7. Similar Ploys Can Involve Monkeys Or Magic
You might think that anyone who would fall for a Nigerian prince scam is a complete dunce. However, there are some scams out there that are even more outrageous. In one scam, the con artists offered capuchin monkeys, directly from Africa, for the low, low rate of only $600 per monkey. Of course, the promised monkeys never did arrive. In another scam, the con artist claimed that orcs – the fantastical, evil creatures from The Lord of the Rings – had killed her father, and she needed a bank account to deposit $25 million in gold. Another one offered magical services for a small fee (and for a limited time only).
As it turns out, people aren’t nearly as smart as they think that they are. We don’t make decisions based on something’s actual value but rather based on the emotional importance that we attach to it. We want to save the capuchin monkeys, so we are more than willing to send $600 to get our very own. And even after we realize that the thing might not be worth the money that we are pouring into it, we continue to throw the money away because we are buying feelings, not an object. This is known as the sunk-cost cognitive bias.