Everyone wants to feel special, loved and cared for — and scammers take advantage of that.
By Mona Lazar
Written on Sep 08, 2023
Photo: Artem Tymoshenko | Shutterstock
I’ve fallen down a dark path these past few weeks… no, it’s not the dark path of falling for some hunky love scammer online and losing all my money on the shrine of unrequited love.
It’s the dark path of watching countless YouTube videos about the subject. Did I say watching? I meant binging. I think I might have exhausted YouTube’s romance scam database.
And before you tell me it’s a trivial pursuit into drama and low morality, let me tell you I agree, but let me also tell you what I learned from it.
First, if you have no idea what a romance scammer is, here’s what the FBI says about it:
Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.
There you have it. Romance scammers are both women and men, as are the victims. And the way they operate is incredibly similar. It’s almost as if they’re reading from a book.
Oh, wait a minute — they actually are reading from a book.
There is an actual manual that teaches you how to romance scam people and it is available on Amazon.
I won’t leave any links here because I don’t want to tickle your criminal bone, but I hope you are as shocked as I am.
What I can tell you is that if there is a guide on how to behave to get women and men you’ve never met or even seen to fall madly in love with you and blow through their life savings for you, it means there is also a guide to actually getting a real relationship with a loving partner.
One more confession: I read the romance scam guide.
And it’s nothing even remotely similar to what the fake Andrew Tate-type pick artist type would have you believe works to get women. In fact, Tate himself admittedly applied the same technique described in this guide to get women to fall in love with him and then used them as cam girls.
Also, it’s not what the famous Rules book would have you believe works to get a good man — or to get all men.
Actually, what the book describes are a few very simple principles that when applied will endear people to you. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you aren’t using it for criminal purposes, like scamming people out of their hard-earned retirement fund.
So what are these principles that work so well to get people to love you?
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Well, d’oh! You knew that, right?
All of us know it, except pick-up artists, apparently, who would have you be an absolute piece of … vinegar to anyone you’re interested in. The reasoning is that women love dominant men, so let’s be flat-out abusive. Or that men love a good chase, so run as far away from them as possible…
These scammers do the exact opposite.
It works and it makes absolute sense. The great majority of people are not complete masochists. Turns out, the great majority of people don’t enjoy it when somebody yells at them or is indifferent to their struggles and needs.
We all want to be treated nicely, loved, and cherished. So why do we overcomplicate things?
Because psychology is a bit more complicated than that.
Too much honey will make your fly sick.
It’s more effective to be polite and flattering than to be hostile or demanding. You can win people to your side more easily by gentle persuasion and flattery than by hostile confrontation.
However, if you’re going to keep hurling compliments at her like she can pay the bills with them, she’ll be turned off. It looks sleazy and fake.
One good point one of the women who got scammed made was that she fell in love with her scammer because he wasn’t like all the other guys online who would either be very demanding, controlling, and abusive from the start and send her unrequested dick picks, or the exact opposite: very mellow, kept giving her a million compliments, and be a push over about everything she said, which she deemed as fake.
The scammer knew that being too sweet and accommodating would turn her off just as much as being too aggressive. The only question is: where is that line between being too much of a good thing vs. being too little of it?
Well, that’s the difficult part. As any scammer will tell you, you learn as you go, and practice makes perfect.
You’ll also find out that this limit is different from one person to another and the best relationships, whether real or fake, are formed between people who are actually a good fit, the ones who are naturally compatible.
Any scammer can tell you that you can’t seduce everybody, no matter what method you use. People do have their own individuality and some might not fall for your charming method no matter how flawlessly you apply it.
It’s important to know when to stop and move on.
It’s also important to know that just like anything else in life, relationships are a game of trial and error, hard work, and never giving up.
So what’s the trick to the honey and vinegar cocktail?
Although they didn’t say this directly in the book, which is mostly a series of standard replies and basic ideas, I concocted a conclusion from the massive amount of videos watched.
I can summarize the whole process with one line: The trick is to be the sweetest person in the world while standing your ground.
It looks simple, doesn’t it?
People who stand their ground can be a bit rough around the edges. Standing for what you believe in is usually a consequence of having a rough life that taught you that you either stand or die.
Being nice, sweet, and caring (or acting that way) is usually not a natural occurrence in a rough life scenario.
When it actually happens, it’s a powerful cocktail with a lot of awesome results in relationships of all sorts: romantic, business, family, everything.
Other baffling secrets of entertainment that romance scammers perform:
They address their target with ‘my queen/ king’. Apparently, everybody enjoys being royalty, who would have thought?Women scammers pretend they are a damsel in distress, while male scammers pretend they are rich and will take care of the victim’s financial needs.They all profess love for their target after a short few weeks of interaction.They study the target and pretend to be as similar as possible: if the victim is Christian, so are they, if s/he loves dogs, so do they, etc.They make the victim feel special, loved, taken care of, and adored. They ask if they’ve eaten, tell them how amazing they are, ask about the family, etc. A constant effort to be present and interested and a constant focus on the target.
People want to be cherished, not abused.People are looking for connection, not indifference or dominance.
People of all genders, social classes, levels of wealth, status, and intelligence are looking for one major thing in a romantic relationship: love. And because they get so little of it, they’re the perfect target for criminals who play with their heads and hearts.
People are willing to give up everything they’ve got for the illusion of love, care, and connection. Would they do the same for the real thing?
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Mona Lazar is an unapologetic writer, unconventional relationship coach, and wild dreamer with words published in Better Humans, Medium, Illumination, The Soulciety, Newsbreak, The Startup, Hello, Love, The Good Men Project, Curious, and others.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.