Identity Theft & Scams
Scams and fraud have been a part of history since the dawn of time. Many of the new scams we see today are not new at all, but just variations on old cons. Schemes around in the 1500s and referred to as the Spanish Prisoner Scam have morphed over time o become the Nigerian Letter Scam of today. Claims of medical charlatans were as attractive to the early American colonists as they are to us now.
Clever con artists can manipulate every human need and desire. After all, they are the only criminals known as artists. And as much as we rightfully deplore their actions, we must recognize their art to better defend ourselves. Scam artists adapt their art to paint whatever picture they sense will make us vulnerable to their con. They know how to appeal to our own particular weaknesses and psychological makeup. They appeal to whatever works. They construct a network of “people like us” whom we trust; they trumpet legitimate and impressive-sounding business connections; they appeal to our fears; they appeal to our friendship; they appeal to our optimism; they appeal to our desire for quick and easy solutions to life’s problems; and they appeal to our greed. Sometimes they even appeal to and exploit that little kernel of dishonesty that many people have.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, every year more than ten percent of Americans lose more than a billion dollars to scams. Interestingly, the largest group of victims is between the ages of 25 and 44; ages when you are young enough to know everything — which, of course, makes you more vulnerable to a scammer. Particularly troublesome is a study by the National Association of Securities Dealers, which indicates that wealthy people who are financially literate and astute are actually more likely to be suckered in by a financial scam. The only defense against scammers is knowledge and skepticism. Check out my book The Truth About Avoiding Scams, which can be ordered here on this website. Also, every month I will make you aware of the current scams throughout the country.