You Knew It Was A ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. All The Time Right?
Have you ever noticed that events seem more predictable after they have already happened? The results of an election, for example, often seem more obvious after the tallies have been counted. They say that hindsight is 20/20. In other words, things always seem more obvious and predictable after they have already happened.
In psychology, this is what is referred to as the “Hindsight Bias”, and it can have a major impact on not only your beliefs but also on your behaviors.
It can have a profound impact on victims as they struggle to make good decisions after the scam ends!
Let’s take a closer look at how the hindsight bias works and how it might influence some of the beliefs you hold as well as the decisions you make on a day-to-day basis.
Why Bother With The Psychology Of Your Brain?
Why do we spend time trying to help scam victims understand how their brains work? Specifically, work against them? That’s a good question!
The reasons are fairly simple.
First, you cannot recover from something unless you understand what it was that happened. Simply saying you were scammed is too simplistic. There were reasons why it happened and understanding those will help you reduce shameShame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness., blameBlame Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action., and guilt. But also understanding why helps you change your behaviors to prevent it in the future.
But another reason is that the scam did not happen in a vacuum. Your mind allowed it to happen, but even after it is over, that same mind is making all kinds of new choices and decisions that can be just as flawed.
By really understanding some of these foundational cognitive processes you may be able to alter your mental gears to be safer, sounder, and smarter about what you do now and into the future. Isn’t that something that would be good to do?
How Hindsight Bias Affects How We View the Past
What Is Hindsight Bias?
The term hindsight bias refers to the tendency that people have to view events as more predictable than they really are.
Before an event takes place, while you might be able to offer a guess as to the outcome, there is really no way to actually know what’s going to happen. (Unless you are a Probability Scientist and calculate it out, but even then it is just probabilities!)
After an event, people often believe that they knew the outcome of the event before it actually happened. This is why it is often referred to as the “I knew it all along” phenomenon.
After your favorite team loses the Super Bowl, you might feel convinced that you knew they were going to lose (even though you didn’t feel that way before the game). The phenomenon has been demonstrated in a number of different situations, including politics and sporting events. In experiments, people often recall their predictions before the event as much stronger than they actually were.
It also affects scam victims, both as part of the self-blamingBlaming Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. mechanism and in guiding their mistaken belief that they will never be scammed again, because next time they will listen to their gut that knew it was a scam from the get-go! Sadly wrong.
The researchers argue that certain factors fuel our tendency toward hindsight bias. Research shows that we selectively recall information that confirms what we know to be true and we try to create a narrative that makes sense out of the information we have. When this narrative is easy to generate, we interpret that to mean that the outcome must have been foreseeable. Furthermore, research suggests that we have a need for closure that motivates us to see the world as orderly and predictable and to do whatever we can to promote a positive view of ourselves.
Hindsight Bias Examples
The hindsight bias is often referred to as the “I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon.” It involves the tendency people have to assume that they knew the outcome of an event after the outcome has already been determined.
For example, after attending a baseball game, you might insist that you knew that the winning team was going to win beforehand.
High school and college students often experience hindsight bias during the course of their studies. As they read their course texts, the information may seem easy. “Of course,” students often think after reading the results of a study or experiment. “I knew that all along.”
Scam victims often think that they knew it was a scam. If only they had paid more attention, or listened to someone, or stopped when they knew. It is obvious in hindsight because by then they knew it was a scam.
This can be a dangerous habit for anyone to fall into, however, particularly when a life-changing moment approaches. By assuming that they already knew the information, they might fail to adequately analyze future situations where their safety is at stake.
Another word for this is an “Assumption.”
When it comes to scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. & cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks., however, the presence of this belief can lead anyone into a multitude of wrong directions.
It can affect how you develop a bias against learning the reality of the subject (scams) because you already know how to spot them and how to avoid them, you just did not listen to yourself last time – but you really know it all now. It can affect how you overemphasize your own skills and behaviors by believing that you have this nailed down, when in fact you don’t have the skills or the knowledge to navigate the online world safely.
The tendency to assume that you ‘knew-it-all-along” is just another variation of the Confirmation BiasConfirmation bias This cognitive bias is favoring information that conforms to your existing beliefs and discounting evidence that does not conform. that blinds victims from reality. They only see what they want to be real. Being able to correctly recognize biases is a life-saving skill in a world filled with predators.
Hindsight Bias – An Explanation
What exactly causes this bias to happen?
Researchers suggest that three key variables interact to contribute to this tendency to see things as more predictable than they really are. More “already known” than they were.
- Cognitive: People tend to distort or even misremember their earlier predictions about an event. It may be easier to recall information that is consistent with their current knowledge or beliefs – this is one of the reasons why witnesses can be very unreliable or change their stories over time.
- Metacognitive: When we can easily understand how or why an event happened, that event can seem like it was easily foreseeable.
- Motivational: People like to think of the world as a predictable place. Believing an outcome was “inevitable” can be comforting for some people.
When all three of these factors occur readily in a situation, the hindsight bias is more likely to occur.
An example: When a movie reaches its end and we discover who the killer really was, we might look back on our memory of the film and misremember our initial impressions of the guilty character. We might also look at all the situations and secondary characters and believe that given these variables, it was clear what was going to happen. You might walk away from the film thinking that you knew it all along, but the reality is that you probably didn’t.
Think about your scam for a moment? Almost 100% of all scam victims, when asked after the scam ended, will say that they saw red flags early on and ignored them. That they knew it was a scam all along. But is this really real, or is it an adaptation to help each victim deal with their ignorance about scams – in other words, a rationalization – to help reduce feelings of guilt and shame?
Think about it from another perspective. Which is more acceptable to the after-scam person’s self-image? That they knew nothing, had no clue, and that someone easily got the best of them? Or, that they really knew it all the time, but were just not really listening to themselves? One makes the person feel completely defenseless and vulnerable, and the other explains that they were not so vulnerable but just careless!
Ironically, the first of those scenarios is guiltless – you just did not know. The second comes with guilt and shame because you let it happen.
Being able to set aside the Hindsight Bias actually can make recovery easier because you can then accept that you were not to blame.
However, another potential problem with the Hindsight Bias – with this way of thinking is that it can lead to overconfidence. If you mistakenly believe that you have exceptional foresight or intuition, you can become too confident and more likely to take unnecessary risks in your future. Such as falling for another scam. Or risks might be financial, such as placing too much of your nest egg in a risky stock portfolio. They might also be emotional, such as investing too much of yourself in a future bad relationship. But it also can easily translate into a mistaken belief that you have knowledge that you do not have – this is partly where Savior SyndromeSyndrome It is a group of symptoms that can consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms. comes from – victims believing they know how to help other victims.
What Can You Do To Counteract The Hindsight Bias?
Researchers show that by mentally reviewing potential outcomes, people might gain a more balanced view of an outcome’s apparent inevitability.
You should consider the opposite! This may be an effective way to get around our cognitive fault, at least in some cases. When we are encouraged to consider and explain how outcomes that didn’t happen could have happened, we counteract our usual inclination to throw out information that doesn’t fit with our narrative. As a result, we may be able to reach a more nuanced perspective of the causal chain of events.
So for scam victims, try to:
- Try to accept that you did not know about scams and that you had no defense against them
- As you look back try to realize that your own biases played a role in both enabling the scam, but much more import in what is now happening and the decisions you are now making.
- Try to ask of each situation “what didn’t you see?”
- Try to be more open to looking at situations that come up to see how your own biases direct you to a decision or outcome.
- Try not to trust the 20/20 hindsight too much because it might just be false.
Essential Tools For Every Scam SurvivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com From SCARS Publishing
Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 32 plus years of experience.
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SCARS GREEN BOOK
Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide
LEARN HOW TO RECOVER ON YOUR OWN
This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., or completely independent – on your own!
The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.
After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.
The SCARS GREEN BOOK will help you recover from your scam offline and it will always be there when you need it!
SCARS SLATE BOOK – Let Us Explain What Happened!
A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims
HOW TO HELP ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS FOR FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF SCAM VICTIMS
This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.
The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.
Each person is different and it is important to understand how relationship scamsRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.
SCARS RED BOOK
Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer
ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION TO MAKE THE REPORTING PROCESS SIMPLE!
Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you
Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!
As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.
The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.
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