Scammers Use Trust and Financial Needs of Ticos to Commit Crimes

When it comes to scams, we cannot deny being inclined to think that “it will never happen to us.” However, this attitude is precisely what can lead us to falling into a situation of this nature.

Psychology experts from Instacredit warned that extreme confidence, associated with a typical cultural factor of Costa Ricans, is what causes that, despite multiple awareness campaigns, the number of victims of scams continues to grow in the country.

“Ticos feel exempt or even immune to being victims of scammers. From another perspective, there is a psychological factor associated with the needs of people that remains latent, and that could be an aspect that scammers use to their full advantage. In these times of a marked economic crisis, it seems that the urgent needs makes people less cautious and act without malice,” explained the specialists of the financial institution.

Some of the strategies they use to accomplish their goals are inspiring confidence, speaking warmly, and addressing the victim with education and intelligence. Furthermore, and despite being unable to empathize with others, they focus on their victim, appearing attracted to their concerns, which generates security, tranquility, confidence, and makes it easier for them to manipulate feelings.

Experts emphasize that criminals identify victims’ level of knowledge regarding fraud prevention and the handling of confidential personal information, and are able to detect information gaps or weaknesses.

 Pandemic has brought with it new scam tactics

Instacredit’s Financial Security Manager, Pablo Rojas, stated that in recent months, scam artists have been using current news topics that create a need for the victim. For example, they use the suspension of contracts or payment agreements, the offer of credits, job offers, VAT or even the Protect Plan.

“We have learned about fraud by impersonating companies. Criminals take advantage of companies that are easily referenced in the national market, to deceive the population,” added Rojas.

The expert added that the mobilization towards the technology, caused by this Pandemic, reflected in telework or electronic commerce, has caused people to share more information, making them more exposed.

As a result of this situation, Instacredit provided a series of recommendations and asks Costa Ricans to be alert to possible scammers attempts:

  • Do not deposit any kind of advance or cash, because a serious and responsible institution will never ask for any advance payment to speed up the process or approval of a loan.
  • Concentrate when receiving a contact from a company or official, with topics out of the ordinary, pay attention and be alert.
  • Be wary of attractive offers; a benefit, help, ease in a process and “offers too good to be true”.
  • Stay calm, they will try to generate a feeling of urgency, need and scarcity, that only that “official” can solve.
  • The first thing they will tell you is that they will not ask you for personal data, so they will try to gain your trust.
  • Verify the identity and behavior of the person making the offer. Search directly for their information.
  • Protect your personal information, never provide personal data and avoid exposing them on social networks or other means.
  • Don’t feel pressured or compromised, end the contact. Indicate that you will be addressing the issue directly.
  • Ask for advice. When in doubt, consult a trusted person.
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