“It Has To Be True” Syndrome

Recently I spoke with an associate who is working with an elderly woman on a real estate transaction. My contact knows the value of what we do at Advocacy and how we try to help everyone. Mostly, I feel a tremendous sense of accountability to seniors though. Most of the people I worked with early in my financial services career are today’s seniors. My generation is the baby boomers and I have witnessed both the good and the bad and the extremely changing course of history.

Back to the story though, this lady shared a bit of her present focus and it turns out she is seeking to get the proceeds from her real estate transaction so she can pay a large fee for a very large gift she has won (commonly referred to as the Jamaican Lottery Scam). So my associate tried to discuss the potential for loss in this matter with little success, in fact he told me she really dug in and almost came to tears during this discussion and she was determined to get this large sum of money she had won. In fact her attitude changed into one of disdain and anger on the matter. This is very common as financial victims suffer from the normalcy bias, confirmation bias and general irrationality. Its very hard to talk a person off the ledge of financial victimization as they become logically attached to the financial gain. Worst of all they become fully emotionally vested in the incredible windfall they have been blessed with. The reason our work is so important is the difficulty that comes with helping people help themselves. We all would rationally consider that many financial scams are obvious and thus only foolish people could possibly get caught in them. This is a vastly misguided assumption. Many, many, many very savvy and intellectual people get caught in the web of deceit. It is because of a pathway of psychological triggers that lead to the ultimate financial victimization.

This is sadly the case with this woman. She is intent on losing $10’s of thousands of dollars chasing several million. She has bought the story and even the hooks that should be fairly obvious to her. One of those hooks is how she is not supposed to tell anyone about her good fortune or she risks losing the prizes she has won. She has won a very prestigious contest and is unique exclusive, so of course she should tell no one else including her family. What this hook accomplishes is a logical lockup in her mind so she will maintain confidentiality. Hard to protect someone who is married to confidentiality. This also elicits her own integrity as of course she wants to honor a confidential agreement. There are other hooks that align with the psychological triggers and the members of the Advocacy Network are not only educated on these techniques but they are trained in how to not only recognize them but also on how to avoid them. We are almost at the $7M mark in savings created for our members. I would love nothing more than to add this woman’s savings to our efforts but sadly she is headed towards the cliff and is actively willing to voluntarily go off that cliff. I want this story to be a warning for all who read it. Don’t allow the “that would never happen to me” excuse stop you from protecting you and your loved ones properly. You are just like the rest of those around you who could very easily fall into the “it has to be true” syndrome. Once victimized the psychological damage grows exponentially and the losses pile up and in many cases the end result is tragic. My mission with with the Advocacy Network is help people avoid tragedy and massive financial losses.

Become a member today, really what are you waiting for?