Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Scam Psychology: Idiot's Guide to Idiocy... and how to avoid it

It is very often in scam psychology that the victim refused to accept that they have been victimized, and they often square off against the critics. However, here are some questions they should be asking themselves... Are they *really* arguing best evidence... or merely best "intentions"?

1. What exactly are you arguing for? 

Often, proponents of a scheme have very different arguments. The ones I've seen are:

(Scheme name) is [mostly] legal!
(Scheme name) pays me [and that's good enough for me, never mind legal!]
Go pick on some [bigger evil] and leave (Scheme name) alone!

Some folks even managed to do all three at once.

But think about it, only the first item is a real "defense" of the scheme. The other two are tacit admissions that the scheme may indeed be shady, if not outright illegal.

2. Are you arguing or merely denying? 

There's a big difference between arguing, and denying.

Arguing means both sides present their best argument, and analyzes the other side's argument for flaws.

Denying simply means you insist that the other side is wrong, wrong, and wrong, without analysis.

Don't see the difference? Watch this comedy skit "Argument Clinic" courtesy of Monty Python:

3. Does your argument SOUND weak? 

A lot of scheme defenders, when trying to defend certain potentially illegal parts of the scheme, end up sounding like a whiny cat, because their argument end up as...

"But you don't *have* to do that... It's optional."

For example:

"But you don't have to recruit more sellers (It's just that you make more money if people you recruited also recruit more sellers)"

"But you don't have to buy stuff every month (If the people you recruited buy enough so your "group volume" qualifies you for commission)"

Now repeat that in a whiny kid's voice, and you'll see how weak that argument was.

It's also a bogus argument, because it's tacit admission that the scheme has at least one potentially illegal / amoral component. It's roughly equivalent to "I smoked (pot) but I didn't inhale".  That's a VERY weak argument.

4. Are you arguing from "might" or "meek"? 

Are you using "might" or "meek" for your arguments? Or just whatever that suits your argument? Are they even relevant?

Many promoters often invoke bandwagon fallacy (i.e. X people joined, Y amount of money spent, Z celebrities endorsed, etc.) That's the "might".

Many promoters adopt the "meek" attitude when they whine about government persecution, conspiracy of rich, and so on and so forth.

They are NOT relevant! Those are WEAK arguments! Find better ones!

5. Are you arguing for continuing the status quo? 

Sometimes, promoters don't argue for a particular position, but rather, "just leave the thing the way it is". They are not arguing whether the scheme's legal, or illegal. They *want* things left in limbo... so they can keep profiting from it.

The problem is this, again, is a very weak argument, because they are basically saying "as long as it profits me I don't *care* whether it may be illegal!"

6. Are you arguing from badly applied "common sense"? 

Common sense are logical shortcuts that we've been taught since birth, and they are only applicable for specific situations. Scams are specifically designed to appeal to your common sense (but in the WRONG situation) rather than your logic.

For example, "if my best buddy recommends this opportunity, he wouldn't lie to me, so it must be worth a try", is bogus, because your best buddy may have been defrauded and thus, while completely honest, is simply still wrong.

If you are arguing that "common sense dictates..." you should reexamine your position carefully.

7. Are you arguing because it agrees with you and/or benefits you? 

Many scheme supporters often argue by talking about themselves, claiming they looked at all the relevant facts and came to their conclusion that the scheme is legal, through their own impeccable logic.

Which is the same as "Look, I know I am right, because I checked several times, and each time I found that I agreed with myself."

Or worse, "Look, I know I am right because I'm making money from it (and you're not), and I agree with that."

That's mental laziness, not logic.

8. Are you arguing because you can't accept the truth? 

People, when in shock by the truth, go into a condition known as "cognitive dissonance". They have two conflicting beliefs in their head. One they had believed for a long time, then a different truth that cannot be denied, at least in the short term. They then go through 5 stages of grief: denial, negotiation, depression, anger, and acceptance (not necessarily in that order) until they resolve the dissonance in their heads.

Some scheme promoters, when confronted with virtually undeniable evidence that their scheme is potentially illegal, goes into the denial and negotiation phases, either denying that their scheme can EVER be illegal, or perhaps admitting that their scheme is only a LITTLE bit illegal and want to negotiate on just HOW illegal their scheme is, not realizing that facts cannot be negotiated. Facts are just facts.

It is also often that promoters have really believed that they "found the one" opportunity they love, and they threw their heart and soul into it. And they are in denial that not only they may have lost their invested money, they are now going to be hounded by friends and family they had recruited, and they cannot accept that they could have dragged in so many people s/he held dear into the scam... So it can't possibly be a scam.

Denial and negotiation phases of cognitive dissonance are not real arguments, but merely emotional phases.


If you are indeed not really arguing, perhaps you should just admit defeat gracefully, and accept that you have been tricked, scammed, whatever.

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