Fraud Psychology: How Fraudsters Manipulate Others

Popular uses of emotion to influence decisions are well-known, especially from the emerging science…

Georgia (Jan 24, 2014) — Popular uses of emotion to influence decisions are well-known, especially from the emerging science of persuasion. Marketing and sales professionals routinely use emotions to excite consumers about a product or service. This can best be called an attempt at persuasion.  And few
of such uses are truly manipulative, let alone criminal.


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Key difference: Many fraudsters use a combination of initial excitement followed by fear to frighten us about losing our money…and thereby persuade us to give it to them willingly.


Example: There have been frequent E-mail scams and phishing incidents in which, after the initial promise of "found money," a threat is falsely

amplified, and the victims are persuaded that by giving out their personal information, their fear alleviated.



Fraud is a particularly pernicious and diabolical manipulation of emotions. It is a human act that is not hidden -- it happens openly in the books and records—it is there for all to see (despite efforts—often quite successfully—to conceal such schemes, or the audit trail of incriminating evidence).


Key: C-suite fraudsters, who may have engaged in management override of internal controls, strive to distract those who would discover the crime by essentially dismissing their inquiries as small-minded and/or by discrediting the auditing profession as "bean counters." …





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