and wealth
  • Talking about the victim’s children and pets

While these are all things that would happen in a normal relationship to help each partner learn about the other – in a romance scam relationship it is all about keeping the victim talking so the scammers do not have to. The more the victim talks, the more the victim projects their emotions onto the fake relationship. The more the victim talks, the less the scammer has to talk about themselves (their fake identity) – and the less chance there is for the victim to discover inconsistencies!

Diversions keep victims focused on the fake and emotions running full-speed ahead! This also keeps victims flooded with hormones that sustain the addiction and dependency.

Scammers are Masters of Diversion

Scammers are skilled manipulators who use a variety of techniques to exploit their victims. One common technique is diversion, which involves shifting the victim’s attention away from the scam and onto something else.

There are many ways that scammers use diversion. For example, a scammer might:

  • Ask the victim to do a favor. This could be anything from filling out a survey to taking a phone call. The favor is usually small and innocuous, but it serves the purpose of distracting the victim and making them less likely to notice the scam.
  • Create a sense of urgency. Scammers often tell their victims that they need to act quickly or they will miss out on a great opportunity. This creates a sense of panic and makes the victim more likely to make impulsive decisions without thinking things through.
  • Use emotional manipulation. Scammers may appeal to the victim’s emotions, such as their fear, greed, or sympathy. This can make the victim more likely to comply with the scammer’s demands.
  • Keep conversations about what the victim is doing. Keeping the conversation about the victim, keeping them talking avoids discussion about the scammer’s fictional life.

It is important to be aware of how scammers use diversion so that you can protect yourself from being exploited. If you are ever unsure about something, it is always best to err on the side of caution and walk away.

Diversionary Manipulation Tactics or Techniques

Learning about these will also help you understand how high-pressure salespeople work! – and how to not get derailed

Diversionary techniques are just what they sound like, techniques used to try to derail and silence an argument or conversational topic rather than address it. This can happen in all contexts but is especially common in conversations with scammers or fraudsters.

Many of these are direct forms of Gaslighting manipulation! Learn more about Gaslighting here

1. Concern Faking

“Concern trolls” are well known online, but they exist offline and in the world of scams too. This fake concern is the same, regardless of the medium of communication.

Any response that begins with “Perhaps you should spend less time on _________ and more time on _________” should set off an alarm bell.

Scammers do this too! They try to control the victim’s actions from afar, because if they can get the victim to follow directions then everything else in the scam is easier and more predictable for them.

For example (fill in the blank), “Maybe you should spend less time worrying about _________ and more time worrying about _________.”

The key here is that they do not address the victim’s points, they immediately divert to another topic. Often the scammer using this kind of diversion doesn’t really give the other issue that they claim is more important any real weight either, they just don’t want to listen to what the victim has to say, and they want to belittle the victim’s points or concerns. This is a form of Gaslighting.

2. Demeaning

Rather than focusing on the victim’s argument, and acknowledging or discussing the relevant points, the scammer will intentionally use demeaning language to gently and patronizingly suggest the victim is cute but dumb, nice but uneducated, that the victim is not knowledgeable or sophisticated in the way things are really done. This is especially common in fake soldier scams – because how could the victim know how the military works?  and so on. Attempting to demean a person instead of addressing their argument is a common scammer diversion. It often feels insulting or like a patronizing pat on the head. Once again, Gaslighting!

3. Draw Attention To The Victim – Creating Shame

This diversion often occurs when the victim is speaking out about a difficult or personal issue that has affected the victim and others. This scammer diverts the discussion by attempting to shame the victim, suggesting the victim deserved whatever happened to them but in a fake sympathetic way.

Let’s say the victim speaks about the victim’s experience of some past relationship problems: the scammer’s response might sound something like: “No wonder. Just look at you, you ugly/fat/skinny cow/slut/etc.” the scammer doesn’t like the victim speaking up, so they try to belittle the victim’s appearance, size, weight, alleged sexual history, and so on. In part, this will actually enhance the victim’s dependence on the scammer since their self-esteem begins to be linked to what the scammer expresses to the victim. In other words, the intent is to convince the victim that they have limited value, but the scammer loves them, so do what the scammer asks.

4. But What About …

Say the victim presents information on a topic about the victim’s community or country – especially if the scammer claims to be from the same place. One diversionary response is: “Yes, But … You think things are bad (or good) here? What about in this country?” This tactic is frequently used to divert discussions about issues and shift the focus to things that the scammer actually knows well. This is not only a diversionary tactic but is an opportunity for the scammer to speak authoritatively on a subject – which they never can with the fake identity.

The basic argument is that nothing the victim experiences matters because things are worse (or better) elsewhere. It’s always worse (or better) somewhere else.

It aims to shut down an uncomfortable topic by pointing the spotlight elsewhere, to another country or culture, or even to a former time when things were harder or better. This does nothing to solve the issue at hand and serves only to push away any sense of there being a real and immediate issue. It also starts the process of imposing guilt and shame on the victim that can be used to leverage the victim into sending money – because it is so much worse there! Once again, another Gaslighting technique.

5. The Classic Diversion

This is a classic diversion, in which the scammer attempts to change the subject immediately – it doesn’t really matter what the victim has to say. For example, let’s say the victim begins to talk about the scammer’s family, job, whatever – that actually the fake identity should know well and be willing to talk about. The scammer’s diversionary response is to change the subject to some other topic, such as a place that the victim is less likely to know. It’s not that this question is unreasonable, but the question could expose the scammer’s ignorance about the topic or risk the scammer forgetting something about their back story. So the scammer demands immediate discussion of a different topic, which is what makes it a classic diversion.

6. Need To Do It Now

Scammers all want one thing: obedience from their victims. They want money or for the victims to do something for them. The do-it-now diversion is about creating a sense of urgency so that the victim will not think too much about what they are doing because it has to be done now!

This is a part of the whole emergency aspect of most scams, and it works very well.

7. If The Victim Can’t Do It

Scammers want the victim to send money, but sometimes, the victim needs to ask others for it, take out a loan, or obtain it in some other way. There are a million ways that this can be delayed or go wrong. But when the victim tries to tell the scammer how hard it is, the diversionary response is: “If you really cared about me you would do this!” or variations of that. This argument boils down to: “If you can’t do everything, you don’t care about me.”  Again, this is about guilt and blame, techniques that often work to force a victim over hurdles and that would normally cause them to doubt.

8. Don’t You Trust Me?

In any scam, most victims have moments of doubt. The victim may ask the scammers about the small details of something that seems fishy to them or does not make sense. Of course, the scammer cannot realistically address these concerns factually, so the usual diversionary response is usually to first quote some obscure reason, such as: “There are laws, rules, regulations, that I have to follow. But maybe you know more about this than I do?” Then the typical follow-up after something like that is “Don’t you trust me?”

If the victim “challenges” the scammer to explain something that is well known, but the scammer doesn’t have their story straight or detailed enough, they will create a diversion.

9. How Dare You! Fake Outrage

Like many classic diversions, this one is intended to completely shut down debate. The victim has some concerns about something the scammer has said, such as why they are in jail or need money to get their treasure sent to the victim. The diversionary response might be something like: “You think you know better than the government?” or “Laws are laws for a reason.” The person has not addressed the victim’s points, whatever those are. Basically, the scammer is saying: “How dare you question me!”

This kind of response might also trigger accusations of “Shame on you” for bringing up a particular subject. It’s a lot of “Who do you think you are?” because apparently having opinions is for other people, not for the victim.

10. The Old Switcheroo

This is an aggressive style of diversion that often aims to both silence and insult. Whatever point the victim has brought up regarding a particular problem, the scammer will suggest or strongly claim that the victim is an example of precisely that problem, but the thing the victim pointed out is not. Mention an instance of sexism and this person will instantly accuse the victim of being sexist. Raise the issue of racism, and they will call the victim racist. Highlight some example of bullying and the victim are “the real bully”. This is pure gaslighting! Black is white, up is down, and nowhere does this actually make sense.

Plainly, the act of pointing out, and focusing on any real issue may or will trigger the scammer to respond using diversions and gaslighting. Responding with a claim that it not only suggests a lack of logic and a deep misunderstanding of reality by the victim but also reveals the scammer’s desire to shut down any conversation about those issues.


Diversions are a part of the Gaslighting Took Kit that scammers, domestic abusers, and tyrants use to control others! These are but a few examples, there are countless more. But this will help you understand the topic and apply this to things that you were told by your scammers. Hopefully, this will also help you avoid manipulators in the future as well.

Here are some tips for resisting diversion and avoiding scams:

  • Be skeptical of claims that seem too good to be true.
  • Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision.
  • Talk to someone you trust about your concerns.
  • Do your research before investing in anything or giving out personal information.

Any time you encounter such tactics used repeatedly indicates that the other person has truth issues. Do not think about it, just run away!

SCARS Resources:

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