Being a Victim of A Scam Can Be Traumatizing

Work-from-home job postings or business opportunities are everywhere. Legitimate job listings include positions in industries ranging from customer service to software development to healthcare.  Then, there’s the dark side of remote job listings. These include a variety of ways to make money fast, including suspiciously high-paying data entry jobs, research positions, and multi-level marketing opportunities.


Unfortunately, most of those positions aren't what most people would consider a real job – and many of them are outright scams. There are no benefits, no hourly wage or salary, only a promise of making money. Sometimes, you’ll be charged a fee to get hired or acquire a kit to get started … later to discover that the only money to be made is from other would-be entrepreneurs.


Scammers Target Everyone

In this article we are going to discuss considerations behind why scams seem to affect specific demographics of society.   Saying scammers target elderly and mentally challenged victims is an over-simplification of successful scams.   Scams target everyone from every walk of life. 

First let’s discuss why people choose to be scammers?  Most people aren’t born scammers.  When you get a real chance to ask a scammer why he or she chose to engage in scamming you’d be surprised to learn it’s an act of desperation.  Desperation comes in many forms.  Doing a bit of research, we can see that most scams originate from locations hard hit by bad economics and little ability to change it no matter how hard one tries to improve life.  In many cases you’d learn the scammer truly does want out of the lifestyle.   Some individuals continue to engage in scamming for a more personal nature to the individual.  In some cases you’d learn the scammer themselves are being forced to scam.  In no way are we supporting or justifying the actions of scammers.  We are simply providing some insight related to why scammers engage in scamming activities.

When we discuss the rouge scammer, this is someone voluntarily choosing to live the life of a scammer.  This type of scammer believes he or she is somehow delivering some kind of justice to his or her victim.  This is the typical mentality of a scammer completely believing western-world countries owe them some kind of restitution for actions taken by long-dead ancestors that are blamed for their current and poor economic status.  This type of scammer is the sole person behind any scam presented to potential victims.

In the following scenario we get a good idea how many unintentionally enter the world of scamming and why it’s so hard to get away from it.  Imagine.  You worked hard on your education.  You graduated at the top of your class.  You hit the local job market with expert level knowledge and skills, but you find legitimate jobs in your field of study literally pay pennies for skilled labor due to an over-saturation of eligible candidates at the same skill level as yourself.  Someone comes to you with the promise of a high paying job.  You simply have to show up to the place of work and show your respective pieces of personal identifiable documentation to prove your identity.  You decide to take the person up on their offer.   You show up at the business location and provide your documentation.  You learn very quickly you will be working in an inbound call center providing customer support for a variety of services and products (your calls are fed to you by a screener).  It all seems legit and looks promising.  Now that you’re on site, you’re informed your first day involves on-the-job-training.  You’re provided a script that entails you explaining which level of services you provide and associated fees.  Up to this point, you believe you were hired for a legitimate job.  Once you’ve taken your first few calls you realize quickly you’ve been tricked and hired to scam people.  Now you want to leave but you cannot because the call center manager is holding your personal identifiable information hostage.  You cannot live or function in today’s world without that documentation.  You are then told that if you want to get it back you have to commit to earning a specific dollar figure for the boss.  Many of these scam call center owners are simply a variant of a Mafia owned and operated business establishment.  And yes, those direct operation individuals are not above making threatening promises about hurting family members of those who cannot leave the company until they have satisfied their promise of committal to that earned dollar figure.  The desperation of the scammer to leave is hard to detect when you receive a direct outbound call from a scam call center.

Let’s talk about the demographics of victims and why are some scams more successful than others.  Scammers have no idea the mental state or age of a person, nor do they have any idea of a person’s social or economic background of their potential victims.  Successful scams are simply a result of playing the odds.  The more people a scammer can reach the more likely a scam will be successful.   This fact is further compounded when a potential victim is elderly or somehow mentally challenged.  Our proof of this statement is based purely on science.  Studies were performed comparing the parts of the brain involved in decision-making processes based on establishing trust between one person and another.  Studies comparing those parts of the brains of elderly subjects and younger subjects during real time mock scam scenarios revealed those parts were very active in the younger study subjects compared to the brain scans of elderly study participants indicating that area of brain activity was non-existent.  That absence of brain activity in that part of the brain means elderly people are more trusting of strangers compared to younger study participants.  This issue is further complicated when the victim suffers any number of mental challenges resultant of genetics or even dramatic accidents resulting in brain injuries. 

Smart people can be victims as well.  If a scammer can sound convincing enough to a potential victim, anyone can be drawn in without realizing they are being scammed.  In some cases, that level of “smart” may not include the knowledge or ability to resolve a specific issue.  Consider the scams related to computer support issues.  You can have a PHD and still not really know how basic computer processes work.  At that point, you are left relying on a technical support specialist for assistance.  If a tech support scammer can provide enough seemingly authentic proof of his or her association with a well-known company you can be tricked into trusting that individual to fix your computer issues.  In the cases of scammers spoofing government level office services and departments and well-known business’, the probability of many people being scammed is substantially high simply because many of us really don’t know how those offices function regarding communication channels to us in the external communication channels.


Report the Scam

If you find you've been a victim of a scam, speak up: if you were fooled, even for a moment, others will be too.  There are some key steps you need to take to mitigate potential damage to your personal identifiable information.  These steps include:

--Reporting it to local authorities

--Reporting it to your creditors

--File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center or the FTC

--Report the company to the Better Business Bureau

--Report a phishing scam to Google


Check Credit Reporting Agencies

You will want to be actively involved in monitoring your credit reports and credit scores.  You will need to check the three major credit reporting agencies: Equfax, Transunion, and Experian.  The agencies provide three different kinds of specific services:

--Equafax/Equifax offers credit fraud protection and identity theft protection to consumers

--Transunion/you can place a freeze on your TransUnion credit report and TransUnion will take the extra step of notifying the other two CRAs that you've done so.

--Experian/offers a Credit Tracker by subscription. You'll get your credit score as well as your credit report if you subscribe.

More Action You Can Take to Protect Your Information

Recovering from scams and fraud can be a long and expensive process as well as a very complicated process.  Putting a freeze on your credit may not be enough.  Identity theft can happen for years to come.  You may benefit from services designed to help proactively protect your personal identifiable information.  These services go beyond the services of the credit reporting agencies.  These services monitor changes in your credit ratings as well as when new lines of credit are opened in your name.  You can also specify notifications if bank withdraws or transactions surpass a specific dollar value.

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