Home Why Do Smart People Fall For Dumb Hoaxes and Transparent Scams? (Article Has Been Moved)

Why Do Smart People Fall For Dumb Hoaxes and Transparent Scams? (Article Has Been Moved)

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Every day, thousands of Internet users fall for silly hoaxes and transparent scams. Why? Many commentators suggest that all of the people who fall for such scams and hoaxes are just plain stupid. But, this is not true…

This article has now been revised, updated, and moved to a new home on Medium.

You can read the new version here:


Why Do Otherwise Smart People Fall For Obvious Scams and Hoaxes?


Recent Posts:

‘Unread Pending Message’ Phishing Scam Email

According to this email, there are unread pending messages waiting in your email account. The notification claims that the waiting messages have been delayed for 48 hours.

‘Dance of the Dad’ Virus Hoax

According to a social media message that is currently circulating in French and English, you should not accept a video called "Dance of the Dad" because it is a virus that will format your cell phone.

‘3 Broken Emails’ Spam – Fake Google Notification Messages

According to this email, which purports to be from the Google Notification Service, "3 broken emails has been found and recovered" within your account. 

‘Aldi £100 Gift Card’ Facebook Giveaway Scam

According to a post that is circulating rapidly on Facebook, grocery chain Aldi is giving everyone who shares a link a £100 gift card. 

Watch Out for This Nasty ‘Check Victim List’ Facebook Phishing Scam

Scammers are attempting to panic people into divulging their Facebook login details by implying that family or friends may have been killed or injured.

BT ‘Your Monthly Payment Was Declined’ Phishing Scam

According to this email, which purports to be from UK telecommunications company BT, your monthly payment was recently declined.

‘Confidential Document via cPanel’ Email Account Phishing Scam

According to this email, you have received a confidential document via cPanel cloud systems. Supposedly, the email was sent by cPanel Support's Head of Security.

‘African Trading Reward Programme’ Advance Fee Scam

According to this email, you have won 750,000 Rand via a lottery organized by the African Trading Reward Programme. 

Facebook Prayers for Shares – Like-Farming Scams

If you've been on Facebook for a while, you may well have seen posts that ask you to share an image as a means of garnering prayers for a sick or injured child. 

Dog Comes Home With Deadly Snake Around His Snout

Long circulated message claims that an attached photograph shows Bronson, a black Labrador Retriever with a deadly copperhead snake wrapped around his snout.

‘Two Free Alaska Air Tickets’ Facebook Giveaway Scam

According to a post that is currently being shared on Facebook, Alaska Air has announced that it is giving two free tickets to everyone who shares a link.

Beware of Facebook Scams Claiming You Can See Your Profile Visitors

If you see a post or private message on Facebook claiming that you can view a list of your profile visitors, don't click on it.

‘We’ve Noticed Some Unusual Activity’ Email Phishing Scam

This email claims that your account is set to be limited because the service provider has noticed some unusual activity. 

More HMRC Tax Refund Scam Emails Hitting Inboxes

For years, scammers have tried to steal sensitive personal and financial information by falsely claiming that recipients of their emails are eligible for an unexpected tax refund. 

‘Ten Rupees from Facebook’ Sick Child Scam

According to this widely-circulated post, Facebook will donate 10 rupees to help a pictured child in exchange for liking and sharing. 

‘You Have Received a Voice Message’ Scam Emails

According to this email, which purports to be from "Admin" at your email service provider, you have a new voice message waiting.

Survey Spam Emails Still Hitting Inboxes

If you've been on the Internet for a while, you've likely received your fair share of emails claiming that you been selected to complete a survey and thus go in the draw to win various prizes or "rewards". 

JetBlue ‘Free Tickets For Anniversary’ Facebook Giveaway Scam

A post currently being shared on Facebook claims that US-based airline, JetBlue is giving two free tickets to everyone who shares a link. 

Nancy Pelosi and The Three Trips of Captain Cook

Message claims that Nancy Pelosi, current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, answered a psychiatrist's test question in a way that revealed a decided lack of intelligence

‘Explain Us About this Unusual Activity’ Phishing Email

Some scam attempts are so poorly executed that they are almost entertaining. This rather lame attempt to steal your Google Account login details fits into that category.

‘I Have Your Secrets’ Fake Blackmail Sextortion Scam Email

This email claims to be from a spy͏ware software developer who "has your secrets". Supposedly, the "hacker" has installed malware on your device.

ESTA ‘Visa Expiration Warning’ Scams

If you are travelling to the United States, you are required to apply for and receive an ESTA, but watch out for scam websites and emails.

DHL ‘Shipment Notification’ Malware Email

This email is supposedly a shipment notification from delivery company DHL. It asks you to click a link to confirm your delivery details.

‘Outlook Security Issue’ Phishing Scam

This email, which was supposedly sent by Microsoft, warns that your Outlook account has been suspended due to a security issue. 

Amazon ‘Unable to Process Recent Order’ Phishing Scam

Yet another wave of Amazon phishing scam emails is hitting inboxes. The emails, which feature the Amazon logo, claim that the company was unable to process a recent order you made.



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