Have you received an email or a letter that says you have won a million dollars? If yes, you are not alone. Researchers are working to find out what makes someone vulnerable to fall victim to scams. Around $40 to $50 billion are lost each year to consumer fraud. Recent studies are trying to find out who’s likely to become a victim and who is going to stay safe.
Victims of fraud and scams hardly ever admit that they have been evicted because of the embarrassment. Call it a coincidence or not, a person is bound to get a scam call in times when they need money the most!
A scam can be of any nature, from debt-collection scam to fake lottery wins. Innocent individuals can fall prey to worthless product sales and even work-from-home schemes. There are also scams done from online-dating sites where they use a deceptive person to play with sensitive emotions. Rental ads are another method of scam and deception.
The most common victims of such scams are older people. Young people also fall prey to such frauds but in a lower number. The tactics used by these criminals are so convincing that it often gets hard to distinguish between legit and fake ones. The victims range from educated to uneducated individuals and from white to blue-collar job holders.
The underlying identity of a victim is not specific to any one category. Research has broken down the types of typical victims who are more vulnerable than others. The type of fraud will depend on the category of the person it is aimed at. Listed below are a few examples of the type of frauds and the likely victims followed by ways you can keep yourself safe.
If we consider a standard investment scheme fraud, a middle-aged white man is likely the victim. This man is in his late forties and looking for investment options. He is financially literate and probably under some financial pressure. This will make sense when you consider the fact that a person who isn’t interested in property will not fall victim to an investment offer.
The more a person is exposed to the market, the higher the chances for fraud. Higher engagement in the market for products and services leads to more vulnerability to being hooked. Scammers track your information through information desks. When you fill out a form at an investment agency during a visit, they can steal your information to target you.
The best way to distinguish a scam from reality is to call the official number for information. If anyone asks for money upfront, it should raise a red flag. Google for information regarding what you have received and you will get a clearer idea about the scam.
Scammers pick more on older aged individuals and they lose a lot more money than younger ones. Older people are the soft targets that scammers look for. According to researchers, elderly people find it hard to spot liars and therefore, are more likely to fall prey. Their ability to read other’s emotions with accuracy is low and their “emotional recognition” has declined with age.
Even though older individuals have more experience in life and should be able to catch a fraud in an instant, this is not the case for everyone. Some smart older persons do recognize scammers and shut them out immediately. Most are unable to do that, the reason being their innocence which comes in the way.
Public service announcements are targeted at older people. The information again is gathered from public places where they are registered. It is depressing to see scammers fool people who are in their last stages of life and looking for comfort.
When it comes to younger people being conned, the ways are endless. Given the thousands of products and things available for the younger generation – scams are made from anything! Take a young woman for example, she is worried about growing older and is looking for ways to stay young and healthy. She can be an easy target for anti-aging creams and weight loss programs.
A young man can be scammed on a dating website. Deceptive information provided is another way to con a young individual. The variety in interests of young people has given scammers higher chances to look for ways they can use for fraudulent activities.
Scammers flood dating websites using stolen credit card numbers with “perfect partner” profiles. To allure women, a typical profile would be of a middle aged man working in the military or with an engineering background. Financial security is another factor that attracts young women.
To attract young men and fool them, scammers create profiles of young women with an alluring picture. These pictures are also stolen from social media websites. The best way to identify a scam profile from a legitimate one is to check the social media profiles of the same person. If you see anything unusual, it means fraud. The victims are usually lonely individuals who are divorced or widowed.
An extroverted individual is more likely to get conned than an introvert. If you show interest in a call or an email, you are likely to get robbed. A person who likes adventure and trying new things is more susceptible to fraud.
A person who is in debt and looking for a way out automatically becomes a victim for scam artists. The difficult financial situation of the person can make them vulnerable. Scammers will pose as legitimate businesses helping the person out. Given the difficulty of the situation, the person is likely to fall prey.
The best way to save yourself from scammers is to conduct your own research. Google has answers to everything. Open up scam stories and call the business numbers that scammers are posing as, you will distinguish the truth from lies.