20170529 The power of auto-suggestion

I could go on for hours, days even, about how easy it is to use various techniques to manipulate the thoughts of a person who is targeted as a vehicle for financial crime. Hell, I do go on for hours, days even, about it when people pay me to present seminars that show them how their companies can avoid being a victim of such offences. But some of the most fun lessons are found when I, me, the one who knows, understands and communicates this stuff, falls victim...

OK, so that teaser is click-bait. Kind of.

But it's also because this story is so short that I really needed to pad it out so it was worth creating an article.

Victim, yes. Of my own thought processes and yes, it is auto-suggestion so the principle is exactly the same as if I had been programmed by someone using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) but I did it to myself.

This morning I was watching one of the UK TV News channels where there was a review of the newspapers. As the page the pundits were talking about popped up, there was, almost out of shot in the bottom corner, a headline that Aviva was the victim of tens of millions of false claims. Part of my brain was already thinking about having to deal with customer (dis)service at an online shopping platform and when I saw "Aviva" two things came to mind: first to find out more about the fraud and secondly to try to discover if the number was in any way, positive or negative, relevant to Aviva's vaunted call centre policies which are diametrically opposed to the rest of the world and actively encourage interaction between staff and customers.

Therefore, when I came to my desk, a few minutes later, there were two things foremost in my mind.

So far, so good. Then I saw a note on my screen about a contact. I read Tel Aviva Rea.

Who is Rea, why am I to phone her and why is that message spookily on my screen, I wondered.

Go on: you work out where I was wrong, and why.