By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Scam victims come from all walks of life, education levels and backgrounds. So why do some people fall for a scam while others do not?

“We have a miscalculation on your tax file, you owe us some money,” said Jackie, explaining what a caller claiming to be an IRS agent told her.

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It was actually a con artist who demanded $5,000.

“If you don’t pay this, we’re going to file a lawsuit against you for $75,000,” Jackie recalled the scammer saying.

Jackie ended up paying the money.

A new study from the Better Business Bureau and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA is shedding light on why she did.

“Certain people are more vulnerable to certain types of scams,” said Gary Mottola, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s research director.

Mottola and other researchers interviewed people contacted by con artists. They found those who lost money were less likely to question authority.

“You don’t want to mess with the IRS, that was my viewpoint at that point,” explained Jackie.

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The study also showed scam victims may believe people who ask too many questions seem ignorant and that wealth is built on random opportunities. The latter can make people vulnerable to job scams.

“I couldn’t find another job, like I said, I’m, I’ll be 60 years old in November,” said Karl, who was conned.

Researchers discovered many scam victims think the world rewards good people, leading them to trust others.

“I am not aware of how crooked the world is,” said Cynthia.

Cynthia lost money in an online investment scam. She trusted the con artist and admits not asking enough questions.

“That’s when things can get dangerous in terms of losing money in a financial fraud,” said Mottola.

Mottola said whether it’s a phone call or email, always question why someone is asking for money or personal information, adding not to be afraid to ask friends and family for advice.

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Mottola said the good news is our viewpoints can change with experience.  He hopes the findings lead to educational campaigns that can help people avoid scams. Team