scam psychology

Con Psychology

We often wonder how certain people are manipulated or conned by what should have been obvious. The fact is: it is basic psychology, and it can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime. So don’t judge another con victim lest you soon fill their shoes.

There have been college professors thrown in prison because they fell for a pretty face on the internet, or retired police officers who lost their bank accounts because they thought they would help the wife of a murdered royal subject from Africa.

The list goes on and on, but there is a common attribute; the con-artists used basic psychology tricks to “hook” their victim.

One thing I have discovered is that by education, we can create an awareness of con psychology. By doing so, we can hopefully put a damper on their systems, and these scammers will get a real job.


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But, do keep in mind that many honest businesses use many of these same psychology means to sell. So, we need to use good judgment on whether the person is using this psychology in a legit way, or an illegal way.

The Powers of Persuasion Can Be Used By Both Good and Bad

Sales and marketing people are taught 6 basic principles to help them with sales. The ting is: con-artists have learned to pervert these principles for their use too. They are:

  1. Expert authority. The person is a credible expert on the subject at hand.

  2. Likeable. The person gives that feeling as if they could be your best friend.

  3. Reciprocity. This is the method of making the person feel as if they owe you one. (I’ll do this for you if you do this for me.)

  4. Consistent. Do what you say and say what you will do.

  5. Social consensus. Using the everyone else is doing, wearing or eating psychology.

  6. Rare or scarce. Giving the impression that you are getting a one-of-a-kind deal.

So, when you are feeling these psychological powers of persuasion, I would be willing to bet it is either someone trying to sell you something or a con-artist trying to separate you from your money or possessions.

So how do you tell the difference between a reputable salesperson and a con-artist?

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The Other Psychology Principles Con-Artists Use

While the con-artists will utilize the powers of persuasion, they will also use some other psychology tricks and methods too.

  • Distraction. This is a key in the manipulative methods of a scammer. We have learned that when you can put a person’s senses on another item, you can virtually do whatever you like while they are distracted. The card hustle of 3 card Monte is a perfect example. The con distracts you and you lose track where the card is. Pickpockets are also experts at distraction. Just stay aware of everything happening, and you should be safe.

  • Compliance. Using an official clothing and even a badge can turn the biggest asshole into a compliant wimp. Con-artists will use this method. Check further, and don’t hand over personal info just because the person looks and sounds official. Ask for more proof.

  • Sheep psychology. People are like sheep, and cons know that. They will use a method of creating what seems to be a herd of people doing one thing. This “expert” group of investors is jumping on the train, so you should too. They even show you the investors and have you talk with them (they are accomplices usually). Remember what your parents said, “Just because everyone else jumps off a bridge doesn’t mean you should too.”

  • Time pressure. Salespeople also use this, so you do not want to just immediately think it is a scam. But, if you are strong with a salesperson and say you still need time to consider, they normally will understand…the con-artist won’t. They may even get angry and say that the whole deal is off if you can’t do it now.

Final Thoughts

To put it straight, you should know in your inner-self if a deal doesn’t sound right. If there is even an inkling of a chance you are getting scammed, just don’t do it. The con-artist may try to make you feel like you are stupid, but just agree that you are stupid and tell them maybe they will find a smart person at their next stop.

Don’t allow the illegal Sigmund Freud’s take advantage of you.

You can escape con psychology!

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