(Last Updated On: June 20, 2022)

Confirmation BiasConfirmation bias This cognitive bias is favoring information that conforms to your existing beliefs and discounting evidence that does not conform. – Letting Your Desires Control What You See!

The Psychology of ScamsPsychology Of Scams Psychology Of Scams is the study of the psychological or emotional effects of scams or financial fraud on victims of these crimes. It helps victims to better understand the impact of scams on them personally or on others. To find the SCARS articles on the Psychology of Scams, use the search option to enter the term and find them.

A 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 www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Insight

Your Psychology Works Against You And Most People Tend To See What They Want To See!

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. Victims Are Expertly Manipulated During The Course Of Their Romance Scam (And Other Types Of 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. Too) But Their Own Psychology Actively Contributes To Its Success!

One of the factors that contribute to both the initial hook and then the continuation of the scam is the victim’s own psychology. Each of us experiences the world subjectively based upon what we believe to be true. This is called “Confirmation Bias.”

con·fir·ma·tion bi·as
the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

CONFIRMATION BIAS IS:

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or strengthens one’s prior personal beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for desired outcomes, for emotionally charged issues, and for deeply-entrenched beliefs.

In other words, once you BELIEVE you are in a relationship that scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. is able to rely on your own Confirmation Bias to help sustain the relationship because the victim believes it is real!

People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation, and memory have been invoked to explain:

  • Attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence)
  • Belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false)
  • Irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series)
  • Illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations)

All of these contribute to the continuation and maintenance of the scam AND facilitate the “gaslighting” that scammers use to isolate their victims.

A DEFINITION

Confirmation bias has also been called confirmatory bias or myside bias.

Confirmation bias is an example of cognitive bias, and also of apophenia – the general tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things.

Confirmation biasesConfirmation bias This cognitive bias is favoring information that conforms to your existing beliefs and discounting evidence that does not conform. are effects in information processing. They differ from what is sometimes called the behavioral confirmation effect, commonly known as a self-fulfilling prophecy, in which a person’s expectations influence their own behaviorBehavior   Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams., bringing about the expected result.

Some psychologists restrict the term confirmation bias to a selective collection of evidence that supports what one already believes while ignoring or rejecting evidence that supports a different conclusion. Others apply the term more broadly to the tendency to preserve one’s existing beliefs when searching for evidence, interpreting it, or recalling it from memory.

BACKGROUND

A series of psychological experiments in the 1960s suggested that people are biased toward confirming their existing beliefs. Later work re-interpreted these results as a tendency to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and ignoring alternatives. In certain situations, this tendency can bias people’s conclusions. Explanations for the observed biases include wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. Another explanation is that people show confirmation bias because they are weighing up the costs of being wrong, rather than investigating in a neutral, scientific way. However, even scientists and intelligent people can be prone to confirmation bias.

Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Poor decisions due to these biases have been found in political, organizational, and scientific contexts. For example, confirmation bias produces systematic errors in research based on inductive reasoning.

Make-Believe Explanation

Developmental psychologist Eve Whitmore has argued that beliefs and biases involved in confirmation bias have their roots in childhood coping through make-believe, which becomes:

“the basis for more complex forms of self-deception and illusion into adulthood.”

The friction brought on by questioning as an adolescent with developing critical thinking can lead to the rationalization of false beliefs, and the habit of such rationalization can become unconscious over the years.

Individual Differences

“Myside bias,” also known as Confirmation Bias, was once believed to be correlated with intelligence; however, studies have shown that myside bias can be more influenced by the ability to rationally think as opposed to the level of intelligence. Myside bias can cause an inability to effectively and logically evaluate the opposite side of an argument. Studies have stated that myside bias is an absence of “active open-mindedness”, meaning the active search for why an initial idea may be wrong.

Typically, myside bias is operationalized in empirical studies as the quantity of evidence used in support of their side in comparison to the opposite side.

A study has found individual differences in myside or confirmational bias. A study investigated individual differences that are acquired through learning in a cultural context and are mutable. The researcher found an important individual difference in argumentation. Studies have suggested that individual differences such as:

  • Deductive reasoning ability – (see below)
  • Ability to overcome belief bias
  • Epistemological understanding – the cognitive and intellectual functioning of an individual is significantly determined by his or her views on what knowledge is and how it is evaluated and acquired. These individual conceptions of knowledge and knowing determine one’s level of epistemological understanding.  It is a process that starts with radical objectivism (knowledge as a certain and objective entity), leading through subjectivism, to an integration of both dimensions (allowing for uncertainty and the possibility to evaluate beliefs).
  • Thinking disposition – a tendency toward a particular pattern of intellectual behavior. For example, good thinkers have the tendency to identify and investigate problems, to probe assumptions, to seek reasons, and to be reflective.

Those are significant predictors of the reasoning and generating arguments, counterarguments, and rebuttals.

A study by Christopher Wolfe and Anne Britt also investigated how participants’ views of “what makes a good argument?” can be a source of confirmational bias that influences the way a person formulates his own arguments (opinions or views). The study investigated individual differences of “argumentation schema” (an approach that allows someone to see the elements that conform an argument including all the relationships between the parts) and asked participants to write essays. The participants were randomly assigned to write essays either for or against their preferred side of an argument and were given research instructions that took either a balanced or an unrestricted approach. The balanced-research instructions directed participants to create a “balanced” argument, i.e., that included both pros and cons; the unrestricted-research instructions included nothing on how to create the argument.

We see this substantially when asking scam victims to look at potential fake scammer profiles. Most of the time they are unable to break it down and identify the true facts, but instead still rely on their confirmational bias – now altered – to simply declare it a scammer.

Overall, the results revealed that the balanced-thinking significantly increased the incidence of opposing information in arguments. These also reveal that personal belief is not a source of confirmational bias; however, those participants who believe that a good argument is one that is based on facts, are more likely to exhibit this bias than other participants. This evidence is consistent with the claims proposed in Baron’s article—that people’s opinions about what makes good thinking can influence how arguments are generated. In other words, their opinions about their own thinking influence their thinking!

According to Shahram Heshmat Ph.D.:

Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea or concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views or prejudices one would like to be true.

Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it. Confirmation bias suggests that we don’t perceive circumstances objectively. We pick out those bits of data that make us feel good because they confirm our prejudices. Thus, we may become prisoners of our assumptions. For example, some people will have a very strong inclination to dismiss any claims that marijuana may cause harm as nothing more than old-fashioned reefer madness. Some social conservatives will downplay any evidence that marijuana does not cause harm.

Wishful thinking is a form of self-deception, such as false optimism. For example, we often deceive ourselves, such as stating: just this one; it’s not that fattening; I’ll stop smoking tomorrow. Or when someone is “under the influence” he feels confident that he can drive safely even after three or more drinks.

Self-deception can be like a drug, numbingNUMBING Numbing is a biological process whereby emotions are detached from thoughts, behaviors, and memories. In many cases, a victim's numbing is evidenced by her or his limited range of emotions associated with interpersonal interactions and their inability to associate any emotion with their recent experience. Because numbing symptoms hide what is going on inside emotionally, there can be a tendency for the victim,  family members, counselors, and other behavioral health staff to assess levels of traumatic stress symptoms and the impact of trauma as less severe than they actually are. you from harsh reality or turning a blind eye to the tough matter of gathering evidence and thinking. As Voltaire commented long ago, “Illusion is the first of all pleasure.” In some cases, self-deception is good for us. For example, when dealing with certain illnesses, positive thinking may actually be beneficial for diseases such as cancer, but not diabetes or ulcers. There is limited evidence that believing that you will recover helps reduce your level of stress hormones, giving the immune system and modern medicine a better chance to do their work.

In sum, people are prone to believe what they want to believe. Seeking to confirm our beliefs comes naturally, while it feels strong and counterintuitive to look for evidence that contradicts our beliefs. This explains why opinions survive and spread. Disconfirming instances are far more powerful in establishing the truth. Disconfirmation would require looking for evidence to disprove it.

To learn more about Confirmation Bias see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

REASONING

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a basic form of valid reasoning. Deductive reasoning, or deduction, starts out with a general statement, or hypothesis, and examines the possibilities to reach a specific, logical conclusion, according to California State University. The scientific method uses deduction to test hypotheses and theories.

“In deductive inference, we hold a theory and based on it we make a prediction of its consequences. That is, we predict what the observations should be if the theory were correct. We go from the general — the theory — to the specific — the observations,” said Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, a researcher and professor emerita at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Deductive reasoning usually follows steps. First, there is a premise, then a second premise, and finally an inference. A common form of deductive reasoning is syllogism, in which two statements — a major premise and a minor premise — reach a logical conclusion. For example, the premise “Every A is B” could be followed by another premise, “This C is A.” Those statements would lead to the conclusion “This C is B.” Syllogisms are considered a good way to test deductive reasoning to make sure the argument is valid.

For example, “All men are mortal. Harold is a man. Therefore, Harold is mortal.” For deductive reasoning to be sound, the hypothesis must be correct. It is assumed that the premises, “All men are mortal” and “Harold is a man” are true. Therefore, the conclusion is logical and true. In deductive reasoning, if something is true of a class of things in general, it is also true for all members of that class.

According to California State University, deductive inference conclusions are certainly provided the premises are true. It’s possible to come to a logical conclusion even if the generalization is not true. If the generalization is wrong, the conclusion may be logical, but it may also be untrue. For example, the argument, “All bald men are grandfathers. Harold is bald. Therefore, Harold is a grandfather,” is valid logically but it is untrue because the original statement is false.

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning is the opposite of deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning makes broad generalizations from specific observations. Basically, there is data, then conclusions are drawn from the data. This is called inductive logic, according to Utah State University.

 “In inductive inference, we go from the specific to the general. We make many observations, discern a pattern, make a generalization, and infer an explanation or a theory,” Wassertheil-Smoller told Live Science. “In science, there is a constant interplay between inductive inference (based on observations) and deductive inference (based on theory), until we get closer and closer to the ‘truth,’ which we can only approach but not ascertain with complete certainty.”

An example of inductive logic is, “The coin I pulled from the bag is a penny. That coin is a penny. A third coin from the bag is a penny. Therefore, all the coins in the bag are pennies.”

Even if all of the premises are true in a statement, inductive reasoning allows for the conclusion to be false. Here’s an example: “Harold is a grandfather. Harold is bald. Therefore, all grandfathers are bald.” The conclusion does not follow logically from the statements.

Inductive reasoning has its place in the scientific method and is heavily used in daily life. Scientists use it to form hypotheses and theories. Deductive reasoning allows them to apply the theories to specific situations.

Abductive Reasoning

Another form of scientific reasoning that doesn’t fit in with inductive or deductive reasoning is abductive. Abductive reasoning usually starts with an incomplete set of observations and proceeds to the likeliest possible explanation for the group of observations, according to Butte College. It is based on making and testing hypotheses using the best information available. It often entails making an educated guess after observing a phenomenon for which there is no clear explanation.

This is where the scam victim uses reasoning to decide that a scammer is real. And then the manipulation and confirmation bias does the rest!

For example, a person walks into their living room and finds torn-up papers all over the floor. The person’s dog has been alone in the room all day. The person concludes that the dog tore up the papers because it is the most likely scenario. Now, the person’s sister may have brought his niece and she may have torn up the papers, or it may have been done by the landlord, but the dog theory is the more likely conclusion.

Abductive reasoning is useful for forming hypotheses to be tested. Abductive reasoning is often used by doctors who make a diagnosis based on test results and by jurors who make decisions based on the evidence presented to them.

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SCARS GREN BOOK - The SCARS STEPS Guide to Scam Victim Recovery

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!

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SCARS SLATE BOOK - A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

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.

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SCARS RED BOOK - Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

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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SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal
SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims
SCARS CHERRY BOOK - A Guide To Understanding Your Fear
SCARS WORKBOOK - 8 Steps To Improvement
SCARS WORKBOOK - Understanding Self-Blame, Guilt, and Shame
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Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com