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Scam Alert: Your Emotions Can Betray You.

Emotional Betrayal

Usually, a scam alert headline involves a time of season (tax time, holidays) when scams increase or a particular new scam approaches, like AI voice impersonations and family emergency scams.

This scam alert, however, is neither of those…but it is just as important.

More than just an alert, it is also an important reminder, one that almost every scam consultant guest on the Easy Prey podcast has given.

It’s this: Anyone can get scammed.

Or as Alan Castel said, a guest on the Easy Prey podcast in May 2024, “there is a scam out there for everyone.”


As Castel explained to Chris Parker, host of the Easy Prey podcast, no one is immune to being fooled by a con artist. Scams don’t discriminate by education, age, income level, relationship status, corporate title or occupation.

Anyone, under the right circumstances, can become a victim of a scam.

Why? Because we are human, not machines, and we all have human needs, instincts, desires and a long list of emotions that can betray us. All it takes is for everything to fall into place a certain way.

Here’s another scam alert and shocker: It’s not always about greed or fear.

These days, it takes all types of forms, from simple to very sophisticated. While the public may have gotten smarter about not falling for more obvious schemes, scammers have improved their game too.

Lure of money

In other words, becoming a victim these days often is not about getting rich quick, getting an unbelievable price of a desired item, or finding the love of your life. It can simply start with a phone call, text or email that seems part of an otherwise regular day.

So, instead of using an element of fear or the promise of riches, scammers are using sophisticated, well-thought-out and effective psychological approaches and strategies to motivate people into doing what the scammer wants them to do, and what the victims think they need (or even want) to do.

In effect, our everyday, well-intentioned feelings or emotions can betray us.

Situations where your emotions can betray you.

Let’s take a look at the emotions or situational feelings we can have at any one time and see how the right scam will take advantage of the moment: You’ll see that someone doesn’t necessarily need to be in an agitated state of mind to make the wrong decision.

Not at all.

So, let’s propose some normal, everyday situations that even you might find yourself in one day, and match them with a scam that might sneak through your defense when you let your guard down:

  1. There’s a real or growing need. Maybe someone has been laid off or has just graduated and needs a job. Depending on the situation, the need could be urgent. 
  2. It’s about health and wellness. It has been on someone’s mind to lose weight. They then go to the doctor and get a negative checkup. The person will be open to ideas on weight loss programs and products…which opens them up to scams.
  3. You have a huge legal worry. Most people do not want to be in trouble with the law; If they thought they broke the law or owed back taxes, they’d want to fix it fast: That’s where IRS scams and bank impersonator scams come in.
  4. The naive first-timer’s syndrome. There’s always a new app, a new trend or a new way of doing things. Example: someone who has never bought or sold any item online decides to venture in blind. That’s why buyer-seller scams work so well.
  5. The lure of financial improvement. Who isn’t interested in generating more money, or even “easy money?” Some just want to invest for gain, others want to make quick leaps: There is an investment scam for each.
  6. When there’s the fear of missing out. Known as FOMO, the desire to be part of a trend or opportunity (and not being left out) can spur actions. Cryptocurrency, a ticket to a hot event or a limited-edition item are just a few countless examples.
  7. Someone’s willingness to trust and cooperate. A scam interaction will often seem genuine, until… you’ll be asked to take one extra (special) step during the transaction. This is how check and money order scams work.
  8. Loneliness and a desire for friends. Some actively seek to find new friends or romance online; Others are approached online by strangers (and not only on dating platforms). Either way, the human need for friendship, attention and romance gives rise to romance scams.
  9. Looking to explore a new career. Those people want a new opportunity or even a side hustle. Unfortunately, fraudsters are exploiting these dreams and devise ways to steal either money or personal information.
  10. Tricking dutiful, reliable employees. Good, conscientious employees are important to a company. Con artists use social engineering and fake emails to fool employees into wiring money, paying vendors and stealing thousands.
  11. Taking advantage of big-hearted people. The world needs people who are compassionate, caring and giving of their time and money. Scammers devie charity scams to steal from generous types.
  12. Getting unexpected recognition. Who doesn’t want to be singled out for an accomplishment or loyalty? Scammers trick people by sending praising messages rewarding someone for reaching a milestone. Facebook scams work this way.

Scam alert: It’s not always about greed or fear.

As many cybersecurity experts have explained on the Easy Prey podcast, most people get scammed simply because they’re human. Typically what puts us in a more susceptible mode is the nature our emotions or something that touches them.

Scammers use all types of schemes to trigger and manipulate our emotions for their gain and your loss.

Follow the Easy Prey podcast.

We covered this topic in the blog at EasyPrey.com. It’s titled “What Does it Mean to be Easy Prey for a Scam?”   The blog/article includes a special infographic that visually conveys the idea of how our good intentions can betray us.

To gain more insights and perspectives from the experts, follow the Easy Prey podcast, hosted by Chris Parker, CEO of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com. You’ll find it on your favorite podcast platform.

You can also find every episode and search by subject at EasyPrey.com.

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