Sunday, March 2, 2014

Scam Psychology: Scam Denial for Dummies (i.e. How to be happy sheeple)

Editor's Note: After reading the article "Science Denial for Beginners" by Austin Cline, I just had to adapt it for scam denial. All credit goes to original author, and any mistakes are my own!


Scam Denial for Dummies: How to Be Obedient Sheeple

adapted by K. Chang 
from original "Science Denial for Beginners" by Austin Cline

Denialism is growing phenomenon around the world, esp. when it comes to scams. Denial is a means by which people hold on to ideologies ("my scheme is legal!") that are threatened by reality (Scheme is likely illegal / is illegal elsewhere) and preserve a sense of control over a world they cannot directly manage. Denialists tends to use the same tactics, because denialism originate from common mental processes. There are six tactics you can utilize to deny reality about the scheme you are involved in.

1. Conspiracies Everywhere!

You can't be an effective scam denialist if you don't understand that most people with proper amount of common sense and due diligence will disagree with you. You have left your common sense behind and the best way for you to express this to the masses is also a time-honored one: it's a conspiracy!

No matter who disagrees with you and no matter what reasons and evidence they offer, you know deep in your heart that their "real" reason is they are part of a massive conspiracy against the scheme you're involved in. There is a nefarious plot afoot which is designed to suppress the "truth" (as you know it) about your scheme. This makes you a brave warrior fighting for your truth, your justice, and your people, at least in your mind.

(Actually, this just makes you sound like a loon, like Don Quixote...)

Therefore, when you meet criticism, accuse the other side of all sorts of conspiracy, the crazier the better. Start tame, like "you are just jealous", "you are just negative", then upgrade to "you're working for a competitor", then go all the way to "you're the 1% out to keep us the 99% poor".  You will sound like a hero, as least to yourself and to your fellow partners in the scheme.

(Also see Pigeon Chess)

(Also see "Why Bad Arguers Retreat to Conspiracy as Final Defense")

2. Cherry-Picking Evidence

It may become depressing to keep finding evidence that supports the other side, but if you're persistent enough you're bound to stumble across little nuggets of information which, if presented just right will appear to support your truth (as you see it). The lack of obvious evidence is proof (at least to you) that the world needs you to cherry-pick any evidence you can find, or if need be, "manufacture" some. It's for a good cause, you think.  Or you can always buy some endorsement with small disclaimers and let fellow sheeples claim it's good news!

Therefore, you should emphasize ANY sort of news that can be "spun" to your advantage. Your personal observation is 100% true and you are infallible. Your paycheck is a marketing tool, flash it on your video. Never mind FTC guidance on what's legal or illegal. FTC is a part of conspiracy! If you see some sort of minor and inconsequential court victory, proclaim it as "final proof" that your scheme's legal! Who's going to check your word? It's all base on trust!  Make up your own definition of what's a pyramid scheme or a ponzi scheme! Your own people will understand!

(Actually, nobody is infallible, not even you. That's called the Self-serving bias.

Furthermore, making false income claims can get you into trouble with both the company's compliance department, and the authorities.

And lying or exaggerating will hurt you later. )

(Also see "Eleven Bad Arguments MLM Defenders Must Stop Using")

3. Logical Fallacies

You usually don't have enough facts to defend your scheme, but you know the conclusion you want to reach... You believe your scheme's legal. With insufficient facts, the only way you can reach the conclusion you want is to use logical fallacies. Logic is NOT your friend. Most people don't know any critical thinking any way, not even you. You probably can't spot a logical fallacy any way.

(Actually, people who are serious about a "business" or an "opportunity" should be relatively well-versed in critical thinking and your logical fallacies won't get past them. If they do, you won't fool them more than once or twice. Then you'll have an enemy forever.)

What are logical fallacies? They are basically bad logic, i.e. logic's version of 1+1=3. If it helps you to make your case, so be it. Distractions are also logical fallacies (known as "red herrings"). People accuse your scheme of being a Ponzi scheme? Insist that everything is a Ponzi scheme! Stock market! Social Security! Banking System! People accuse your scheme of being a pyramid scheme? Any big corporation is organized like a pyramid!

(Ponzi schemes are fraudulent redistribution of wealth, stock market and Social security are not fraudulent.

As for pyramid-shaped organization vs. pyramid scheme, that's just a REALLY stupid red herring.)

(Also see

4. Fake Experts

You usually don't have enough experts to defend your scheme's legality, but don't let that stop you. Simply create "fake experts", such as your upline or any one else who sounds somewhat impressive but in reality has absolutely no expertise. Your upline (whose qualification is s/he got in before you did) is an "expert" on the scheme, never mind his history (or lack of) in the industry. Same for your team leader or company management. Previous failed ventures? Just say he's a "serial entrepreneur"! Or any "celebrity" (major, minor, or unknown) that was ever mentioned in the same breath as your scheme... tout their name, and claim "they can't be as so stupid as to join/endorse a scam, therefore my scheme is not a scam!"

If your scheme HIRED some experts, emphasize how impressive their titles are, never mind what they said or what they did. It's their CREDENTIALS you care about, not their actions.  Famous accountant and tax advisor? We can't possibly be a scam now! Famous motivational speaker? We can't possibly be a scam now!

(Actually, Zeek Rewards hired several big name MLM attorneys and consultants and one famous tax prep celebrity, and was still closed as a Ponzi scheme)

(Also see, why Experts Fail)

5. Impossible Standards

If your opponents ask you what would prove to you that your pet scheme is illegal, don't tell them to the truth (which is NOTHING! NOTHING will convince you it's illegal!) Instead, set an impossible standard of proof for them, and laugh at them when they can't produce. If they do manage to produce enough evidence, claim you were misunderstood and move the goal line. Remember, it's all a conspiracy to you, and you don't submit to conspiracies (even those that only exist in your head)!

Some example of these impossible standards would be
(Actually, all this denial of evidence just makes you look even MORE like a loon)

(Also see: No True Scotsman)

6. When in Doubt, Encourage Doubt

If the evidence against your scheme is overwhelming, you can divide and conquer by start nitpicking the differences among the evidence, and encourage your opponents to debate each other instead of you, thus fostering doubt.

One of the easiest ways to foster doubt among the opponents is to ask whether they think your scheme is a Ponzi scheme or a pyramid scheme. And let them debate how much of your scheme is Ponzi scheme and how much is a pyramid scheme. Then you jump in and point out everything they got slightly off, and claim all their analysis is bull****.

(In reality, a scheme can be both a ponzi scheme and a pyramid scheme, and both are illegal. )

Another way to foster doubt is loudly proclaim that your opponents are negative nannies and why don't they ever cover the POSITIVE aspects of your scheme.

(Fraud is fraud, and only one who benefits from fraud are the perps and the judas goats)


To be a proper scam sheeple, you need to deny reality, and abandon common sense and logic, so you live inside your private "Matrix" where you are disconnected from reality and you only interact with fellow scheme participants, who may or may not be lying to you, because they are just as disconnected from reality as you are. Family and friends are to be recruited if possible, avoided if not. Just remember, ignorance is bliss.


Well folks, I have been snarky enough that nobody should be able to read this and think this is serious advice, but you never know with "true believers". :) Until next time, this is the MLM Skeptic, signing off.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Brilliant stuff, I couldn't have put this better myself!

    And this is coming from an ex-MLM sheeple that got into this for the last year and a half. Every program and biz op I joined turned out to be scams or closed down 'mysteriously', often overnight. I've seen friends and acquaintances throw good money after bad like I did and they are STILL doing it. This article was painful (and painfully funny to read) because I ticked just about every box on here.

    Still, you live and learn ;-)

  2. The whole point of failure is so one can learn from it. Sounds like you learned plenty!

    1. Absolutely, Kasey :)

      I have been on my own little tirade on my FB wall to try and get a few FB friends of mine to wake up and smell the coffee. Not because I'm trying to be an obnoxious ass, but because I genuinely don't want to see people keep making the same mistakes I did. Watching people post the usual brainwashed (and brain-dead IMHO) MLM rhetoric is painful to say the least and it's also vastly damaging in the long run to people who keep getting wowed by these fakers and so called big 'earners' - earners being whoever has a cult-like following of people who keep buying the BS that they keep selling.

      That's why articles like your one are so important. Because it really lays this tarnished industry out for what it is.

      All smoke and mirrors/amped up BS. And to make it worse, when they add self-help and personal development people involved, they twist it all around so whenever a person starts to feel the natural skepticism and healthy reasoning as to why and how they can make money in what are a very large majority of the the time, irrefutable scams and schemes, they are immediately dismissed as being 'negative', 'cynical' or 'jealous' of other people's success.

      I at one time believed that crap and recently I got accused by 2 people of being just that!

    2. Oh, I have plenty of articles on "negativity". :) Just run a search for it on the blog (right column, just below the Google Plus widget) and you should find it. I also have articles on "jealousy / sour grapes" and such.