Getting hooked by a con artist is all too common. Elderly people who are home alone are especially vulnerable. Remember if you’re searching for a housemate to learn how to find a good housemate and follow a thorough selection process to avoid disasters.
The Hook is Baited
Con artists target older people. Why? Because they are often home and answer the phone. And because being home alone means that talking to someone is a pleasure, especially when the caller uses flattery and appeals to emotions.
There are many types of scams. All have the core the aim of getting the victim to divulge a credit card number or bank account information so the scammer can take money.
Scam artists are successful because they get their victim into what is called the “ether,” an emotionally heightened state where the victim is unable to think or act rationally. They hook individuals through a wide variety of behaviors from endearing themselves to bullying, whatever it takes to get the victim into the “ether”.
Evidently, they are quite ruthless. An AARP video of former con artists in prison describes their methods. Although that video is no longer online, AARP has many other articles and videos on the subject. Here are some of them. Busted Con Artists Exposed, AARP Article of Scams.
Emotions Trump Rational Thinking
Scammers take full advantage of our brains’ wiring: heightened emotion diminishes clear thinking and reasoning ability. It takes a lot of training to learn to stay rational when one is fearful. Most of us don’t have that training, nor would we want it. Usually, our emotions are our authentic response to a situation. But not when they are being manipulated. When a scammer is given the opportunity to play on the victim’s emotions, the victim becomes putty. People from all walks of life, really smart people as well as fools, have been caught by scammers.
What to Do
The key is to hang up immediately and not give the scammer time to play on your emotions. If you are a polite person, simply hanging up may seem rude. Do it anyway. A scammer is a criminal.
Having a Home-mate
You may wonder what this has to do with sharing housing. The reality is that people who are lonely and isolated can fall victim to these scams more easily than those who are socially connected. Hanging up on a scammer and being able to say “Guess what this guy tried on me!” gives one a dose of reality and shakes off any developing ether. If they try to call back, you would be less tempted to answer. You are less vulnerable to these sorts of scams when someone else is around.
Remember: Never, ever, give anyone your credit card information if you haven’t initiated the contact.
Have you been scammed? Have you avoided being scammed?