How is Affinity Fraud Accomplished?
Typically a fraudster embodies or personifies ideals held by the group to be very advantageous. In some situations this could be a member of poor community that shows outward signs of success, such as rolling into the community in a Bentley, or an older individual that boasts great success in their “multi-million dollar” portfolio to a group of senior citizens.
According to Perri and Brody (authors of article referenced below), an individual (the fraudster) uses projection bias- a psychological defense mechanism for reducing personal anxiety to transfer his or her attributes to other people in a set of circumstances. Dr. Sigmund Freud developed the concept of psychological projection- the tendency to assume that others share our similar values, beliefs, or thoughts (this is what the victims do). This creates a perfect coupling for affinity fraud.
In the presence of an authoritative figure, and coupled with the absence of thorough research and vetting procedures, individuals and groups of people can be taken advantage of by fraudsters of this kind who typically demonstrate “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others”, according to Perri and Brody.