Anyone Can Be a Victim of a Scam
B Live Media advocates responsible social media use. Social Media and an online presence is inextricably part of our daily lives and whilst we need to harness its power we need to temper its use with good practice. Simply by having an online presence as a business, brand, entrepreneur or in a personal capacity we are targets for online scammers.
Many mistakenly believe that only stupid people get scammed online. This is simply not true and is a myth we must dispel. Professional people, men and women have been scammed. The list of scam survivors include doctors, lawyers, psychologists, and thought leaders so no one is exempt from being a victim. Victims of cyber crimes are not stupid or uneducated. They are simply not trained or educated in identifying scams.
Most of us don’t have a pilot license for example and that does not make us stupid or uneducated, it just means we are not trained to do so. Social Media platforms currently have loopholes that allow people to create fake profiles with ease. Facebook is notably the largest but not the only platform on which scams happen. This opens the door wide for scammers to befriend unsuspecting victims.
Scammers use stolen pictures and identities to lure potential victims with the intent to manipulate and cripple them financially and emotionally. This is their sole function and they are very successful. Typical pictures flaunted on the internet of a lone scammer somewhere in Nigeria is simply not the reality of the scam underworld.
Scamming is a highly organised profession and an incredibly sophisticated cyber crime. It is orchestrated by syndicates that operate 24/7 worldwide. Scammers do not work in isolation. There are many layers and tiers involved in the scamming process. To the scam survivor it appears as if they were scammed by a single person. Unbeknownst to them, scammers manipulated them into developing a fake "relationship" using an attractive looking image of a person who is also a victim of a stolen identity crime.
It is important that survivors understand that they were not dealing with a single scammer. They got scammed by an organisation using sophisticated voice manipulating software. Survivors never recover their money. The loss is not only financial, social and economic. The devastating psychological effects are not yet fully understood, is currently undocumented and needs to be studied so that protocols for recovery can be developed.
Local law enforcement agencies also need to develop protocols for dealing with scam reporting as a cyber crime. Enforcement agencies must provide victims with access to and information regarding support structures.