Friday, May 17, 2013

Reload Scam and Three Types of People Most Vulnerable to Scams

The Victim (novel)
The Victim (novel)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do you know the three types of people most vulnerable to scams? You should. They are

  • people who enjoy taking risks / gamblers
  • people who were recently traumatized / grievers
  • people who are doing not so well financially / debtors

If one person has more than one of these risk factors, they are far more likely to wade into scams.

People who recently learned that whatever suspicious scheme they had been engaged in was a scam and their money had been lost are especially vulnerable, as they exhibit all three factors.

1) They had to have enjoyed taking risks to join a suspicious scheme to start with. Either they are naive to start or they just don't know enough about the "scamworld" to know better.
2) Their ego had taken a tremendous shock upon realizing that it's a scam and they fell for it. They are eager to "prove" (either to themselves or to the world) that they can do better.
3) Their money loss can be significant, and they are eager to somehow "make up" the money. Maybe they didn't tell any one they had lost the kid's college fund or the "nest egg" they had been saving for years and was trying to make up for it in secret.

The three factors combine to make them ESPECIALLY vulnerable to scams, and both scammers and scambusters know this. Scammers have special scams just to target these vulnerable people. Scambusters call these "reload scams", where the victim got shot, but makes no attempt to escape, so the perp was able to reload and shoot the victim again (and again).

As an occasional scambuster I know about reload scams, but recently I found a great example.

Someone came to the RealScam forum yesterday, and posted:

Hello, I am LiberForex investor. Now they ask me $ 200 as the rate of maintenance for the account, tell me if I do not pay I will not withdraw my funds. Liberforex Scam Is currently? Do I pay the fee? Do you think there is any way to get my money? What do you recommend? Thanks.

What is LiberForex? A search on Google quickly turned up this official government warning dated October 2012:

Somehow that company kept running the website, as apparently nobody cared about government warnings. Comments on "isItDown" shows that it went offline in November 2012 for a while, then permanently in March 2013

So apparently the scammer left town with all the money right? Not quite. Here's where the reload comes in. The scammer apparently started demanding extra $200 (must be paid from payment processors, cannot be deducted from existing acccount) to "maintain" their account.

A scammer knows exactly how to push your emotional triggers to make you fall for the scam. There's the fear of loss (if I don't pay I'll lose it) and sunk cost fallacy (all that money and effort, I have to save it!)

So a scammer managed to squeeze an extra $200 out of the victims (and you know there's more than one) and several are seriously considering it, like the guy who came to RealScam forum for advice.

That's just throwing good money after the bad.

Same sort of scam popped up after Zeek Rewards was shut down. Or after every major scam, the most recent of which is "Profitable Sunrise".

Don't fall for a reload scam.
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