person holding white mobile phone
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on September 26, 2022 and last updated on February 4, 2023

Scams are a lot more common than you might think. Most people don’t report being scammed because they’re embarrassed or don’t want to report it, so the number of victims could be even higher.

But why do people fall for scams at all? It’s not always because they’re stupid or gullible. Scammers know how to manipulate people emotionally and psychologically to get them to part with their money, and they use tactics like playing on your hopes or fears, making you feel like you owe them something, or saying things that seem like facts but aren’t.

Some people fall for scams because they don’t know how to spot them. But if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • scam (noun)
  • fall for something (phrasal verb)
  • manipulate (verb)
  • spot (verb)
  • play on (phrasal verb)
  • emotionally (adverb)
  • generally (adverb)

Conversation Questions

  • Have you ever fallen or nearly fallen for a scam?
  • Do you receive a lot of emails from scammers?
  • What would you do if you knew someone was trying to scam you?
  • Can you think of a common scam people fall for?
  • Why do you think some people don't report being scammed?
  • Who would you say are most vulnerable to being scammed?
  • Do you know anyone who has fallen for a scam?
  • What do you think should happen to a scammer if they are caught?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.