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Articles / 6 February 2014 | 12:54
Fraud psychology: how to avoid swindlers?

Fraud psychology: how to avoid swindlers?


Health, longevity, beauty, strength - none of us would ever refuse these non-material values, especially if there is a chance to get them without any effort. Nobody wants to give up habits, to sweat hours in the gym or to go under the knife of a doctor. And marketing experts are well aware of this peculiarity of human mentality. Moreover, they really need to sell more "miracle-pills" or other magic remedies at the highest price possible. We speak not only about biologically active additives, which still arouse a discord among doctors and pharmacologists, but also about various creams, gels, ointments, teas and other "unique developments", which people blow last money on. And the problem concerns not the very existence of such "remedies", but the demand for "miracle".

Thus, ForUm has tried to find out how not to become the victim of one's own aspirations and how to avoid senseless or even harmful purchases.

What is the problem?

According to psychologists, 80-90% of people are receptive to commercials and advertisements. It is believed that the receptive audience mostly include people with low education level, as well as pensioners who search for any mean to go back in time. However, it does not mean that a full of go young man with a master's degree will never fall for "hair growth product" or "aphrodisiac for every occasion". Specialists state that motives of such ill-judged actions may include current psychological state, personal fixations and even social and political situation in the country.

"If a person is psychologically traumatized, he becomes more vulnerable to such influence. Thus, even a literate man can buy some trash just because the things are not going fine for the moment. Unfortunately, old belief in the reality of miracles makes people do silly things," social psychologist Oleh Pokalchuk says. According to him, people practicing "relatively honest ways to skim money" are especially active during social and political disturbances, as due to stresses and emotional distress many people lose critical reasoning.

"This phenomenon lies deep and rests with human thirst for miracle. History provides many examples of such phenomena. From a practical standpoint, the persistence of such phenomena is base on "placebo effect". Our belief in wonder drugs indeed mobilizes the body defense and improves immune protection," he adds.  

By the way, Ukrainian legislation does not forbid the sale of biologically active additives and similar remedies. However, there is no agency which controls these products. The State administration on medical products, for example, is not responsible for the quality of dietary supplements, let alone for their prices, and "miracle workers" take advantage of such situation and promise "instant weight loss, eyesight recovery and karma purification" for something like only several monthly salaries.

What is the solution?

The solution of this problem is rather obvious, though not the simplest. In the majority of cases people do not need expensive therapies to start reasoning and ask themselves a question "what am I doing?"

"It is very difficult to be psychologically resistant to various commercials and promotions. But people can prepare intellectually. Forewarned is forearmed. Thus, if someone promises you a magic treatment, switch on your critical thinking and answer the question: if there are magic drugs why do we still have diseases, obesity problem and so on? Thus, before believing in some medicine and buying it, do some research, at least through internet. In fact, psychological laziness is a source of prosperity of swindlers. People believe: why should I go to a doctor or a gym if I can take a magic pill?" psychologist Olena Bohatyriova explains.

According to the specialist, similar tactics of critical thinking can be used to "save" dear people, who rush to spend last money on "secret developments of Tibetan monks". "If the matter concerns your dears, it would be useful to do some explanatory work, the so-called "emotional therapy". But never forbid them to do something, just plant the seed of doubt, like "if the commercial is true there must be healed people somewhere" or "why don't they use these methods in hospitals?" the specialist recommends.

Among other ways to resist commercial attacks there is "filtration" of information. "Analyze information distantly, without emotional involvement. There is a simple question everybody should ask himself in such situations: "why do I need it?" We should learn to be more reasonable and critical, thus we will be less dependent and more particular about information and choices we make," master of practical psychology Iryna Levishchenko says.

Indeed, stance on any situation can be changed by laughter. "Sense of humor is the best way to protect ourselves from negative influence. I always recommend it as the first step in any therapy. First of all, sense of humor is a proof of your mental health. Secondly, it helps to analyze this phenomenon as paradox. People who invent these schemes are merchants. Thus, smile and reason about everything they tell you about the "miracle". Switch on Internet and your mind," Oleh Pokalchuk sums up. 

We do not like to acknowledge mistakes, even to ourselves. Thus, would not it be better to spend some time thinking, rather than crying over lost money and self-respect?

Valentyna Dudko


ForUm
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