URBAN LEGENDS: Why Scammers Ask For Photos?

Why are Scammers so aggressive about asking for a victim’s photos?

It is not what amateur groups tell you!

This is all about the Psychology of Persuasion

Establishing a pattern of YES before pushing for the CLOSE!

Something that every good salesperson knows, is getting your “prospect” to say yes and act over and over before you go for the close!


They have to SELL the victim on the fantasy that is their storyline. To get them to BUY the main lie and agree that they will participate.

This may seem strange to think of criminal behavior in terms of a salesperson, but the psychological mechanics are almost exactly the same. In fact, the borderline between a good sales pitch and criminal behavior is many times a very gray area.

Every “Ponzi” or other scam schemer is relying heaving on proven sales and other manipulative techniques to lure in their victims and control them while the deeper manipulation is put in place.

What person has not, at some time in their life, been suckered into buying something they later regretted?

It always begins with a story, but the story is rolled out slowly or a victim’s incredulity will destroy the fragile storyline and the state of the victim during the early stages.

Scammers Scamming Scammers

Fake and instant amateur anti-scam experts would have you believe that they – the scammers – are looking to see if a victim is another scammer. That is patently ridiculous.

If scammers were worried about another scammer wasting their time then all they would have to do is look at the storyline – they always follow a pitch or formula. Besides a scammer will never follow through even if they were initially fooled.

This is nonsense and just another amateur urban legend!

This is all part of the prevailing urban legend that scammers are stupid. They are not.

They may not be “worldly” and knowledgeable, but scamming requires intelligence and strong entrepreneurship – they must be strongly self-motivated and committed to their craft. Scammers work hard and do not waste needless time, and trying to scam another scammer would be a complete waste of time.

Additionally, these are criminal organizations with ties (in many cases) to terrorist organizations – believing they would “attack” each other is a fairytale and truly shows the ignorance of amateur anti-scammers.

It’s About the Pitch & Control

All good salespeople get their “prospects” to commit to a story, or sales pitch, or con!

Once the prospect has begun to engage in “giving” actions – usually just answering a series of subtle probing questions, the prospect is much more likely to stay and continue to the close (meaning money being sent.)

Please Note: we are presenting this information – not to steal the thunder of the author, but to share the mechanisms – the manipulation that is the sales process to help scam victims avoid scams and better understand the manipulative processes so they can recover. We thank the author for his scholarship.

Here is HOW this works

How to Prime Prospects to Say “Yes” (and Make the Sale) by John Greene

People follow predictable patterns, and if you understand these patterns, you can use them to your advantage in your sales process.

As Robert Cialdini notes in Influence: The Psychology for Persuasion, “automatic, stereotyped behavior is prevalent in much of human action, because in many cases it is the most efficient form of behaving, and in other cases it is simply necessary.”

For those who don’t know, Cialdini’s Influence is hailed as the “go-to book” on persuasion. Selling over three million copies and making Fortune’s “75 Smartest Business Books,” it’s been a game changer for the sales industry.

One of Cialdini’s six key principles of persuasion is “commitment and consistency.”

This principle states that we are driven to remain consistent in our attitudes, words, and actions. As we make multiple small commitments (sometimes referred to as micro-commitments), we’re more likely to make a larger commitment later on – one which we may not have originally made.

For example, in one of Cialdini’s case studies, people were asked to put a large sign reading, “Drive Safely,” on their lawn and, unsurprisingly, 83% of the people refused. However, when another group was asked to do the same thing, a full 76% complied. And there was only one small difference between the two groups.

Two weeks before the second group was asked to put the sign on their lawn, a volunteer worker came by their house and asked to put a three-inch sign that read, “Be a Safe Driver.” Because it was such a small request, nearly all of them said yes. The group was much more likely to say yes to the “big ask” after saying yes to the “small ask.”

It’s an incredibly effective method for sales reps to influence other people’s behaviors, and you can use it to prime prospects and increase your sales success.

The way to build this commitment and consistency is through the “Yes” ladder.

The “Yes” ladder is a persuasion method aimed at getting your prospect to say yes to a specific question or situation (making a sale, setting up a meeting, etc.). The process starts by getting them to say yes to a series of questions that start out trivial (where they are practically guaranteed to say yes) and become less so as you ask each question. Each subsequent “yes” they respond with makes them more likely to comply with the next, bigger ask.

It doesn’t even matter if the “yes” is relevant to the sale. A recent study published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing showed that “the frequency of people’s compliance with a request can be substantially increased if the requester first gets them to agree with a series of statements unrelated to the request but selected to induce agreement.

One of my long-time friends runs an outbound marketing office. As a salesman, he goes door-to-door, marketing free estimates on windows and roofing.

Here’s how he collects information to get prospects using the “Yes” ladder:

Salesman: “This is 116 Main Street, right?”

Customer: “Yes”

Salesman: “Cool. And we’re still in Dorchester?

Customer: “Yes.”

Salesman: “Awesome. And you’d probably say you’ve got about 15-20 windows on this house, is that right?”

Customer: “Yes.”

*It goes on for a few more easy “Yes” questions*

Salesman: “Okay. And your phone number, is that a 978?

Customer: “Yes, 978-555-6652.”

Salesman: “Okay great. Like I said, we’ll have guys in the area all day tomorrow giving free estimates. You’ll be here around the same time tomorrow, or sometime later in the day work better?”

Customer: “Yes, tomorrow around this time works.”

That’s a little snapshot of how the “Yes” ladder works. It’s a powerful strategy for making prospects more comfortable with you and used to saying yes to your questions, and it can be especially helpful for new customers who are more wary of making a big purchase or commitment.

Now let’s break down how you can put it to use for your own sales strategy.

Step 1: Identify the “Big YES”

Your “Big Yes” is the ultimate goal of your interaction with a prospect. This may be getting the prospect to purchase something, receive an estimate, or schedule an appointment in the near future. Whatever it is, make sure you identify your ultimate goal from the outset. That way you can…

Step 2: Build Your Ladder

Once you know your “Big Yes”, you can work backward and start building the rungs of the ladder. From the earlier example, the “Big Yes” for the door-to-door marketers was to get the prospect to schedule a free estimate.

They built their yes ladder by asking the prospect relevant questions about their address, the number of windows on their home, their phone number, etc. Each “yes” built compliance and helped earn a little more trust from their prospect.

Remember the study we mentioned before? It also found that mere agreement subtly causes respondents to view the presenter of the statements as similar to themselves, which in turn increases the frequency compliance with a request from that same person.”

Step 3: Get the First “Yes”

Start with something you know they’ll say “yes” to. The easiest way to find a good first yes is to identify something you already know the answer to. For example, “Your office is located over in Pittsburgh, right?” Then from there, continue through your pre-planned “Yes” ladder structure, slowly escalating up to your Big Yes.

Step 4: Make the Big Ask

This is the objective of the whole process. With each “Yes” question, push the envelope a little more and “climb” your way up the ladder to the big ask. If you structured your questions correctly and have gotten at least 4-5 yes responses in a row, you can go for the big ask.

Whether you’re selling smartphones for Apple or new products for a startup, the “Yes” ladder is a powerful way to build compliance and make the sale. By following the steps above, you can build your “Yes” ladder, earn more micro-commitments, and ultimately get more yeses.

Do You See the Similarity with the World of Professional Scams Online?

Getting a victim to comply in the early stages leads to the opportunity and certainty of compliance later in the scam when the first “big ask” is made.

In fact, this is also why scammers start out with small asks – small amounts of money or favors. This is “priming the pump” or setting the victim up.

One of Those Favors is the Victim’s Photos

The victim’s photos serve multiple purposes, but the initial and most important to the scammer at that time is the compliance of the victim, Getting them to respond and deliver – when if they were aware of the process, they would automatically refuse. But scammers are that good – most of them.

Scamming Your Friends & Family

However, the photos also serve another more sinister purpose as well: scamming your friends and family.

The victim’s photos can be used to create impersonation profiles – then be used to “friend” their friends, and in effect begin an identity take-over.

The scammer will create a new profile, make up some story about you – such as you are avoiding trolls or haters and that is why you created the extra new profile – and then connect with the victim’s contacts.

As the manipulation of the victim increases over time, most victims will begin to withdraw from family and friends and become more secretive, this works in the scammer’s favor and allows them to use the fake profile to begin working on the circle of contacts.

Since the friends or family are not really under the scammer’s control, they cannot be stretched as far as the victim.

But most friends and family members are willing to send small amounts of money for minor emergencies (to pay a utility bill, or something similar) to help who they think is the victim. Since the victim is usually becoming more and more isolated because of the manipulation, the friends and family will have a harder time talking with them to verify.

Another potential use of the photos – assuming the victim matches a general usable template is to be impersonated to scam other strangers.

Photos are a commodity that can be reused over and over in many ways to scam others.

Ironically, most victims – after they discover they were scammed – do the completely wrong things – usually out of shame and embarrassment.

After a scam, a victim should take an inventory of what information they gave to their scammer. Few EVER do this.

They will likely have shared their whole lives with the scammer – more than enough information to do an identity theft or legal impersonation.

Yet victims mostly ignore this risk in favor of denial, anger, or shame. This costs them valuable time to help prevent identity theft or other scams, especially going after other people they may know. Scammers will work through a circle of contacts and go as far as they can – your connections give them an easier path to new victims – either as you or as a potential new friend that “you” are introducing to them.

Or simply to be used as yet another fake identity using your stolen photos.

But the problem is that most victims do nothing to make it easy for others to confirm their photos have been stolen. You lock down your profile’s privacy settings do not even Google can index your photos – meaning they cannot be seen in image search. A victim’s desire to both hide and protect their privacy assures that the scammers have unhindered use of your photos.

Many impersonation victims learn this lesson the hard way and take steps to help future victims confirm frauds, but this is not even a millionth of one percent that understand this.


You can now see why scammers ask for photos and how it does not even relate to some of the misinformation being spread by amateur groups.

All scam victims need to find professional and accurate information and professional support after their scam. This is a great challenge for most victims when they discover their scams and are grasping for a lifeline. However, the importance of this will determine your future mental health and happiness.

We Urge You to Choose Wisely.

TAGS: Urban Legends, Misinformation About Scams, Amateur Anti-Scam Groups, Instant Experts, SCARS, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Online Fraud, Online Crime Is Real Crime, Scam Avoidance



SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
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