Sunday, April 6, 2014

Scam Psychology: Don't be a GIMP (Good Inexperienced Money People)

Part of Image:Planetary society.jpg Original c...
Carl Sagan, famous scientist, who said
"extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are many types of people looking for additional income, and vast majority of them are GIMPs i.e. "good inexperienced money people" (my thanks to M_Norway on BehindMLM for introducing the term). There really is no formal definition for a GIMP, but its closest synonym is "money sheeple", i.e. people who are just not savvy with money and scams, and thus, invested in scams and shady businesses with their hard earned money.

GIMPs are typically people who know little about network marketing, internet, and scamworld in general. They don't understand that anybody can make a website in hours, and meeting rooms can be booked and sleek presentations can be done for minimal costs nowadays. Even income claims can be faked or exaggerated. Claims are worthless without a basis for comparison, and to quote the great scientist Carl Sagan, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof", most of which is not forthcoming.

Part of the problem stems from our daily use of money, which leads us (through self-serving bias / optimism bias) to believe that we are far more savvy with decisions about money than we really are.

Different types of "opportunities" are aimed at different audiences.

The common spam promising to share millions of illicit funds if you help them pay some "bribes" had been around for hundreds of years and is aimed at the most gullible of people who are so new and so naive as to believe such offers are possible.

On the other hand of the scale, Bernie Madoff's humongous ponzi scheme was aimed at the rich and famous, and people within his rich Jewish community, who rely on trust and reputation, and less on facts.

The opportunities aimed at GIMPs are somewhat more sophisticated than the typical 419 spam, but not that much more. GIMPs generally just know enough about Internet to believe almost anything on the Internet if it looks professional enough. And stop laughing, because we were all there at one time or another.

GIMPs are generally not skeptical, because they don't know enough to question what was presented to them. Instead, if what was presented to them seem to make sense, they'll accept it as true and never question it. They are good people, and they assumed that people telling them things are good people and would not lie to them. The problem is that is a bad assumption to make when money is involved.

Zeek Rewards ponzi is one such opportunity aimed at GIMPs. Most of the victims are average Joes, who just have some money to put in, though that can go to tens of thousands of dollars. They accepted the various fiction presented to them, such as 1) they are just advertising for the company, and 2) they are just sharing in the humongous profits generated by the penny auctions. They didn't bothered checking the credibility of the claims... that their "ads" are doing nothing (easily checked through Alexa), and there are not enough auctions to generate such profits (easily extrapolated from monitoring auctions, est, profits based on bids used, etc.).  And when they saw "profits", they assumed that they are doing something real, even though it was merely meant to turn them into Judas goats. And often, they don't track the NET profit, because they had put in thousands of dollars into Zeek, and getting a few hundred dollars back proved nothing.

The lesson is simple... Don't be a GIMP. Skeptical at any sort of income opportunities, shadow the upline and see what s/he *really* does instead of what s/he CLAIM s/he does.
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  1. Hi Kasey,
    Great blog.

    I think you might like the following link:

    A printable poster of the different logical fallacies. I can think of at least one example of each which I've heard from MLM adherents.

    ~Ex-girlfriend of a Herbot

  2. Right out of college, I was suckered by someone who I thought was my friend and mentor. She knew I was having a hard time putting my worthless Bachelors of Arts degree to good use. So, she took me at my weakest, then convinced me to get my first credit card ever and load up my little apartment with $1000 worth of Mary Kay. Luckily, my parents had to clue me into what happened. i was able to return all the crap and my friend as well. I had been to a couple of the "meetings" and it was just a bunch of pathetic women who wanted to be able to stay at home with their babies. The next thing I did was take the first secretary job I could get. Worked hard and diligently and made real money and saved. Many years later, I married a man with a good job and voila. .. I was staying home with my babies. Maybe the old fashioned way and not as liberated, but it was better than scamming my friends and family.