Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Scam Psychology: Crank Magnetism and Sheeple Magnetism

"Crank magnetism" is a phenomenon describing that a crank for one idea often is also a crank of one or more unrelated but equally unorthodox and often irrational ideas.  The term was coined in 2007 by Mark Hoofnagle to describe a particular Holocaust denier who also latched onto some crazy DNA theory of disease from someone else.

When I encounter this term, I immediately thought of how "sheeple", i.e. those victims ready to be fleeced, tend to fall for one scheme after another, not necessarily at the same time, but they are vulnerable to cross recruitment, i.e. "here's something else that'd be good for you". To my surprise, there is no such term.  While sheeple is defined, and there are related terms such as reload scam, the phenomenon that a sheeple can believe in multiple unrelated scams is not a term.

So let me coin the term now: sheeple magnetism... phenomenon describing a sheeple, who fell for one scam, is often vulnerable to other scams.

Ponzi scheme victims are the most often found examples of sheeple magnetism, esp. if they were among the "net winners", i.e the minority who got more out of the scheme than they put in (so the rest are net losers).  They were often given "contrafreeloading" tasks to make them believe they "earned" their money. Such "victims" will go on to a different scheme that they recognize to be of a similar structure: way too easy work, way too much money, and believe they found their path to riches.