back to article Gut instinct no protection against net scams

Those who rely on gut instinct and are open to persuasion are more at risk of falling prey to internet scams, according to a research sponsored by the UK Office of Fair Trading. Far from being naive and easily led, many scam victims are often decent decision-makers in their everyday life, psychology researchers at the …


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  1. Tony

    But surely...

    ..if I can't trust the former finance minister of Nigeria, who can I trust?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    money for nothing

    "fake clairvoyants"

    I would argue that all clairvoyants are fake/frauds

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    I'm intrigued.

    What are "fake clairvoyants"?

    You mean there are clairvoyants out there who can't really see into the future? I'm shocked and amazed!

    NB: It's easy to spot a real clairvoyant. They're the ones who are as rich as Croesus, retired and living on their own private islands.

  4. James


    You mean Sir Fred Goodwin is a clairvoyant !

  5. Elmer Phud

    Research Details

    Full details of the research can be puchased at www.handoveryourdosh.con/oneborneveryminute

  6. Nick Kew

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained

    No surprises there. Decision-makers are ... those who take decisions. That includes their fair share of bad decisions, like falling for scams.

    Those of us who are too analytic and/or cynical to fall for the scams are not the ones who come across as decision-makers.

  7. Ye Cats

    So, er...

    Isn't "unduly open to persuasion by others" another way of saying "gullible"? So gullible people are more likely to fall for scams. Who knew? I suppose the points we are supposed to be amazed at are that such people "might well be successful in business" and that "gut instinct" (although I'm not sure precisely what that is: the only "instinct" my gut has is to produce shit) is poor defence against scams. What was the name of the leader of this research team? Dr. Obvious?

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Should have polled MP's

    If you have a good product, talk to the engineer. If you have a slightly crappy product, talk to the pointy haired boss. If your product is complete and utter crap, sell it to the government.

  9. Martin Lee

    Anyone got a link to the original research

    Here's the original work:

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You have to wonder what sort of business man fall for a 419 scam or otehr advance fee scam. I remember years ago selling an Eve online character for £1000 on ebay and the guy telling me he been sent the money back. he was most disapointed when I wouldn't agree to further experiments.

    Its simple. If its too good to be true it isnt true.

  11. JohnG

    "Successful in business"

    "Successful in business" could mean that their Dad, Uncle or someone else in the OBN gave them a job. It doesn't really say anything about their intelligence or gullability. The state of our banks is evidence of this - what sensible person would invest ernormous sums of their clients' money into investment instruments which they didn't understand on the promise of an unrealistic return? It sounds a lot like a 419 scam.

  12. Eddie Edwards

    Didn't we know this already?

    Many decision-makers already fell for the scam of AAA collateralized debt obligations. Probably because the scammers were working for well-known and trusted organizations. So the point is surely well proven?

  13. Graham Marsden

    For a copy of the report...

    ... Just send your credit card details to me at...

  14. John Bayly
    Thumb Down

    @AC: lol

    How can anyone fall for these scams? Or at least, that what I used to ask myself until my neighbours asked if they could use my computer to register with their bank. Turned out they were expecting to received £450,000 (FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS). Not fun explaining that it's a scam, they won't have the money wired into their account immediately, and that it will likely cost them. At least they didn't take it out on the messenger.

    For those wondering why they needed my computer, it appears they use their mobile phones to check their email, and the "bank's" website didn't work on a mobile browser.

  15. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    successful in business?

    Contrary to popular opinion, victims are not in general poor-decision makers, and might well be successful in business.

    Do they work for AIG perchance?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Previous victims of a scam are more likely to show interest in responding again."

    This explains the 419 emails I get saying that the UN is going to reimburse me ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND GREAT BRITAIN POUNDS ONLY for being a Nigerian scam victim. Talk about cojones...

    The other fun ones are the ones trying to pick of other scammers' marks by saying that the target is currently being defrauded, and if they ever want to see their contract payment they need to stop dealing with their existing guys and switch to the new guy instead!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    False inference re: poor decision making.

    > * Contrary to popular opinion, victims are not in general poor-decision makers, and might well be successful in business. But they do tend to be "unduly open to persuasion by others and less able to control their emotions".

    Sorry, but this merely demonstrates that success in business is not directly related to decision-making ability, but includes all sorts of other factors, probably mostly along the lines of "who you know", "who was your father", "where did you go to school", and a fair helping of blind luck (for which "successful" businessmen never fail to credit themselves, as if it was something they had achieved by skill or cleverness).

  18. DarkHorseDre
    Gates Halo


    clairvoyants - yeah, well said, they're all frauds! Where were they at pearl harbour/German invasion/911/lottery night... ah Im a fool for venting this!!

    So the conclusion is that the research isnt worth as much as it should be, as they failed to show that people who fall for scams ARE gullible (as fonejacker cleverly shows) and that being good in business is relative at best...

    @ Francis Boyle (its so cool to be speaking to a nobel peace prize winner!) - AIG - LOL!

    Bill - cos he knows nothing about scams, or bad business

  19. Ben

    Good at business != good decision making

    Being good at business says very little about decision making and critical thinking. Because business is run by the same gut feelings and persuasion that scam victims are likely to fall for.

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