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Outsmarting Scam Artists

Falling for a scam has little to do with intelligence because con artists appeal to the emotional part of the brain, which can swamp out any attempt to think rationally. Cons call it getting the victim "under the ether," or in a heightened emotional state where we'll suspend rational thinking for promises of great wealth, or to avoid loss.

Another key tactic employed by con-artists is persuasion. While new scams arise every day, the underlying persuasion tactics employed in those scams remain fairly constant. Fraud victims are less able than the general public to spot persuasion tactics used by con men.

When it comes to scam victims, one size does not fit all. Con-artists carefully target specific individuals based on the individual scam. For instance, victims of investment fraud are more likely to be male, upper-income and employed. Victims of Lottery Fraud on the other hand are more likely to be female, older, single, and low income.

You can sign up for the Fraud Watch Network at or by calling 800-646-2283. By joining the Fraud Watch Network, you'll receive alerts and notifications about new scams as they emerge.

File a consumer complaint with the Attorney General's Office at