How do global business directory scams work?
The psychology behind them is very simple – I’ll try to sum it up from the scammer’s point of view.
1) By default you treat people as though they’re like you, not crooks like me. You’re a decent, law-abiding citizen trying to make an honest living and you live in a moral society. Because of that, I can count on you treating me as if I also operate from that place (which of course, I don’t). In short, even while I’m ripping you off, I can depend on you to be polite, tolerant, honest and trusting.
Not only that, you’ll be so scared of being taken to court (now who put that idea in your head??) that you’ll bend over backwards to avoid saying anything that could offend ME, the scammer, or be construed as legal advice to any of my victims. How deliciously convenient: self-policing victims.
2) Shame is a powerful tool. I know you’ll blame yourself for not noticing the small print (in fact, in many of my threatening letters, I’ll be unable to restrain myself from referring to your stupidity and your responsibility for the mess you’re in). Of course you should have seen it! It’s YOUR fault! It’s there in black and white. If you weren’t cautious enough, that’s your look out.
It really helps that you feel stupid and ashamed. That will make sure you don’t share your mistake with anyone. I need you isolated and feeling alone.
3) Now I can frighten you. Yes. I’ll bombard you with emails, letters and calls. Because you haven’t shifted to seeing me as a criminal, you still hold a belief that maybe…just maybe I could take you to court somewhere. You fantasise about the huge cost; the shame; the disruption. Oh, it would be too terrible.
4) I read what you’re REALLY communicating (not what you think you are). The minute you communicate with me, the message I get is that you’re scared. Even when you think you’re being angry, I know you’re being scared. Good. Any reaction tells a) you’re at the address I think you are. Good. b) Mentally, you REALLY don’t think I’m a criminal. Very good. c) You’re scared and/or ashamed and you take me seriously. Even better.
5) You’ll be happy to ‘settle’. At some point, I will have caused you so much stress and worry that you’ll think paying €1,000 to get rid of me – sorry, to ‘settle’ with my client – sounds like a fair exchange.
And that’s all it takes.
Every time I see someone write ‘I’m going to counter-sue’ or ‘Let’s get together and beat them in court’ or ‘I’m going to write them…’ I see why this scam works. As long as you believe, in the back of your mind, that they are somehow legal and that they, somehow, could take you to a court then they’ve got you.
You might SAY you know they’re scammers, but so long as you do the above things, you’re telling me that you don’t really trust yourself. And the saddest thing is to know that they designed it to manipulate you in exactly this way.
Folks. These people are crooks. There IS no debt collector; there IS no court. It never does and never WILL happen.
Please try to understand that it’s THIS mental shift that is the key, here. Not any action or statement you can make.