The Emotional Experience of Pursuing Frauds

I have been pursuing frauds for the last several years. I love it. However, it can be emotionally taxing to work on this kind of project.

First, the entire time you are researching a fraud you feel special. It feels as though you have chanced upon forbidden knowledge, and that feeling is compelling. It can easily become a driving force behind the investigation, as you continue to gain insights into how it is structured or what role it serves. You must be cautious with this feeling. It can easily lead to over-confidence, over-reliance on pattern matching, and generally losing sight of the big picture. I have personally felt myself start to lean too far into this and start to lose sight of the big picture.

Second, there are moments of great despair. Moments where it feels as though you have lost the thread and you no longer understand what is going on. This can be frustration with the status quo as you watch the scam continue, or it can manifest as self-doubt as you worry that you have read too far into certain signs. This feeling can threaten to derail you, and often resulted in periods where I lacked the emotional wherewithal to continue.

Third, there are frequent attacks. Generally when you are investigating frauds there are people who are incentivized for that fraud to continue. These people are very willing to question your intelligence, your honesty, your credentials, your weight, any target that they can find. This makes the process of publicly documenting your results difficult and often painful. It is incredibly valuable to keep a sense of humor, otherwise the contact attacks begin to drain you. Even with a sense of humor they will drain you, but it aids you in keeping people open to hearing the story.

Fourth, there are incredible friends to be made. The people who are drawn towards investigating these frauds and scams are generally honest people who want the world to be a better place. They are kind-hearted, and as I much mentioned above often have a great sense of humor.

Finally, there are moments when you have been working on a theory, and documenting all of the different connections, and you see them starting to point a certain way. Then finally you get the last piece of information, the one that clicks all of the above pieces into a coherent shape. This moment is euphoric. It is the moment of discovery, the moment of vindication, the moment of self-satisfaction. I highly recommend this feeling.

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