More recently, scammers hacked into friends’ accounts and asked to urgently transfer money, because a terrible misfortune had happened. Today they call and introduce themselves as a bank or police officer. It seems that nothing frightens people who are dishonest, and they are ready to take risks hiding behind the authorities. spoke with Gestalt therapist Victoria Merkulova, to learn how to prepare for and counter harassing criminal attacks.


Most types of fraud have a general pattern in which people are scammed for money. The first is the element of pressure. Previously, scammers were hiding behind relatives, friends, now they use various status organizations: banks, police, military registration and enlistment office. Each of these structures is associated with a stable association: reliability, power, danger, or some other. If many have learned to “talk” with “bank employees”, end the conversation on the first words, and someone even openly send it, then with imaginary police officers it’s not so easy yet. In our country, the police and any person in power are still afraid. When someone calls and introduces himself as a district police officer or investigator, and then gives out a lot of real information, it is difficult to take the risk of hanging up or sending frankly. What if this person turns out to be a real official in the performance? Fraudsters do not put pressure on a person directly, but through important archetypal images that either guarantee reliability or inspire fear of punishment for disobedience.


The second is the element of urgency. In network marketing, this happens through a great offer and a high discount that works here and now. A person finds himself in a situation where he is offered a unique chance, refusing which a person is left with nothing. Phone scammers do the same. They say in a confident calm voice: “Do not hang up, do not consult with anyone, do not call back, it is important to urgently make a decision.” And they offer an algorithm of actions that promises a guaranteed result only at this moment. Thus, attackers cut off a person from the opportunity to exhale, breathe, consult and make a decision slowly.


Such actions of scammers drive a person into a corner. If we assume that the criminal definitely falls into the history of a person, then this is frightening. Stress levels rise, the production of adrenaline and cortisol increases, which turn off the brain. Such a reaction of the body is inherent in nature, so that in a stressful situation a person does not hesitate, but quickly acts. Evolutionarily, with the help of trial and error, it turned out that even a poorly thought out, but quick decision can lead to success in an emergency. This method was relevant when a person lived in the forest and stressful situations really threatened life. Now stress is becoming a part of everyday life and quite often does not pose a real threat to human life. Unfortunately, our body did not have time to adapt to the new reality in a short time and develop a different way of responding to the impact of various adverse stressors. That is why, in stress, a person has a state of panic, and his entire system is ready to make a quick decision, not including critical thinking.

dominant figure

If you pay attention to the voice of a scammer, then he is usually calm, confident, reliable, knowledgeable and understanding. This is exactly what any person who finds himself in a critical situation needs: someone emotionally balanced, who will tell you what to do, and with his strong hands will part the clouds hanging over your head.

It is worth adding to the above that people in the post-Soviet space are not, in principle, trained to think critically. If, for some reason, a person was left without information that a fraudulent attack could be carried out, then with a high degree of probability the cornered person will follow all the instructions of the caller.

How to stop getting hooked?

Unfortunately, schemes for influencing people are constantly being updated, and from the first words it is not always clear whether they are scammers or not. It is important to study the action algorithms offered by banks and other structures to protect against fraudsters. Early awareness gives a person more confidence that it is difficult to deceive him during an unwanted call. If the offender managed to quickly frighten a person and drive him into a corner, then it is highly likely that the victim will not have the idea that something does not converge and they are trying to deceive him. Therefore, it is important to take time from the very beginning to exhale, breathe deeply and think. Or hang up and call the bank, police station or military enlistment office on your own.

Almost any fraud scheme is based on scaring a person, cutting him off from communication with other people, limiting the time to make a decision, keeping him exclusively on the line and not giving him the opportunity to call back on his own. Knowing this, and knowing that attackers are constantly updating their attack patterns, you can learn how to protect yourself from unexpected attempts by criminals.