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Chapter 19. Fraud Happens

Commonly, you don't think a trusted friend or associate is going to defraud you. You think if you feel close to someone, trust that person with personal confidences, and act in a spirit of good will to help him or her, particularly through a difficult period, he or she will reciprocate in kind. Well, yes, usually, that's the case. So we learn to trust and think our helpful actions will be appreciated and evoke a like response from others. We even have terms to express these ideals, such as: "You get back what you put out," "What goes around comes around."

However, those ideals also make it easy for someone who is a con artist at heart to take advantage of you, especially when you lay down your defenses out of trust and a desire to be helpful. In fact, that willingness to trust and believe people are who they say they are has opened the doors to the so-called social engineers, who talk their way into getting confidential company information and perpetrate big-bucks scams. Usually, such scams result from short-term encounters, even seeming business friendships that develop on the phone, such as the personable financial analyst with a get rich for sure investment scheme. Then, when the scheme collapses and people discover the truth, they may feel duped and taken advantage of. But they don't usually experience the intense sense of deep personal betrayal that comes from building up a long-term close relationship. Very often they feel ashamed, embarrassed, and guilty at having being tricked. But the personal betrayal is far more devastating, since it undermines bonds of closeness and intimacy, too. So how do you protect yourself from such a betrayal? Or how do you deal with if it happens to you?


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