It’s hard to believe that there are people who still send money to dating scammers on the Internet, but practice shows it’s still happening. Even today men send 1,000s of dollars to ‘women’ via Western Union for tickets and never see the woman or the money again.
Why do people believe fakes?
The most annoying thing is that people know all the right things to do. They are aware of the rules of safe dating, which are easy to follow.
- Never send money via Western Union to someone you met online.
- Organize a chat on video before thinking of meeting in person.
- Book tickets and accommodation yourself, so only you can get a refund.
- It’s not true that a woman is unable to chat to you on video, regardless of her location, if you are communicating online. If she cannot get on video, forget it: It’s a scam. No exceptions.
But despite all this advice, guys still don’t talk to the “woman” on Skype or WhatsApp, chose to believe the stories that she is unable to talk on video via Internet, and instead of booking tickets and accommodation themselves, send the cash by Western Union.
“But she was so nice,” the guys say defending such a decision.
Nice. Wouldn’t you be nice to someone if you had a chance to score 4 times your monthly wage for just being ‘nice’ on emails? Don’t get me started.
It is because of guys who are sending money and continuing using PPL sites that dating scammers exist. If they completely stopped sending money and paying PPL sites, then the dating scammers from Ukraine simply would stop trying and would have been forced to find other jobs, more useful to the society, and hopefully start contributing. Ukraine needs more people who actually contribute and fewer scammers, but foreign sponsors are keeping the scamming trade alive.
Humans tend to value feedback over logic, psychologists say
Apparently, we people want to believe the fakes and don’t want to look at facts. We tend to value feedback over logic, scientists explain.
What does logic tell you about sending money to someone in another country, who may easily disappear with the cash with no way of retribution? Right, it would be stupid. But it seems reasonable to a man who hopes to cash out on love of a beautiful woman who is ‘very nice’ to him.
The victim wants to believe that the lie is true. It seems plausible, even though other people tell him it’s nonsense. “What if?” he hopes. What if it’s true? I would regret so much not getting it now, when it’s so close…
You may say, “Elena, but it’s the same with a woman that I am talking via video on Skype, what’s different?”
No, it’s not the same. It’s easy to lie typing words on the screen and it’s much harder, basically impossible, to lie when talking face to face on camera for hours. The tone of voice, the movement of eyes, the micro movements of facial muscles all alert our conscious and unconscious brain.
It’s even easier to lie under another person’s identity, when you don’t take anything close to heart. This is why the PPL system works so well for its organizers. They pretend they do not know it’s all fake, but they obviously do, as it’s very easy to see the patterns of communication, which are distinct for genuine users and paid writers.
The top managers of PPL systems are trying to claim, “It’s not us but the providers and we require them to be honest,” — but the simple fact that no genuine person is typing letters for hours daily to dozens of guys, some of whom are really shocking, wouldn’t pass “the common sense” scrutiny, although it’s easy to circumvent any “tests” these managers are trying to use as cover-ups.
Fake warnings about fake communication
One large PPL site even recently added a link explaining “risks” (yes, they use this word) that “some” communication may not be genuine and that they “may” pay providers for supplying the content (instead of “we are paying for the content”, which is the actual truth). It’s again another fake, but they obviously hope that this “risks warning” may stand in the court of law as a fair attempt to warn customers.
Let me tell you what would be a fair warning.
“We are paying a share of the money from what we charge you for messages, to the agents in Ukraine, who have full access and control over profiles of women in photos and known to hire paid writers to communicate with men. We choose to close our eyes that communication from profiles cannot be truthful, as these “women” promise undying love to dozens of men simultaneously and spend 4-8 hours daily on the site as if this were their job. We put no limits on the number of men paying to talk to this particular “woman”.
We are also aware of gift delivery scams, where agents and “brides” split the money, but we still promote this as it brings us great profits.
But if you try to sue us, we are going to say that it’s not us, but the agents, and we are doing everything we can to prevent scams. Although we are absolutely unable to stop the scams for as long as we are paying suppliers for content, and there would be no letters in our system if we indeed stopped paying for the content, so, of course, we are aware that all “relationships” within our system are fake.
By ticking this box you agree to be scammed and not hold us liable. Thanks for being such a great victim.”
This would be a fair warning.
The obscure legalese on this PPL site means exactly the same, but you may not be able to see it through.
- Read also: Why PPL leads to immigration fraud.
Scientists: People tend to defy logic in favour of feedback
Well, the reason for me starting on this article was the research I found online saying that people tend to believe feedback over logic.
Researchers from Berkeley, California, USA, discovered that logic and reasoning are not as powerful in influencing a person’s opinion as positive or negative reactions they get.
“If you think you know a lot about something, even though you don’t, you’re less likely to be curious enough to explore the topic further, and will fail to learn how little you know,” psychologist Louis Marti, the research’s leading author, explained.
Even a broken clock shows the correct time twice daily. A story that’s essentially a lie may be truthful in a couple of aspects and when it’s confirmed in these moments, suddenly you may decide that the whole construct is truthful. But it’s not. You may think you know, but you are wrong.
And when you have a strong emotional interest and investment into the story, you want it to be true, and you don’t want to find out it’s a lie. You would feel stupid if this were a lie. In fact, you are scared to dig deeper and discover the truth.
In the same way people tend to postpone a visit to a doctor fearing they may be having cancer or another serious decease, when logic tells them they need to get there a.s.a.p., as this would improve their chances to survive, if there is indeed a problem.
Berkeley psychologists discovered in their study that people’s confidence was mostly based on recent performances, as opposed to results gathered over longer periods of time.
In the experiment, 500 people were asked to look at colorful figures on their screens and tell which shapes were the same as Daxxy, an imaginary shape, which researchers invented just for the purposes of the study. Because participants had no idea how this object looked, they could only guess. As participants looked through the figures and guessed, they were given feedback, whether the guess was right or wrong. Altogether there were 24 figures.
The respondents were also asked to indicate if they were confident their answers were correct.
In the experiment, respondents mostly used only the last 4-5 answers to decide if they were confident. If the last few answers happened to be correct, then they were certain.
“If your goal is to arrive at the truth, the strategy of using your most recent feedback, rather than all of the data you’ve accumulated, is not a great tactic,” Marti pointed out. It’s best to use the whole body of evidence, rather that recent feedback, to ensure your ideas match the facts.
The sunk costs fallacy
Other body of research demonstrated that people tend to choose avoiding losses over a potential gain. If they were feeling invested, they’d rather pick a worse option into which they had invested heavily than a better option that cost them less. This is called “the sunk costs fallacy”. People also call it, “throwing the good money after the bad.”
Not only humans tend to fall victims to the sunk costs fallacy; lab rats tend to do it as well. If the rats waited long enough for a reward to show up, they were extremely hesitant to abandon the lousy point that failed to deliver, even though logically it would be the smartest thing to do: If it took so long and the reward hasn’t eventuated, move on. But no: The longer the rats waited for the reward that didn’t show up as promised, the more hesitant they were to abandon the empty site.
It defies logic, but it shows how easy it is to get filled with hope if you’ve invested a lot of time into an empty wait. Don’t be like a lab rat. Use your logic.
How to pick a scammer? That’s the person whom you instantly want to trust
It’s easy to follow the promises of scammers, they always have a beautiful answer and they are “so nice”. Things are simple and easy, flawless. Let’s say, the woman wants you to send her $1,200 for tickets and expenses to arrive to you or some other place where you decided to meet. $1,200 is a 4-month average wage in Ukraine. Of course, they will be “nice” and have a plausible answer to everything.
The simple logic is explained in the very beginning of this story. Follow the normal common sense of any relationship, whether international or not. No real woman is going to travel overseas without seeing you on video face to face, if she seriously seeks a partner.
There are too many guys uploading old pics and any sane woman wants to see how you really look before venturing to meet you. In today’s environment people don’t travel to meet each other internationally without chatting on video many times. Too expensive and unsafe. If you really plan to meet, what’s the big deal? You are going to have a real relationship, right? Friends will tell you both to chat on video, do checks and be safe. It’s much easier to arrange a video call as opposed to flying to another country blind.
- Any normal person behaves normally; they are scared to be duped, offended if questioned, upset at times. It’s easy to lose a normal person.
- Scammers aren’t afraid to be duped (they are the ones scamming you), they have an answer to every question and never get upset, no matter what you do or say. You cannot get rid of a scammer. They don’t give up on you.
Can you see the obvious difference between normal people and scammers? If you can’t, scammer is the one who easily gains your trust and opens up freely.
But there are 1000 times more genuine people than any PPL workers trying to earn a living by chatting to distant men about love they never intend to deliver.
For genuine people, it’s just not their job and maybe they are not as ‘nice’ and don’t always have the right answer to every question. It does take more effort to build a genuine relationship as opposed to falling into the rabbit hole that the scammer dug for you. But you know what is waiting for you at the end. Choose wisely.
Start with reading what you can about PPL and how it operates, at least read the 4 stories through the links below. Maybe it’s repetitive, but it’s worth properly understanding. It is this idea, “I need to get something,” that permeates any false ‘relationship’, where the person wants to get something from you, rather than needs you.
Don’t fall a victim of the sunk costs fallacy.
Follow protocols of safe dating as if it was the seat belt in a car: No sending money by Western Union, chat on video a lot, show each other documents to confirm identities, so she doesn’t have to worry you are you, and you know she is she. How hard is that? Not hard at all. Any person wanting to meet a partner abroad is enterprising enough to get a place to connect by video (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) to a man with whom she supposedly wishes to spend the rest of her life with.
There are so many genuine women wanting a partner; no need to listen to sweet stories of fake sirens. They may sound sweet but they are fake and the end will be bitter for you.
People who have sent the money are feeling bad not because of the lost money, but for the fact that they believed a scammer. It’s a horrible feeling to know you’ve been had.
The same feeling a person with an incurable cancer has, knowing that had he come to a doctor a few months earlier, he would probably survive.