Thank You “Personal Finance Writer” For Being Hilariously Scammed. We Can Learn A Lot From You


I came across this post and my first instinct is to make fun of the author for being blatantly scammed. After all,

  • Why would Amazon, the FTC and CIA have direct phone lines between them?
  • The fifth amendment exists, why weren’t you aware that you could invoke this and just talk through a lawyer?
  • You tried to verify the information, got nothing and you still gave them money. What was the point then?
  • How could she fall for this as a personal finance writer?
    • And why did they have 50K in life savings in checking—not even a high-yield savings account.
    • Also, she had another personal finance writer friend who also got scammed. Why should these people be listened to at all?

It’s cathartic, and it’s probably why The Cut published this since humiliation kinks drive traffic. Sadly it’s not really helpful because it let us overlook systemic failures which led to this.

Like why would a bank let you withdraw 50K no questions asked? More-so if you’ve rarely gone into a branch and aren’t the sort of person who deals with a lot of cash.

Also, telecommunications companies are really bad at dealing with phone spoofing, that’s assuming they give a shit about it to begin with.

Another thing is not being the sort of person who falls for scams, which is ironically the sort of person who falls for scams since you’ll not only have your guard time, you’ll probably have weak spots, like being manipulated by someone in a supposed position of authority.

As a personal example, I’ve been annoyed with constantly being called at work that I blew over someone who had a phishing attempt and told them just to enter their details. Thankfully it wasn’t too big an issue, but that’s another case where your guard would be down.

One of the main assumptions about these scams is that they’ll always be intentionally obvious so they can focus on the vulnerable. But this can give some a false sense of security. Like the writer mentioned:

When I did tell friends what had happened, it seemed like everyone had a horror story. One friend’s dad, a criminal-defense attorney, had been scammed out of $1.2 million. Another person I know, a real-estate developer, was duped into wiring $450,000 to someone posing as one of his contractors. Someone else knew a Wall Street executive who had been conned into draining her 401(k) by some guy she met at a bar.

All a bunch of smart people who have somehow fallen for scams. They might blow off the generous Nigerian prince who needs your money despite wanting to give you some but they’re likely to listen for a good business opportunity. Doesn’t have to be greed, you could be conducting ordinary business and it turns out that the contractor you thought you were talking to got their email compromised and you’ve sent tens of thousands of dollars to some rando.

I’ll write more on this but one thing I’ve admired is aviation. Every time an accident happens, a Go Team heads out at drills down into why the accident happens. One crucial aspect of this is that pilots aren’t punished for lapses of judgement which allows them to open up to exactly what they did and provides more suggestions to improve. As a result, aviation is much safer than it has been before though there’s still a long way to go.

So sure, you might not fall for this exact scam and it’s funny to roast the author for falling for it. But reducing the prevalence of scams relies on us sharing how we get scammed so we can better look into how we can prevent these in the future.