Why people still fall victim to scams or hacks

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2 years ago

Scammers and hackers have been with us for a long while. Although their mode of operations has evolved with time, their aim since time immemorial has either been to cause chaos or swindle people of their resources or wealth. Every now and then their schemes or new methods of perpetrating crime are exposed to prevent people from falling prey or victim. Such warning is usually effective for some time that is before the hackers or scammers device another means to get what they want.

This then brings us to the pertinent question, why do they keep succeeding? The answer is that they exploit our psychology, more specifically our emotions. This answer may seem rather simplistic and I will attempt to shed more light while citing specific emotional states which they target.

I opine that hackers or scammers usually bank on individuals being in either of the 4 states below or having these attributes listed below.

1. Panic

2. Greed

3. Over excitement

4. Negligence

I will explain each of these with practical examples where possible.

Panic: One of the reasons why price crashes via price manipulation in the crypto space occur is panic. Usually those who intend to benefit from price crashes launch coordinated FUD campaigns against the targeted tokens.

More often than not, they usually succeed because as humans we are bound to panic and sell to avoid catastrophic losses if we hear that something bad is about to happen to a token we invested in. Let me give another recent example, within the last week, the official pancakeswap telegram group was flagged as scam which I presume was on the basis of reports which were made by individuals who wanted to launch a fud attack on $Cake.

Luckily the $Cake Chef's were quick to act in countering the false allegation and thwarted the FUD attack in its tracks. Imagine if they hadn't been proactive and users got welcomed to seeing a scam label on the group, in the midst of panic the first thought would be that $Cake was a scam token , the next thought would be to quickly sell off their tokens before to avoid being scammed.

Another scenario where panic is exploited is when the scammers send out messages to individuals falsely claiming that their accounts or ATM cards had been hacked or compromised. Such messages are usually accompanied with a phone number to call or some sort of code to dial. If anyone who received such message were to allow panic overwhelm them at the thought of losing their money and then follow the instructions contained therein, they would have taken the first step in the direction of being eventually scammed or hacked.

Greed: I have heard cases of people being scammed in schemes that are flat our ridiculous in terms of what they offer as returns on investment. How can any platform or scheme claim to offer double of one's investment within a ridiculously short period of time such as 24 hours or the likes. I have encountered messages such as this on WhatsApp and sadly people still fall victim for such.

The only reason I can phantom as to why they fell for such scams is greed which they failed to put in check. It is natural to want a good return on any investment but the moment you start craving an investment such as the one earlier mentioned, just know that greed has kicked in and the story is very likely going to have an unpalatable end.

Over excitement: Sometimes we tend to get over excited when we come across offers that seem too good to be true. In euphoria of the excitement we tend to let our guards down thus missing the danger signs on the path to eventually falling victim of being scammed or hacked.

Imagine getting a message prompt of a 500 USD airdrop by a very popular token (from what appeared to be their official handle) which was advertised as a first come first served basis, if one were to allow the adrenaline rush that would likely come to play in order to be one of those that gets in first to cloud one's judgement, you would likely follow all the instructions stated especially if nothing seems out of place that is at least on the surface.

I am very sure most people would even grant access to their wallets if it was requested. Now what some might not know is that that seemingly innocent decision to grant wallet access could lead to opening Pandora's box and the entire content of such wallet being wiped clean. The wallet access granted would allow the hackers or scammers have unlimited spend access to the wallet except the would be victim quickly realises the mistake and revokes such permissions quickly and accordingly.

Another scenario is this, your mobile device has almost run out of juice and you're desperately in need of a charging point, there's a high chance that upon sighting a USB charging point, the excitement of juicing up your device so as not to miss an important opportunity might cause you to overlook doing the necessary checks on the charging point. If this were to happen and such charging point were hacked, you would likely become a victim of juice jacking.

Negligence: Scammers or hackers are usually hopeful that when they send out their bait messages, some individuals would be negligent not to see the messages for what they actually are and fall victim. This point is termed negligence because the anomaly in such messages is so glaring , literally screaming out loud that it shouldn't have been missed save for negligence.

This is what is at play when an individual decides to follow instructions in an SMS from a public number claiming to be his or her bank. Banks as a rule usually have customised means of sending SMS to their clients as well as official lines for voice communication which all customers should be conversant with to avoid being defrauded.

Similarly they also have dedicated secured websites and email addresses for interacting with their customers. Any dealings with other addresses other than these is an open invitation to being defrauded due to one's negligence. The crypto space is not left out in this regards, the popular mantra with crypto investing is always do your research. Sadly sometimes people are negligent in this regards and fail to follow the advise and end up investing in scam tokens or those that eventually end up as rug pulls.

Scammers or hackers usually bet on the fact that their would be victim is overwhelmed by one or a combination of the reasons mentioned above for their success. There is usually a higher chance for their ploys to work if a combination of these emotional states (such as say over excitement and negligence or panic and negligence) are at play.

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Written by
2 years ago