Are fraudsters so cunning and sophisticated that people can not prevent their attacks?
Yes, fraudsters are very manipulative, but I think they are being given too much respect.
Fraud is a crime which involves the free will of the victim.
There is no victim in fraud that is defrauded under duress but actively participates on his free will after making some considerations to the promised offer.
In this article, I want to explore the reasons that have seen many people falling prey to fraudsters.
The reasons should go a long way to help you put a sound defence mechanism around yourself and/or business.
Now let’s look at the following general reasons that cause people to be duped:
- Failure to do due diligence process. The tendency is that many people are lazy to carry out some homework or research before transacting. Most people do not verify the authenticity of a transaction and/or existence of the company they are dealing with. The victims are satisfied to do business through e-mails and telephone calls.
- Lack of knowledge. Business operations are guided by a particular legislation. Many people enter into transactions with little or no knowledge at all. Fraudsters take advantage of victims’ ignorance and then fleece them in ambiguous transactions.
- Desperation. Many people are reeling under immense pressure from friends and society. The desire to catch up with peers and have a socially acceptable status drives them to engage into dubious deals. These deals usually backfire and the little investment put by the victim to make him an instant millionaire is lost in the process.
- Basing decisions on appearance. Fraudsters are skilled liars who are capable of putting up a convincing front.
When people see something which appears so good and enterprising, they rush into transacting.
They forget the fact that no matter how good the offer may sound, there is need to have some considerable time to think prior to transacting.
- Greed. The desire to have more and more wealth has led many people to be duped. Greedy people have a tendency of putting everything in one basket so that they can reap huge profits at once.
- Failure to consult. Close friends and legitimate consultancy firms are sources of advice. Most people avoid seeking counsel for fear that the person they tell might go behind their back and take up the offer.
They also try to evade payments that are involved in consulting a firm.
- Fear to ask questions. Many people enter into transactions without getting clarity on critical issues.
They are afraid to ask for fear of angering the master who may decline to transact with them.
The victim’s silence enables the fraudsters to assume too much authority and control in a transaction, thus the victim is twisted in any direction the fraudster so wishes.
Remember you should not be a 2012 fraud victim! This article is published in line with the ZRP theme of the year 2012 — “ZRP for Total peace, Stability and progress in conjunction with CID Serious Fraud Squad Vision, “To be a beacon of Excellence in the fight against Economic Crime in Zimbabwe”. Keep tuned for more information on your favourite education column.
- For your comments and assistance with information that can be helpful to CID Serious Fraud Squad, you can contact me on 04-753543/0772 764 043 and on email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detective Assistant Inspector Tom Muleya works under the Public Relations Department CID Serious Fraud Squad, Harare.