SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit to learn more about SCARS.™ Commentary: The Odds Of Being Scammed Again

Here Is An Exercise In Understanding How Intuition (Or Your Gut) Is More Likely Wrong Than Right


Was Your Intuition Right?

The simple act of relying on your gut is by definition wrong. That is why knowledge and behaviors are a better approach to your safety than your intuition.

Dealing with complexity is both something we are good at (when linear) and impossible for us at the same time.

A Perfect Example Of This Right Now Is The Perception Of Risk In A Pandemic

It is very simple, the risk is very high you will get the virusVirus A computer program that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer or file to file. It comes to life only when you take a specific action, such as running a particular program., but when people try to figure it out they will come to the wrong conclusion.

While the odds may be reasonable – it applies to each and every interaction, not over a span of time.

Let’s say that you have a 30% risk of getting infected. That is 30% for each and every event or interaction. So if about one in three is the risk, and you have 10,000 interactions, then 3,000 of them will result in an infection – a virtual certainty.

This Is EXACTLY Like The Problem Of Assessing The Risk Of Being Scammed Online

People’s guts say it will never happen, but in fact, it is a virtual certainty.

In addition, it is a virtual certainty that you will be scammed again unless you remove yourself from the risk pool.

The only way to do that is by adopting behaviors that prevent the initiation of new 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..


So If The Average Is That Victims Are Scammed 2.4X (2.4 Times)

This means the odds are that you will be scammed more than once

In fact, our analytics shows that the probability of someone being scammed is nearly 99.9999999999999% Though it is actually only about 8% for any given incident. But since there are (estimated) 26 TRILLION (yes with a “T”) cyberattack incidents a year (source McAfee), 8% of that is a little over 2 Trillion attacks that will succeed.

But that is actually not correct, because it is not 8% total that will succeed, but 8% of each of the 26 Trillion incidents. Meaning, a virtual certainty.

For Example: Think About Your Antivirus Software

You cannot accurately calculate the odds of your antivirus (AV) product protecting you because probabilities deal with the odds of specific events happening.   Here, the cyberattack could be spam, malwareMalware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts., phishing, social engineeringSocial Engineering Social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. It is used as a type of confidence trick for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or system access, it differs from a traditional "con" in that it is often one of many steps in a more complex fraud scheme. It has also been defined as "any act that influences a person to take any action that may or may not be in their best interests.", or some other form of attack.  Within each of those categories, there is a wide range of types of attacks.  On average, there are 26 trillion malicious attacks per year, so there are going to be a lot of attack vectors crashing into your AV product.  Calculating the odds is almost impossible.  It’s Downright Scary!

What we do know is that for those 26,000,086,000,000 or whatever higher, scarier number it is, the AntiMalware product did not stop whatever malicious threats and allowed the breaches we read about all the time.  Of course, none of the other defenses those companies had in place stopped the criminals.  In fact, 100% of the time, the combination of all of these products failed for these victim companies – because they had to stop 100% of the attacks, but they only have to fail ONE TIME.

What can you do?

It is apparent from these numbers and from the daily news reports, that there are at least two major things happening in the cyber world:

  • the good guys are losing, and
  • the bad guys are winning!

This is not just both sides of the same coin, there is much more to it than that.

Sure, the bad guys are getting better at what they do.  They have entire infrastructures to rely on, social networks for criminals, division of labor, secondary markets for their tools, and they learn quickly from what they learn.

They are not all smart, but many are and there are MANY of them.

You are JUST you. You only have to make ONE mistake, which you did before and you see where you are now.

So, Why Are The Good Guys Losing?

There are lots of reasons to be sure, but a significant number of attacks are successful because the incoming threat was not detected at all or not detected until it was too late. Does that sound like what happened to you?

The collective description of the problem in these cases is that people are trying to fight today’s cyberwar (and it is a war) using yesterday’s tactics and yesterday’s weapons. Or worse, they are listening to amateurs and incompetent sources.

Many Victims Are Surprised To Learn That There Is A Better Way

That better way is to use actionable intelligence and proactive intervention to identify the sources of th