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The Scam Game: Why Do We Blame the Victim?

After watching Inventing Anna and The Tinder Swindler on Netflix, the victims of Anna Delvey (Sorokin) and Simon Leviev faced harsh criticism online. We’ve seen nasty comments from self-confident people claiming these scenarios could never happen to them. But most people don’t actually know what they would do in this situation because it’s never happened to them. It’s easy to pass judgement from the comfort of your living room while watching Netflix and eating a snack.

We want to understand why people can be so judgmental, even when clearly Anna and Simon are in the wrong. I mean come on: they both went to prison… First, we’re going to explain who these people are and what they did. Then we will go in-depth about the two types of people who make harsh comments to victims: the I’m invincible people and the Anna and Simon stans.

Who are Anna Delvey and Simon Leviev?

These two famous scammers became famous around the same time because of Netflix. Simon’s story was a documentary from the point of view of his victims. Anna, on the other hand, had her life slightly fictionalized by Julia Garner.

Anna pretended to be a German Heiress and scammed people, banks and a law firm. Her goal: to create a high-end social club called the Anna Delvey Foundation. She claimed she had a huge trust fund and used fake documents to obtain loans.

The most notorious victim of Anna’s was Rachel DeLoache Williams, a former Vanity Fair employee and friend of Anna’s. Anna wanted to go on a lavish vacation to Morocco and invited Rachel and other friends along. Unfortunately, Rachel got stuck with bill and couldn’t’ pay it off. Anna spent weeks claiming it’s the banks’ fault, not hers. But Anna didn’t have the money and never intended on repaying Rachel.

As for Simon Leviev, his targets were young women. He pretended to be the son of Lev Leviev, a diamond mogul. Turns out Simon’s real name is Shimon Hayut. According to The Times of Israel, he allegedly conned an estimated $10 million from European women.

He used Tinder to meet up with these women, show off his lavish lifestyle and shower them with gifts. When they finally trust him, he says that he’s in danger and he needs money sent to him immediately. He came up with a scheme for the reasons he couldn’t use his own money or credit cards.

These women would take out large loans to help the man they loved and hoped they would soon get a happily ever after. But after a while, everything goes south.

I’m Invincible

After learning about Anna and Simon, it’s obvious their bad people who can’t feel remorse. So why do some people want to criticize the victim over the scammer?

The invincibles are speaking from their ivory tower. These are the type of people who think nothing like this could ever happen to them. They’re speaking as third-party observers and spend time on social media criticizing people to make themselves feel superior.

But here’s the thing: none of us know what we’d do in this situation until it happens. We wrote about Multi-Level Marketing schemes a few months ago and talked about how people fall for them. Scammers come in all shapes and sizes, from a Russian-German woman in her 20s or an Israeli man trying to find “the one.”

One reason for this dangerous mindset is the fundamental attribution error. According to Simply Psychology, “is the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing situational explanations. In other words, people have a cognitive bias to assume that a person’s actions depend on what “kind” of person that person is rather than on the social and environmental forces that influence the person.”

Basically, it’s easier to believe the victims have a personality flaw instead of admitting that external force (scammers, environment, etc.) are the real problems. We’d like the caution against thinking this way because in our opinion, the more over-confident you are, the more likely you are to be the scammer’s next victim.

The Anna and Simon Stans

The even more concerning victim critics are the people who support Anna and Simon. Are you appalled by this? Go to their Instagram accounts and read some of the comments. Some people think Anna is the Queen. Some women want to date Simon and some men want to be him.

The most obvious reason for this is that people want to lifestyle of the rich and the famous. The Netflix shows depict both the horrors of what these two did and the glamor they experienced. Anna gets to spend her summers in the Hamptons and on Yacht, while Simon goes to a different country every few days. It sounds adventurous and exciting. They eat the fanciest new restaurants and are covered in designer clothes.

Another reason is because people admire Anna and Simon for being “smart” enough to trick so many people. They may be inspired to attempt similar cons, or just enjoying watching them from afar. Either way, we caution feeling admiration toward these kids of people.

How to Spot a Con Artist?

It’s not easy to spot a trained con artist. Many are sociopaths and feel no remorse for their actions. The best piece of advice we can give is go with your gut. If you feel like something or someone is too good to be true, it or they probably are. If you ever question that you’re with or associate with a con artist, ask a trusted friend their opinion. The more people to question something, the better.

While there is no clear guide on what a con artist is and plans on doing, try to stay vigilant. This truly can happen to anyone.

12 thoughts on “The Scam Game: Why Do We Blame the Victim?

  1. This is such an interesting read! I haven’t watched either of these shows yet but Inventing Anna is on my list for once I get Netflix after your post on it a while back. I definitely think that it’s so much easier to be scammed than some people realise – and it’s unbelievable some support this type of behavior. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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