Unmasking Deceptions

I used to work in Vancouver for a typewriter company and as I visited businesses as a saleslady, I was given the serial numbers of stolen typewriters. I was in a lawyer’s office and I noticed one of the stolen typewriters was there. I informed the secretary and said I have to take it because it was stolen. She wanted to know what to do and I said talk to the lawyer. Apparently, the previous salesperson did some deceptive work.

Many are surprised by wrong-doing because it is covered up by a good talker. Even smart people can be fooled. Fraud and dishonesty are hard to detect when covering-up skills are learned. When making a decision based on someone’s lies and false information, it is costly and a shame. Some know how to get you to believe something and it is more powerful than logic.

Thinking can be complex trying to use rationalization, discernment, wisdom and logic to learn the truth. Few can resist Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion, which are reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistently, liking and consensus. Social proof is a powerful principle used for good or manipulation.

So many Canadians have be defrauded of a great deal of money and feel insulted for being so naïve to have been defrauded. Romance scams in particular are the hardest to admit to having been fooled and the need to save face is a powerful motivator not to report it.

Without being cynic some ways to be more discerning are to ask yourself if there is credible evidence to support the claims. Is it logical or too good to be true? Beware of cognitive shortcuts making sure it is a low risk and if not avoid it. Study your own thought processes and your history of success and mistakes and their commonalities. Recognize decision making patterns you can improve on. Mature individuals are quick to admit their errors and mistakes of judgment. It takes courage to be honest with oneself, but most respect and feel they can trust such a person.