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SCARS™ Editorial: Commentary On Being Scammed Again
90% Of Scam Survivors Have The Completely Wrong Idea About What It Means To Remain Safe And Avoid Future Scams
Partly this is the fault of other so-called anti-scam groups – amateurs or fakes! They propagate the idea that once you learn about scams by looking at an endless stream of stolen photos that you will be immune from being scammed again. Unfortunately, this is also a scam.
Let’s figure what it means to be scammed: To be scammed is to be deceived and to change your actions to comply with the direction of the deception.
Do you remember how parents will deceive when feeding a baby? “Open wide here comes an airplane” Well, in the purest sense that is a scam. A harmless scam, unless you consider how children associate eating with airplanes!
ACCEPT IT – YOU WILL BE SCAMMED AGAIN
Not necessarily another romance scams, but some form of a scam.
It is vital to recognize that you will be scammed again. It is going to happen. In fact, you are scammed almost every week! Sometimes every day!
You are scammed by politicians, by the news media, by social media posts, by products that we buy, by your kids, your mates, and your friends. Everybody spins the truth sometimes. It is what makes us human – we are all storytellers. But some are profound liars!
Of course, those are not all BAD SCAMS – but some definitely are!
When you feel compelled to buy a particular brand of product at the store – that is a scam. When you believe a half-truth told by a talking head on the news that is a scam. It is social engineering at work on your brain.
WHY DO PEOPLE DO IT?
Because those entities – people, companies, government – are all using social engineering techniques to manipulate you into doing what THEY want you to do. Most of them want some of your money.
Sometimes what they want is good for you, sometimes it is not!
Some just want your support to do what is right, others want you to stay a victim so they can control you!
IT IS INEVITABLE
So, we can agree that scamming is inevitable. It is going to happen again and again. Sometimes we will be prepared for it, and sometimes not.
You ARE going to talk to someone who is not as they seem.
You ARE going to buy a product that does not live up to its reputation. It is going to happen.
By accepting this simple fact of life, you can allow yourself to change your approach to risk. You can allow low-risk scams to happen while avoiding the high-risk ones, most of the time.
For example: If you are a wise computer or device user YOU KNOW that viruses and malware are real and that they are going to attack your devices, so you have anti-virus software. This is acknowledging that it can and will happen, and by adding that software you are changing your behavior to account for it. You are adding a layer of security to help you stay safe. You are not simply saying that you are too smart to fall for a virus, right?
The same is true for all forms of risk!
You can never say that you are “too smart” to fall for something because it is both living in denial and deceiving yourself in the process.
Another example: Recently one of our Board Members and Officers was scammed himself out of US$30,000 dollars via a “Rubberband Wire Transfer Scam” – He knew better than to do what he did, but he did not have the behaviors to save himself, but he just knew it would never happen to him and his business. OOOPS!
We constantly tell you about the absolute need to change behaviors.
Because in the entire history of humanity, this is the ONLY thing that works!
Thinking is no solution, your brain thought all about your scam all the way to the bank when you sent the money! Right? You were sure it was all real until you found out it was not.
SLOW DOWN – GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO BE WRONG
The key behavioral change that all scam victims need to adopt is to slow down your decision making and your acting on it – to give yourself time to think it through. This is the whole STOP|THINK|CONNECT program promoted by the U.S. Government and SCARS in a nutshell.
You have to give your logical mind time to think about what you want to do. Much of the time you will do the right thing if you wait before acting.
HORMONES MAKE YOU DUMB
The thing is, is that your brain is FAST. Really fast!
Your brain gets stimulus and it acts almost at the speed of light. Far too fast to give you time to really think about it.
You feel it and you do it!
You encounter a situation, and your brain reacts by releasing hormones – these cause reactions and trigger abilities, but they can also make you stupid – by reducing your ability to think the problem through.
Hormones and chemicals get released fast and control what you think and do. BUT if you can condition yourself to just slow down before acting on these impulses, the hormone rush fades and the logic can return.
You can listen to your doubts and protect yourself that way!
BUT NOT ALWAYS
You also have to simply accept that something is going to happen again, at the very least in a different form.
It may not be the same scam, but there are thousands of variations of them. 9 million may fail, but one will not.
This is not about being fearful of this, but just acknowledging that risk exists and being prepared is the best way to go. Not believing that you are immune now, but preparing for how to manage it when it happens.
ALLOW YOURSELF A WAY OUT
The other part of behavioral change is to allow yourself a way out.
Part of risk management is deciding what risks to accept.
Decide what you are prepared to lose and stick to that – whatever amount it is – never exceed it without having thought it out completely.
We have insurance for exactly that reason. The deductible is the amount we are prepared to lose in a catastrophy.
The same goes for questionable offers we received – until you have proof that it was not a scam.
LEARN THE LESSON OF THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
They built it 1,000 miles long, and so high it could not be climbed, right?
Because somebody always figures a way around it or over it or under it.
The one constant in the universe is that defenses get breached. Entropy always wins.
That is why we update software. It is why we add security cameras and upgrade our locks. Risks change, and instead of saying it can never happen again, we plan for these risks.
YOU ARE A RECOVERING OR RECOVERED SCAM VICTIM
You learned the lesson, you will never be scammed again. Not true.
The lesson to be learned is that it did happen and you thought you were prepared the first time, that it could never happen to you, but it did.
The process of recovery is what makes the difference. If you can accept that it happened and that you are susceptible (as is almost everyone) then you can plan defenses against the next time to be better prepared.
That, and how far you are willing to go before you demand proof.
Avoidance is not always possible, so you have to plan for what, how, and when.
NO MAGIC ANSWER
There is no magic answer to how to stay safe always.
You have to continuously evolve just like the scammers. But it does start with the simple realization of what is possible.
It is possible for you to be scammed again, and again!
So stay on your toes, keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground – these will let you see most of them coming.
The ones that get past you, you can control or limit their damage by planning for it and refusing to give away your soul.
THE ONE THING TO KNOW
If you learn a few things from all of this and from us, it should be this:
- You were scammed and you can be scammed again, so be as careful and watchful as you can be – plan for and manage the risks
- Don’t ever assume it will not happen again; don’t try to convince yourself it will not happen again – that is denial
- Conviction is a false belief system – you have to live your doubt, accept that there are risks and be aware that bad things do happen – this is being a realist
- It’s all about risk identification and risk management – something we humans are amazingly good at – when we let ourselves be – let yourself be a risk manager not a risk denier
Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Differently Or They Are Trying To Scam You Too!
Best of luck to us all!
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A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.
TAGS: SCARS, Important Article, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Social Engineering Techniques, SCARS™ Editorial, Being Scammed Again, Risk Management, Living In Denial