STEP 8: RAISE OR FOLD?
“I secured the documents BUT now the bank needs you to pay tax for the release.”
“I promise this is the LAST FEE.”
“Please my friend DON’T GIVE UP now!”
The eighth step is what separates long term victims of the headlines from short term victims of whom we rarely hear. It is therefore also the most dangerous step because while some victims might lose only a few hundreds of dollars in one payment, the others will be hooked to the scam for months and years. You can be sure that any scammer would rather have you as the latter kind, and therefore if you ever get to the eighth step they will do everything they can to make you a long term victim.
The premise of step 8 is simple. It always follows the first payment you have made to the scammers. So far you have invested only time in the scam: now you have invested money as well. Money is more serious than time. You have invested money in the scam expecting that you will get your expenses reimbursed to you. Once the scammer demands another payment, what are you going to do: lose your investment for certain or have a chance of getting it back by risking losing just a little more? What would you do if you were playing Poker?
Many people choose the latter option because by the eighth step they believe the scam is real. But the victim soon turns from an investor into a desperate gambler: the more you lose money, the more you are invested and more you stand to lose for certain if you walk away. The more you invest, the more real the delusion of the scam becomes because it starts seeming like the only way to get your money back. This is especially true when the money you have invested is not your own: some victims have been known to borrow money from friends and relatives and get in debt in order to finalize their imaginary transaction. In this case the pressure for success grows only higher. And this is why we sometimes hear horror stories of people who have been scammed literally for years.
The premise of so called recovery scams is also based on the gambling aspect. Even if you tell the scammer to leave you alone and accuse him of being a thief, he will contact you soon under a different name, claiming to be someone who can get your money back for a small fee. Here the victim also ends up paying more to get back what was lost earlier, and it naturally continues for as long as the victim is willing to pay.