Watching and listening to a host of shows on romance scams revealed a similar pattern throughout. In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I share my observations about scams and scammers. From distinguishing questionable and shady behaviour of daters from scams, to the too-good-to-be-true storytelling, to why we can be ‘receptive’, scammers are a cautionary tale about ignoring intuition and chasing the fairy tale.

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5 key topics in this episode

  • Like all unhealthy dynamics, intensity is a theme in scams, and it’s particularly ‘useful’ in romance scams. It’s easy to mistake the early intensity as being flattering and attractive, not least because it’s like a Get Love Quick Scheme. But how we do something is how we do a lot of things. The same person who’s romantically intense will, when they need to up the ante on their scamming or they can’t access money, be intensely inappropriate. Intense anger; intense sense of entitlement; and intence disregard and narcissism.
  • People pretending to be something they’re not is rife in dating and relationships. Whether it’s trying to get into someone’s pants, miminising needs or auditioning in a casual relationship, humans lie. While this stuff is undoubtedly annoying and shady, it doesn’t mean that all of these people are scammers.

Scammers cannot tell a simple flippin’ story. Their stories are always high on excess detail, urgency and bonkersness.

  • Whatever tale they’re selling, whether it’s from the outset or when they have the crisis that sets the stage for handing over money, their stories are too good to be true. They peddle a big story of which, of course, they are the star. When it’s from the outset, it’s outlandish, elaborate, a fairy tale that their victims buy into. They then juxtapose it with a tale of urgency that creates the plausablity for needing the money. e.g. Meet billionaire’s son and international playboy. Big drama occurs and he claims he can’t use his accounts because he’s being hunted. Boom, we help them out temporarily because, you know, he’s good for the money. He’s a billionaire! Scammers always add way too much detail to their stories.
  • Scammers get you to collude in telling lies so as to foster this sense of intimacy that you’re in on something together or that People Just Won’t Understand. e.g. They don’t get what it’s like for someone with this power and money. This lie is okay because it’s helping to keep my family safe.
  • There are certain habits and qualities that can make a person more predisposed to being involved with a romance scammer. This includes being that dangerous mix of being too nice, non-confrontational and naive, having a strong desire for the fairy tale and getting love quickly, and moving too fast emotionally.

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