Helping Scam Victims To See Through Authority Bias To Expose The Scammers And Fraudsters For What They Are

A Method to Allow Scam Victim Interventions

A SCARS Insight for Banks, Financial Institutions, and Other Enterprises

Authors:
•  Debby Montgomery Johnson – Former Banker, Victims’ Advocate, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Podcast Host, Board  Chair of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

In the fight against financial fraud and scams, the deceptive cloak of authority often blinds victims, leading them into traps laid by cunning fraudsters. However, there’s hope in empowering individuals to see through these veils of deception. By understanding and addressing authority bias, banks, and businesses can intervene effectively during scams.

Utilizing “in-the-moment prompting,” real-time cues provoke critical thinking and hesitation, disrupting fraudsters’ narratives. Through technology integration and education, institutions empower customers to discern reality from illusion.

Open communication enables collaboration, where reporting fraud is encouraged without fear and scam victim blaming.

As institutions prioritize customer protection and empowerment, they dismantle the authority bias foundation that scammers exploit. This holistic approach fortifies defenses against financial fraud and cultivates a safer, more empowered financial landscape for their customers.

Helping Scam Victims To See Through Authority Bias To Expose The Scammers And Fraudsters For What They Are - 2024 - on SCARS ScamsNOW.com

Unmasking Authority Bias: How Banks Or Anyone Can Empower Scam Victims to See Through Scammers’ Or Fraudsters’ Deception

Scammers and fraudsters often impersonate the cloak of authority to manipulate their scam victims.

With cunning deceptive and persuasive tactics, they construct a web of lies, exploiting trust and leveraging their perceived power. Yet, amidst the tangle of deceit, lies an opportunity for banks and others to empower their customers, to help them see through the veil of ‘authority bias‘, and reclaim control of their agency and financial security.

Authority Bias

Authority bias, a cognitive bias wherein individuals tend to attribute greater credibility and trustworthiness to those perceived as authority figures, serves as fertile ground for fraudsters to sow their seeds of deception. Whether posing as bank officials, government representatives, or tech support agents, these impostors wield authority like a weapon, coercing victims into compliance and perpetuating their nefarious schemes.

‘In-The-Moment Prompting’

However, the battle against fraudsters and scammers is not lost. By implementing strategic interventions that disrupt authority bias during a scam, banks and anyone can equip their customers with the tools to discern reality from illusion. One such approach involves the integration of in-the-moment prompts designed to provoke critical thinking and instill doubt in the minds of potential victims.

Imagine a scenario where a customer receives a call from someone claiming to be a bank representative, urging them to disclose sensitive information for urgent verification purposes. Instead of succumbing to blind obedience, the customer is met with a prompt from their banking app, questioning the legitimacy of the call and encouraging skepticism. This simple intervention acts as a beacon of clarity amidst the fog of deception, prompting the customer to pause, reflect, and reconsider their actions.

Furthermore, banks can leverage technology to enhance the effectiveness of these prompts, utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to identify suspicious patterns and preemptively intervene before a scam unfolds. By analyzing call metadata, detecting anomalies in communication patterns, and cross-referencing with known scam tactics, banks can proactively alert customers to potential threats and fortify their defenses against fraudsters.

More About ‘In-The-Moment Prompting’

“In-the-moment prompting” is an intervention technique aimed at helping scam victims break free from the influence of scammers or fraudsters by providing real-time prompts or cues designed to provoke critical thinking and instill doubt during a scam attempt. This technique leverages the immediacy of the situation to disrupt cognitive biases, such as authority bias, and empower individuals to make more informed decisions.

Here’s how it works:

  • Real-time Intervention: In-the-moment prompting occurs during the actual interaction between the victim and the scammer. This could take various forms, such as a popup notification on a banking app, an automated message during a phone call, or a warning banner on a website.
  • Prompts for Critical Thinking: The prompts are carefully crafted to encourage the victim to question the legitimacy of the situation and reconsider their actions. They may include questions like, “Is this request typical of my bank’s procedures?” or statements like, “Be cautious of providing personal information over the phone.”
  • Instilling Doubt: By introducing doubt into the victim’s mind, the prompts disrupt the smooth progression of the scam and create a moment of hesitation. This pause gives the victim an opportunity to reassess the situation more objectively and potentially recognize signs of deception.
  • Empowering Decision-Making: Ultimately, the goal of in-the-moment prompting is to empower the victim to make a more informed decision about how to proceed. By providing timely guidance and support, banks and other organizations can help individuals resist manipulation and protect themselves from falling victim to scams.
  • Technology Integration: In modern implementations, technology plays a crucial role in delivering in-the-moment prompts effectively. Machine learning algorithms can analyze various signals, such as communication patterns, caller metadata, and transaction history, to detect suspicious activity and trigger the appropriate prompts.

Overall, in-the-moment prompting represents a proactive approach to combating fraud by leveraging technology and psychology to empower individuals in real time. By disrupting cognitive biases and fostering critical thinking, this intervention technique helps scam victims break free from the influence of fraudsters and safeguard their financial security.

Examples of In The Moment Questions

Here are examples of in-the-moment questions that a bank or business could ask scam victims to prompt critical thinking and instill doubt:

  • Is this request for information coming from a familiar source?
  • Does the caller’s tone or urgency seem unusual for a typical banking interaction?
  • Have you received unsolicited communication asking for personal or financial information before?
  • Are there any discrepancies between the caller’s information and what you know about your account?
  • Have you ever been asked to verify your identity in this manner by your bank?
  • Is there a legitimate reason why your bank would need this information right now?
  • Can you verify the identity of the caller through an official channel?
  • Are you being pressured to make a decision or take action quickly?
  • Have you received any warnings or alerts about potential scams recently?
  • Does the caller seem overly insistent or aggressive in their approach?
  • Are there any red flags in the language or phrasing used by the caller?
  • Have you had any recent changes to your account that might prompt this request?
  • Is the caller asking for information that is readily available to them through other means?
  • Have you been asked to provide sensitive information over the phone or via email before?
  • Can you verify the legitimacy of the request through an alternative communication channel?
  • Is there an option to defer the request until you can verify its authenticity?
  • Have you received any notifications about suspicious activity on your account recently?
  • Is the caller offering a solution to a problem you weren’t previously aware of?
  • Are there any unusual or unexpected charges or transactions on your account?
  • Can you consult with a trusted individual or advisor before proceeding?
  • Does the caller seem knowledgeable about your personal or financial situation?
  • Have you noticed any unusual behavior or activity on your devices or accounts?
  • Are there any official protocols or procedures that the caller should be following?
  • Can you confirm the identity of the caller through security questions or other means?
  • Does the request align with your typical banking experience and expectations?

The critical element in this process is to ask a question and wait for a response. It can take several questions before the victim begins to suspect, and that usually will emerge as a cognitive dissonance (that may appear to be frustration). But when they reach that point, it is because a part of the brain is asking questions.

These questions are designed to prompt individuals to pause, reflect, and assess the legitimacy of the situation before proceeding, helping to protect them from falling victim to scams.

In-Depth Scam & Fraud Education

Just as important, education plays a pivotal role in undermining authority bias and arming individuals with the knowledge to recognize and resist manipulation. Banks and others can offer comprehensive training programs and resources that educate customers about common scam tactics, highlight red flags to watch out for, and provide guidance on how to verify the authenticity of communication channels.

Who the source is behind these trainings is critical. Just having some knowledge about scams and fraud is not enough. It takes true experts in the scam victims’ psychological experience, such as SCARS, to help financial institutions craft the educational material and training.

Open Honest Customer Communication

Additionally, creating a culture of open communication and transparency between banks and their customers can further erode the foundation of authority bias. This requires banks to be honest about the risks and vulnerabilities of their processes and technologies too. Encouraging customers to report suspicious activities without fear of judgment or repercussion creates a collaborative ecosystem where vigilance is celebrated, and fraudsters are thwarted at every turn. It is also vital that banks and others make it very easy to report fraud without judgment or victim blaming. Learn more about scam victim blaming at www.EndScamVictimBlaming.org

Summary

In the ongoing battle against financial fraud and scams, undermining authority bias represents a crucial step toward empowering individuals to protect themselves and their assets. By implementing strategic interventions, leveraging technology, prioritizing education, and creating open communication, banks, financial institutions, and other enterprises can tilt the scales in favor of their customers, dismantling the facade of authority that scammers and fraudsters rely upon and ushering in an era of safer financial security and empowerment.

SCARS Resources:

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.

Opinions

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Society of Citizens Against Rleationship Scams Inc. The author is solely responsible for the content of their work. SCARS is protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) section 230 from liability.

Disclaimer:

SCARS IS A DIGITAL PUBLISHER AND DOES NOT OFFER HEALTH OR MEDICAL ADVICE, LEGAL ADVICE, FINANCIAL ADVICE, OR SERVICES THAT SCARS IS NOT LICENSED OR REGISTERED TO PERFORM.

IF YOU’RE FACING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES IMMEDIATELY, OR VISIT THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE CENTER. YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE FOLLOWING ANY MEDICALLY RELATED INFORMATION PRESENTED ON OUR PAGES.

ALWAYS CONSULT A LICENSED ATTORNEY FOR ANY ADVICE REGARDING LEGAL MATTERS.

A LICENSED FINANCIAL OR TAX PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE CONSULTED BEFORE ACTING ON ANY INFORMATION RELATING TO YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES OR TAX RELATED ISSUES AND INFORMATION.

SCARS IS NOT A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR – WE DO NOT PROVIDE INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS OR BUSINESSES. ANY INVESTIGATIONS THAT SCARS MAY PERFORM IS NOT A SERVICE PROVIDED TO THIRD-PARTIES. INFORMATION REPORTED TO SCARS MAY BE FORWARDED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AS SCARS SEE FIT AND APPROPRIATE.

This content and other material contained on the website, apps, newsletter, and products (“Content”), is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, or financial advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for licensed or regulated professional advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider, lawyer, financial, or tax professional with any questions you may have regarding the educational information contained herein. SCARS makes no guarantees about the efficacy of information described on or in SCARS’ Content. The information contained is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible situations or effects. SCARS does not recommend or endorse any specific professional or care provider, product, service, or other information that may be mentioned in SCARS’ websites, apps, and Content unless explicitly identified as such.

The disclaimers herein are provided on this page for ease of reference. These disclaimers supplement and are a part of SCARS’ website’s Terms of Use

Legal Notices: 

All original content is Copyright © 1991 – 2023 Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. (Registered D.B.A SCARS) All Rights Reserved Worldwide & Webwide. Third-party copyrights acknowledge.

U.S. State of Florida Registration Nonprofit (Not for Profit) #N20000011978 [SCARS DBA Registered #G20000137918] – Learn more at www.AgainstScams.org

SCARS, SCARS|INTERNATIONAL, SCARS, SCARS|SUPPORT, SCARS, RSN, Romance Scams Now, SCARS|INTERNATION, SCARS|WORLDWIDE, SCARS|GLOBAL, SCARS, Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams, Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams, SCARS|ANYSCAM, Project Anyscam, Anyscam, SCARS|GOFCH, GOFCH, SCARS|CHINA, SCARS|CDN, SCARS|UK, SCARS|LATINOAMERICA, SCARS|MEMBER, SCARS|VOLUNTEER, SCARS Cybercriminal Data Network, Cobalt Alert, Scam Victims Support Group, SCARS ANGELS, SCARS RANGERS, SCARS MARSHALLS, SCARS PARTNERS, are all trademarks of Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc., All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Contact the legal department for the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated by email at legal@AgainstScams.org