Narrators are reliable, trustworthy, kind, and helpful. These traits can make it hard for them to spot a scammer, because their personable, people-loving nature leads them to assume the best of everyone they meet. Since narrators also perform poorly when they feel pressured, they’re especially vulnerable to high-pressure scams that prey on fear.
Reina checked her cellphone when she got out of the pool. She was shocked to find about 50 panicked texts from Lupe, her mother. “I saw online that you were robbed.” One said. “Do you still have your phone? Why won’t you answer?” By the time Reina called her mother, it was too late. She’d already wired $500 to some scammer who’d created a fake social media profile and pretended that she was Reina, lost in a far-off city and in need of cash.
Reina wanted to yell at her mother. How could she be so naïve? But she knew that yelling would only make her mother withdraw and feel terrible. She stayed calm and positive. “I appreciate how much you loved me, that you were willing to jump to my defense like that!” Reina said. “But I would never use social media to ask for help. I’d call you. And I’d tell you if I was traveling. I was at the gym, like I always am on Thursday.” Lupe admitted that Reina made sense, but she was still upset. “Who would do this sort of thing? People used to be better than this.” Now that she’d experienced the reality of fraud, she eagerly agreed to avoid wiring money unless she checked with her family first.