Equivocation and Manipulation Awareness Training

Register for Simulation

Introduction to Equivocation and Manipulation scams

The growth in use of the internet has allowed millions of people to have daily access to masses of information on products available online. Internet users view hundreds of advertisements or commercial communications from sellers on a weekly basis, who mostly use legitimate sales tactics. 

However, some use manipulative psychological techniques to convince consumers to take action.

Description and consequences of Equivocation and Manipulation scams

We know that some advertisements appeal to our emotions and our identities to influence our buying behavior. 

These activities can capture subconscious reactions from consumers, which is why some corporate brands hire marketing psychologists or neuromarketing experts to increase their revenue. 

The line is thin between legitimate psychological techniques that target consumers' drives and manipulative techniques that instead influence them in an equivocal way. 

These illegal manipulative techniques can be recognized by:

  1. Omissions of general product information.
  2. Manipulation of information content.
  3. Manipulation in the presentation of information.

And here are some examples to better understand the techniques used by online merchants:

  • Vague information on price, taxes and shipping costs.
  • Unclear information on the final selling price of the product.
  • Ambiguous information on refunds or return policies.

Furthermore, many of these techniques are based on the omissions of comments or negative characteristics of the product itself, or they use images that do not correspond to what the consumer will actually buy.

The consumer may be induced by this ambiguous or missing information to purchase a product that is not the one desired.

Why we fall for Equivocation and Manipulation scams

85% of people who buy products online are unaware of misleading information. And the tendency to trust and believe that all the information shown online on certain types of products is true does not lead the consumer to question whether or not to make a purchase.

Prevention (how to not fall for Equivocation and Manipulation)


Have you ever wondered if the characteristics of a product shown online are always complete and correct? Do you know how to avoid incorrect product descriptions?

It is not always easy to find your way around buying products online, here we give you some tips to make your experience on the web safer.

  1. Always check that the refund and return policies are present and well described
  2. Check that all information relating to the product such as price, features, use, and pictures are well listed.
  3. Be aware of products that have no negative comments or opinions, they may have been omitted.
  4. Make sure that the price shown corresponds to the total to be paid to make the purchase and that no other additional hidden costs are added to it.
  5. If this is the first time you purchase on a site, check the terms and conditions of the site fully, which must be well specified and well highlighted.

In summary we suggest you:

  1. Be wary of e-commerce sites that omit terms and conditions, returns and refund policies
  2. Be aware of misleading product descriptions and imagery
  3. Consider a lack of negative reviews as potentially suspicious
  4. Make sure that online merchants are easily contactable through the website itself or customer care numbers


Now you know more about the manipulative tactics used by e-commerce store owners and marketers you’ll will be able to distinguish between the various offers available online, and you can avoid nasty surprises when buying.

Register for Simulation