I clicked a phishing link at work once. By sheer coincidence it was directly related to some high-level stuff that we’d been talking about that day. I did the smart thing and immediately ran to the Dope for advice, and ended up reformatting my work computer just to be on the safe side.
Looking back on that post, the email might have come from an internal compromised account. I don’t remember.
Either way, it’s plenty easy for people like me (only a little dumb, not quite a moron) to fall into the scam trap.
And that’s the hardest part for the scammers. Once they’ve got you on the hook, they know how to manipulate and cajole in effective ways. They also know how to take advantage of flaws in our cognitive processes, like the appeal of the sunk cost fallacy.
The scariest part is that you’re more susceptible to this kind of thing as you get older. Research suggests that elderly people who are otherwise sharp and independent are at greater risk of falling for scams. So you could be trucking along, living your best retired life and still years away from needing anyone to take a hand in your financial affairs, and suddenly find yourself embroiled in an elaborate scam that costs you your life savings.
Scamming is a multi-billion dollar industry that’s more sophisticated than folks give it credit for. It’s definitely not a kind of financial Darwinism that culls income from the ‘desperate, lonely, depressed, addled, gullible, or stupid.’
At least, not just from them.