Why Do We Fall For Such Obvious Scams?

Scam Alert Advisor | 28 Feb 2019

It’s obviously fake! Or is it? Why do some people still fall for these scams then?

An external, subjective point of view may make it easy for most to identify frauds, but for others, the line between fact and fiction may sometimes be blurred. Why is that? We explore possible reasons as to why some people still fall prey to these everyday scams despite them being aware of their existence.

What’s yours is mine, what’s mine is mine

Internet love scams involve an ‘attractive’ person who connects with you online – usually through dating apps – forges a bond with you, and tricks you into sending them money for bogus reasons such as, “I need money to fly over to your country” or, “my mum is sick and I can’t afford to pay for her hospital bills.”

Socialising and building relationships is in our nature. Some of us who aren’t lucky enough to have a significant other turn to the internet in the hopes of finding someone to grow old with. Internet love scammers prey on these weaknesses, especially in the digital age, where the only place people connect is through a 6-inch OLED brick.

WTS: Empty box for 80% off

Does that 80% off Chanel Boy sound too good to be true? It probably is. An e-commerce site may be a bargain hunter’s best friend, but is a cesspool of dodgy ‘sellers’ looking to take your hard-earned cash in exchange for a big box of nothing. Some may even ask you to cover delivery fees.

Thanks to our kiasu, kiasi culture, we’re able to smell a sale from a mile away. We’ll also try our hardest to bring that price down even further if it’s the last thing we do. Good deals are great, if they check out. Just keep in mind that the kiasu buyer in us can also be our downfall, especially if you’re paying for something that will never show up.

I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse

Is your bank denying your request for a loan? Are you unable to pay off your outstanding credit card debt? Not to worry, these good samaritans will loan you some cash at very low interest rate. All you’ll need to do is hand over a small deposit. Then you’ll never hear from them again.

SMSes and WhatsApp messages sounding like this may seem like obvious scams, but desperate times call for desperate measures, especially when you’re backed into a corner financially.

Do you know who I am?!

From ICA officers threatening to deport you if you don’t provide your personal information to DHL staff requesting for your particulars to confirm a parcel delivery, impersonation scams come in many forms. And they’re getting more creative.

Getting into trouble with the law is an intimidating experience for most. The image of being handcuffed and thrown in a cell for the rest of our lives is, for the most part, enough to set us straight. Impersonators take advantage of this fear to manipulate unsuspecting victims into giving up their sensitive information to the ‘authorities’.

Obvious or not, scams have evolved over the years and even the most sceptical of us can have an off day. Understanding the reason why people fall for them provides us with better insight into how scammers work and how to better safeguard ourselves against them.