Whenever we hear about a new scam, or hear about how someone has fallen for a scam, we shake our heads and wonder how anyone could be so stupid. However, there are plenty of scams out there, and many of them are fairly sophisticated. And, of course, there are other factors at work, and these can cloud anyone’s judgment, no matter how smart you are.
Here are some of the reasons that people might fall for scams:
Really, Really Want to Get Rich Quick
One of the biggest reasons people fall for scams is when they let a desire for money cloud their judgment. It doesn’t even have to to a case of greed clouding judgment. Sometimes you badly want the money to pay off debt, or you feel like the right “business opportunity” will help you improve your lifestyle. No matter the reason, though, the lure of quick money, or easy money, or a “system” that allows you set it and forget it, can cloud your judgment since you are so focused on getting the money and “fixing” your problems.
Of course, sometimes it really is greed. You think that it really is possible to earn lots of money without putting in the work, or having patience.
Want to Believe It’s True
There are a number of scams that are too good to be true. However, when we really want something to be true, we can make poor money decisions and be taken in by a scam. You might want to believe that it’s possible to fix your credit immediately, or that the guy showing up promising to re-do your roof in one day is totally honest. While not everyone is perpetrating a scam, you do need to be careful. As much as you would like to believe that you qualify for a surprisingly huge tax credit, it probably just isn’t true, and you need to be on your guard.
You Trust the Information Source
Finally, it can be possible to be taken in if you trust the information source. One of the ways that scammers dupe even the smartest is by posing as a legitimate company. The Better Business Bureau recently found that its good name was being used to get personal information from scammers. During tax time, there are a number scams related to refunds. You think you are receiving an email from the IRS telling you that your refund is being held up for some small reason, and you are asked to go to a site and enter personal information (the IRS won’t do this via email, though).
Another issue is that you might trust an “inside” tip from a friend or family member. You trust the source, and decide to throw in. And, while this trusted source may not be trying to scam you, he or she might be fellow-victims, and you could all end up in trouble together.
It’s important to be vigilant, and to be careful about the people you trust — especially with your money and personal information.
What other reasons are there that people fall for scams?
Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos