A guy who literally wrote the book on gullibility lost a bunch of money by investing with Bernie Madoff. Here is his story.
He lists a lot of reasons for why people are gullible. He omits the most-important one: Ignorance of psychopathy and sociopathy. Most people are still reeling, "How, Bernie, how?" Indeed, the author of the book on gullibility has a Ph.D. in psychology, yet he writes:
So should one feel pity or blame towards those who were insufficiently skeptical about Madoff and his scheme? A problem here is that the lie perpetrated by Madoff was not all that obvious or easy to recognize (in fact, it is very likely that Madoff’s operation was legitimate initially but took the Ponzi route when he began to suffer losses that he was too proud to acknowledge).
No. Bullshit. Madoff was a psychopath. Look at him, even now. He smiles before the camera. He feels no remorse or grief. He was going to give away the remaining $300,000,000 he had in his fund to his children!
Just because a guy has a nice smile, good credit report, and a long line of references does not mean he won't slice your throat for his own amusement. Often, it's people who seem too good who we should watch our backs around.
People have zits. Show me someone who doesn't, and I'll know that Photoshopping has been done.
Before trusting someone, I need to know: What is wrong with him? If I can't point to anything, then I immediately avoid that person. Or, when I must deal with that person, I use appropriate manipulative tactics (which I would never otherwise use on a good person).