The Psychology Of Getting Scammed

Yesterday I came across an incredibly interesting article by Bruce Schneier who wrote about the psychology of those who fall victim to various scams.


He summarises a report written by the University of Exeter School of Psychology which mentions some obvious things such as –

Visceral triggers: scams exploit basic human desires and needs — such as greed, fear, avoidance of physical pain, or the desire to be liked — in order to provoke intuitive reactions and reduce the motivation of people to process the content of the scam message deeply.

For example, scammers use triggers that make potential victims focus on the huge prizes or benefits on offer.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the report, however, it goes on to mention how victims tended to keep what they were doing to themselves, not so much to avoid detection, but because they perhaps knew that someone may try to talk them out of the path they were taking.

Do you agree with the report’s findings and could you be one of the three types of people who get scammed?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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