INTRODUCTION: WELCOME TO THE FANTASY
“Edmonton Senior Loses $175,000 To Fake Microsoft Scam”
“Woman believed victim of online scam found dead”
“Suicide of internet scam victim”
If you follow the news, you can’t miss it. The headlines scream of horror story after another like the ones quoted above. The online scams, majority of which are known as advance fee frauds, may cost people their savings, their friends, their family and in the worst cases their lives. And every time we read news like these we are left with the question: why?
A common explanation heard often is that victims of the scams are stupid and some even claim they deserve what they get. In this series of articles I would like to propose you another explanation and first ask you something: do you smoke? Do you remember what it was like when you started? You were in control, right? After several years of smoking and hearing how bad it is for your health you may consider that perhaps you should quit. But suddenly you may find out that getting rid of the habit is much harder than telling yourself you are in control.
The same kind of question could be asked of any bad habit. Do you have problems not eating the whole bar of chocolate at once when you have it? Do you sometimes not know when to stop drinking? Perhaps coffee is something you just need to have. In short, most of us have habits that may not necessarily be bad for us, but we know they are habits we couldn’t easily get rid of. Our mind plays tricks on us and even when we tell ourselves we should not do something, we still do it because our mind tells us it’s the right thing to do. Our mind does it because our mind wants it. Whether we do or not.
A scam works like a bad habit. You start it slowly and feeling in control. But the further you go, the deeper you sink into the scam’s fantasy world. The more you hear, the more this harmless habit spirals into a full blown addiction. And like with any habit, it doesn’t happen all at once. It happens in steps that the scammers intentionally use to make your mind play tricks on you and do things you wouldn’t ever dream of doing when reading this introduction comfortably on your own safe computer.
In the following articles we study the so called eight steps to delusion: the common pattern of mind tricks that the advance fee fraudsters use in order to make you become a headline instead of its reader.