Scammers Play on Four Emotions to Trick Victims; Research Has Revealed the Mindsets Most Likely to Leave Us Vulnerable to Being Conned Online. VICKY SHAW Finds out More

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 10, 2018 | Go to article overview

Scammers Play on Four Emotions to Trick Victims; Research Has Revealed the Mindsets Most Likely to Leave Us Vulnerable to Being Conned Online. VICKY SHAW Finds out More


WHEN do you think you might be at your most vulnerable to falling victim to a scam? Well, new research suggests we're particularly "scammable" when we're emotional.

Looking at some common online scams, NatWest has worked with behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings to investigate the techniques scammers use to exploit their victims online.

They found that they often seek to exploit our emotions, by tapping into our personal hopes, desires and fears - and our natural willingness to trust others and respect those who appear to be in authority. Here are the emotions scammers prey on in common digital scams, according to NatWest's findings...

1. Romance scams: Targeted emotion - desire.

Scammers use flattery and the manipulation of our innermost desires to gradually gain our trust. By preying on a desire to be loved, our hopes and even our emotional vulnerability, they get the information needed to scam their victims.

How to spot this scam: A warning sign could be if someone you've met on a dating website attempts to move the conversation away from the website. They may also ask many questions about you, but offer little information about themselves. They may be reluctant to meet in person and might have a "sob story" to tell, which results in them asking you for money. While you may feel like you're being swept up in a big romance, take some time to stop and think, and perhaps consider discussing any warning signs with people who you know well and trust, such as close friends or relatives. Scammers also often use someone else's image online, so it may be worth doing an internet search to see if the photo actually belongs to someone else. 2. Holiday scams: Targeted emotion - excitement.

Holidays are one of our biggest annual purchases and often one of the most exciting milestones of the year. Scammers prey on our excitement at the prospect of booking a dream holiday and our eagerness not to miss out on the best possible deal. These feelings can limit our ability to make a rational and considered decision.

How to spot this scam: Watch out if you are asked to make your payment for your break outside an official website - and be particularly cautious if you are asked to transfer money directly into someone's bank account, as this could make it particularly hard to claw your cash back. …

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