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 Post subject: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 3:32 am 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
Hello

My name is David Modic, I am a post-grad researcher at the University of Exeter. I have been researching Internet scams for a decade.

At the moment, I am interested in what, if any, personal characteristics make someone more likely to be scammed.

My previous research has shown that there is a lot of confusion in the general population about scams - in general, many seem to believe that being scammed is somehow the victims' fault. I disagree - many people who use Internet have been in contact with scammers and, I believe, most of us have been taken in by scammers at least once at some point in time, making the idea of blaming the victim unfeasible (to put it mildly). In addition, chalking being scammed to simply being the cost of business while working on the Internet is too jaded and doesn't really help. I believe that there are ways to stem the tide of scams by understanding them and helping people prepare for the onslaught. First step in this process is to understand what mechanisms scammers (perhaps unwittingly) employ to snare us. Once we understand that, we can work on disabling those mechanisms.

For this purpose, I have constructed a survey that will help me better understand how to uncover what scammers do and decrease their effectiveness. I am not naive, I know that there will probably always be scammers and people who get taken, but I want to make it more difficult for scammers to succeed.

I was hoping that you can help me with that. Here is the link to the survey: http://survey.scamresearch.info//index.php?sid=43356&lang=en

I will, in exchange for everybody's help share some of the results of the analysis, right here. I see this as a win-win situation. You, gentle readers, help me with my data gathering and in return, get to find out first hand what the results are. And also what they mean. I will probably have the preliminary results in about a month. When I say some of the results, I mostly mean that I won't bore you with minute details of factor analysis and multiple regression equations, I'll just tell you what I got, and what I think it means.

Just two more things:
1. You are completely anonymous. I have no interest whatsoever in finding which individual answered what. I am not logging your IP and the raw data collected will not go anywhere but to my server and later into my stats package.

2. Before I posted, I have had a few discussions with Shawn and got the permission to post. This is neither some spur of the moment thing, nor some thinly veiled marketing campaign.

Your help would really be appreciated - the more people answer the survey, the better my chance to understand what is going on.

I sincerely thank you for your help.

David

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:54 pm 
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Site Admin/Co-Founder

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 10:09 pm
Posts: 2920
Just wanted to let everyone know that I have personally checked David out, and taken this survey and feel that it is not only safe for people to take but would encourage everyone on this site to take the time to answer his questions. NO PERSONAL information is requested!

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Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
Sign our petition http://www.change.org/actions/view/crea ... s_programs
Follow our blog http://scamvictimsunited.wordpress.com/
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:00 am 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
So far, we have had 3 responses. Thank you for those. I am looking forward to more. I know it is tiresome, answering questionnaires, but, ultimately, we'll be stemming the tide of scams somewhat, and that is a worthy goal.

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:33 am
Posts: 123
How can you have an objective research if you start out by saying that victims are not to blame? I know I am not allowed/supposed to make a statement like this, but some are really asking for it. Greed is a big part of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
Pennywise wrote:
How can you have an objective research if you start out by saying that victims are not to blame? I know I am not allowed/supposed to make a statement like this, but some are really asking for it. Greed is a big part of it.


I am not saying the victim is not to blame, I am saying that blaming a person who has been shafted doesn't help in any way. I am also not measuring blame - I am measuring personality traits and blame is not one of those. There is a big debate in the scientific community about the validity of the so-called victim facilitation (i.e. whether a victim is an active participant in an offense or not). I, personally believe (as do some others) that a victim of a scam has to play an active role, i.e. at the very least respond to an email, or not hang up the phone - but that still does not excuse the scammer.

I appreciate your comments, and as far as I am concerned, I prefer it if people want to debate things, so as far as I am concerned there is nothing you are not supposed to say to me (I am not making the policy of this forum, though, so YMMV :) ).

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:15 pm 
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Site Admin/Co-Founder

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 10:09 pm
Posts: 2920
David Modic wrote:
I, personally believe (as do some others) that a victim of a scam has to play an active role, i.e. at the very least respond to an email, or not hang up the phone - but that still does not excuse the scammer.


I agree with you . . . looking at my own situation we played a role. We could have not responded to this person, but we did. I think that it is not about blame but about looking at all of the factors, and of course hindsight is 20/20. For us the biggest factor that made us feel safe about our transaction was that the bank told us the check was good/verified/clear and that we had "nothing to worry about". We trusted the people at the bank and the words they were telling us, not the words of the scammer. In the end, we trusted the wrong people, since they gave us the wrong information.

_________________
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
Sign our petition http://www.change.org/actions/view/crea ... s_programs
Follow our blog http://scamvictimsunited.wordpress.com/
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
_______________________________________________
Has this site helped you?
Buy us a coffee to say thanks ~ http://www.scamvictimsunited.com/donations.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:44 am 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
I have been contacted by several people telling me that they couldn't complete the survey. It seemed to be a cookie issue. I disabled cookies, but it still didn't work - it turns out that something is horribly wrong with LimeSurvey (the surveying software I am using)... and I am not the only person having this issue. I am working frantically to correct it.

I am sorry for the inconvenience. I will let you know as soon as I make the survey work again.

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:15 am 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
I have successfully managed to bring the survey back to life. Here is the link: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en. The one originally listed also works.

I am sorry for the inconvenience and hope that you would consider going to the survey page again. I desperately need your participation.

Thank you!

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:31 am 
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Site Admin/Co-Founder

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 10:09 pm
Posts: 2920
Thanks for the fast action!

_________________
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
Sign our petition http://www.change.org/actions/view/crea ... s_programs
Follow our blog http://scamvictimsunited.wordpress.com/
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
_______________________________________________
Has this site helped you?
Buy us a coffee to say thanks ~ http://www.scamvictimsunited.com/donations.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:48 am 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
admin wrote:
David Modic wrote:
I, personally believe (as do some others) that a victim of a scam has to play an active role, i.e. at the very least respond to an email, or not hang up the phone - but that still does not excuse the scammer.


I agree with you . . . looking at my own situation we played a role. We could have not responded to this person, but we did. I think that it is not about blame but about looking at all of the factors, and of course hindsight is 20/20. For us the biggest factor that made us feel safe about our transaction was that the bank told us the check was good/verified/clear and that we had "nothing to worry about". We trusted the people at the bank and the words they were telling us, not the words of the scammer. In the end, we trusted the wrong people, since they gave us the wrong information.


Yes, exactly. There is a viewpoint that a scam is exactly like a marketing offer, except for one crucial detail - it is illegitimate. So all the rules of marketing apply (positioning, eliciting trust, misdirection, injection of artificial needs...) - after all, a scammer is trying to sell us something, just like legitimate advertisers. So, saying that a person is to blame, because they responded to advertising is counterproductive. There is a lot of literature on victim blaming - a good place to start is wikipedia, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victimology

There is a theory that states that victims are blamed by others since if it's their fault, then others don't have to do anything about it. We are, otherwise, compelled to take a stand and that is sometimes uncomfortable for some people as it means taking action and investing oneself in the plight of others.

I need to rush off now - I have to prepare a presentation I am giving in two days on the other side of the country, but I'll write some more when I get the chance.

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Third Rock from the Sun
I just finished the survey and it was painless. The only thing is I could not review the results so I hope the results are posted here or on another web page.

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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:35 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:33 am
Posts: 123
In my opinon scam victims get treated different than other victims. If you leave your front door open and someone snatches your wallet that is lying in plain sight on the hall table, we have no problem telling you how stupid you are. Yet, when it comes to scam victims the victim is never to blame.

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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
Pennywise wrote:
In my opinon scam victims get treated different than other victims. If you leave your front door open and someone snatches your wallet that is lying in plain sight on the hall table, we have no problem telling you how stupid you are. Yet, when it comes to scam victims the victim is never to blame.


Well, there are two schools of thought here - one is legalistic - there is no question about blame - he/she who breaks the law is guilty, end of. But, strictly speaking, a girl who is busted for prostitution because she needs to feed her heroin habit that her pimp introduced to control her better and is actually the only person who appeared to give a damn about her in her whole life, well legally, that girl is guilty and it's her own fault, getting in such a situation.

Socially, there are other factors - parents who didn't give a damn, society who couldn't care less, social services who didn't do their jobs, teachers who are underpaid, a dollar short and a day late (to quote Tom Waits), community that avoids the 'bad apples'... there is plenty of blame to hand around. While I am familiar with the legalistic approach, I don't actually agree with it. Well, I do, to a certain extent, but there are many other factors here (btw, the above case is a real one).

Now, would I lend money, to a person who was almost certainly getting scammed? Probably not. Would I blame them for not listening to advice of others and getting into dire straits? Probably not. I would, however, discuss why they allowed themselves to be scammed and what steps they plan for the future. Ultimately, I am more interested in what could be learned and changed, than who to blame.

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 am
Posts: 16
Location: Exeter, UK
By the way, we've now got 12 full responses, thank you. I am hoping for (many) more, so if you've got a few spare minutes, please go for it.

_________________
David Modic, EGF

Please take a moment to participate in my survey on scams here: http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

My profile page: http://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=david_modic
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 Post subject: Re: Giving the chance to speak up
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:33 am
Posts: 123
David Modic wrote:
Probably not. I would, however, discuss why they allowed themselves to be scammed and what steps they plan for the future. Ultimately, I am more interested in what could be learned and changed, than who to blame.


But who would learn from that approach? The person that has been scammed or you?
Why not blame them? What's wrong with a good wake-up call? It can be more effective then pampering them.

I see a lot of scams. I know that people can fall for them and that it can also happen to me. I am not beyond that, but some scams are so extremely stupid that if you fall for that you have only yourself to blame.

Just look at these

Quote:
I am Joseph I. Tan 72year old From United State of American formal Finance Director of J B Trucks Company , I have financial business propose for you, Kindly reply with interested..
Thanks and best regards

Joseph I. Tan
Email:Joitn@hotmail.com


Quote:
My name is Olivia Amstrong . I am 59 years old and I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago. I will be going in for an operation later
today. I decided to will the sum of Seventeen Million United States Dollars to you for the good work of the lord. Contact my lawyer with the
details below:
Name: Barrister Payne McFarland
Email:barr.payne-mcfarland/at/msn.com

Quoting my personal reference number FZ/XXR/729/0537/BKH0/613X1/UK. I have paid for the state tax on this funds to be transferred to you.

Sincerely,
Olivia Amstrong (MRS)


Quote:
Dear Consolation Prize Winner,
We wish to inform you of the yearly Powerball Lottery Program that your
e-mail address has won an award sum of a total cash prize of £1,500,000.00
(One Million Five Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds)contact your claims
Officer Mrs Shalon Evra
Email:powerballjackpot2_draw1152@hotmail.com
+44-702-4028205
WebSite: http://www.powerball.com


The fact that they send them must mean they have success with it, but would marketing like this work IRL?

BTW, I took your survey. I think it is a bit to much orientated on Americans, which means I had to struggle through the first pages.
In your sweetheart scams explanation you only mention Nigerians. Russians are about as big a part of it as Nigerians when it comes to sweetheart scams.

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