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Counterfeiting, Scams, Social Manipulation

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Counterfeit:

(full article)


To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than the real thing. Counterfeit products are fakes or unauthorized replicas of the real product. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product. The word counterfeit frequently describes both the forgeries of currency and documents, as well as the imitations of items such as clothing, handbags, shoes, pharmaceuticals, aviation and automobile parts, watches, electronics (both parts and finished products), software, works of art, toys, and movies.


Counterfeit Culture


Counterfeit culture is the thriving markets surrounding fake streetwear. Most commonly, these markets originate out of areas where the inability to buy popular streetwear brands has fueled more sophisticated markets for counterfeit goods. These markets have spawned the emergence of a tribe of widely available copycat brands.


In countries like South Korea and Russia where trade sanctions have been imposed historically to monitor and prevent the circulation of popular brands have instead created a demand for readily available counterfeit alternatives. The economic standing of a country or region also contributed to the demand for these products as the average consumer can’t afford luxury prices but will gain the same social impact purchasing a knock-off that’s of almost indistinguishable quality to the original product.


Streetwear is out of reach for many people, not just because of international sanctions and low wages, but because exclusivity is built into it business model. Social and cultural forces are driving the unique fashion scene. In particular, social media has a huge influence on over these markets giving people images of things they can’t own and further fueling the desire to obtains certain “hyped” items by any means accessible.


Designers have even begun to acknowledge the trend of counterfeit culture by referencing fake or knock-off goods in their designs. This brought counterfeit culture into the realm of mainstream culture and has essentially shifted global acceptance towards becoming more lenient of these products as an appropriate alternative.


Counterfeit products tend to have fake company logos and brands (resulting in patent or trademark infringement in the case of goods), have a reputation for being lower quality (sometimes not working at all) and may even include toxic elements such as lead. This has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, due to automobile and aviation accidents, poisoning, or ceasing to take essential compounds (e.g., in the case a person takes non-working medicine).


The counterfeiting of money is usually attacked aggressively by governments worldwide. Paper money is the most popular product counterfeited.




Scams:

(full article)


A confidence trick (synonyms include con, confidence game, confidence scheme, ripoff, scam, and stratagem) is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, used in the classical sense of trust. Confidence tricks exploit characteristics of the human psyche, such as credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, and greed. Researchers Lindsey Huang and Barak Orbach defined the scheme as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men') at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')".


Vulnerability to Confidence Tricks


Confidence tricks exploit typical human characteristics such as greed, dishonesty, vanity, opportunism, lust, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, desperation, and naïvety. As such, there is no consistent profile of a confidence trick victim; the common factor is simply that the victim relies on the good faith of the con artist. Victims of investment scams tend to show an incautious level of greed and gullibility, and many con artists target the elderly, but even alert and educated people may be taken in by other forms of a confidence trick. Researchers Huang and Orbach argue:


   Cons succeed for inducing judgment errors—chiefly, errors arising from imperfect information and cognitive biases. In popular culture and among professional con men, the human vulnerabilities that cons exploit are depicted as ‘dishonesty,’ ‘greed,’ and ‘gullibility’ of the marks. Dishonesty, often represented by the expression ‘you can’t cheat an honest man,’ refers to the willingness of marks to participate in unlawful acts, such as rigged gambling and embezzlement. Greed, the desire to ‘get something for nothing,’ is a shorthand expression of marks’ beliefs that too-good-to-be-true gains are realistic. Gullibility reflects beliefs that marks are ‘suckers’ and ‘fools’ for entering into costly voluntary exchanges. Judicial opinions occasionally echo these sentiments. 


Accomplices, also known as shills, help manipulate the mark into accepting the perpetrator's plan. In a traditional confidence trick, the mark is led to believe that he will be able to win money or some other prize by doing some task. The accomplices may pretend to be strangers who have benefited from performing the task in the past.


see Ponzi Scheme




Social Manipulation:

(full article)
(see Cult of Personality)


Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others through abusive, deceptive, or underhanded tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious, and deceptive.


Social influence is not necessarily negative. For example, people such as friends, family and doctors, can try to persuade to change clearly unhelpful habits and behaviors. Social influence is generally perceived to be harmless when it respects the right of the influenced to accept or reject it, and is not unduly coercive. Depending on the context and motivations, social influence may constitute underhanded manipulation.


Requirements for Successful Manipulation


According to psychology author George K. Simon, successful psychological manipulation primarily involves the manipulator:


1. Concealing aggressive intentions and behaviors and being affable.
2. Knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine which tactics are likely to be the most effective.
3. Having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim if necessary.


Consequently, the manipulation is likely to be accomplished through covert aggressive (relational aggressive or passive aggressive) means.


Vulnerabilities Exploited by Manipulators


According to Braiker's self-help book, manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities (buttons) that may exist in victims:


* the "disease to please"
* addiction to earning the approval and acceptance of others
* Emotophobia (fear of negative emotion; i.e. a fear of expressing anger, frustration or disapproval)
* lack of assertiveness and ability to say no
* blurry sense of identity (with soft personal boundaries)
* low self-reliance
* external locus of control


According to Simon, manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities that may exist in victims:


* naïveté - victim finds it too hard to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious and ruthless or is "in denial" if they are being victimized.
* over-conscientiousness - victim is too willing to give manipulator the benefit of the doubt and see their side of things in which they blame the victim. * low self-confidence - victim is self-doubting, lacking in confidence and assertiveness, likely to go on the defensive too easily.
* over-intellectualization - victim tries too hard to understand and believes the manipulator has some understandable reason to be hurtful.
* emotional dependency - victim has a submissive or dependent personality. The more emotionally dependent the victim is, the more vulnerable they are to being exploited and manipulated.


Manipulators generally take the time to scope out the characteristics and vulnerabilities of their victims.


see Cults


Further Materials:

Film/Video:


Netflix's Documentary on FYRE Festival (must have account to watch :/ )

Dogtooth

Theranos -- Silicon Valley's Greatest Disaster


Readings:


Anna Delvey

Theranos corp.