|Anatomy of a Scam
Scammers have many methods for persuading victims to hand over their
hard earned money. Here is a list of some of those methods.
The first line of attack is an exaggerated promise or sales pitch that goes
Work at home!!
Huge Money Online!!
Make a fortune doing ____!!
Buy ________ for pennies on the dollar and resell for $$!
Note the tacky use of punctuation and dollar signs.
Initially the mark is skeptical yet is intrigued by what the scammer is
promising him, so he keeps reading or watching to feed his curiosity. He is
thinking "This may be too good to be true, but perhaps there is some validity,
and if I keep watching I'll learn more". However, the mark is still skeptical.
But to convince the mark, the scammer deploys the next weapon in his
arsenal- the shill testimonials.
A shill testimonial can consist of any testimonial not written or expressed by
an actual satisfied customer. The purpose of the shill testimonial is to create
a heard mentality where the mark is allured by the success of another
participant. The mark sees the shill and thinks "After all, if it worked for him it
must work for me too! Maybe I should give __________ program a try."
Here is an example of how a shill testimonial may sound:
"Wow this is awesome! After using Don's Instant Money Making Secrets
I was able to quit my day job and spend more time with friends and family! I
highly recommend Don's system to anyone wanting to escape the rat race."
Of course, it may be impossible to differentiate shill testimonials from real
testimonials. Scammers have several methods to ensure their testimonials
sound legit. For example, fraudulent infomercial marketers will often hire
actors to recite the testimonials .
Hype type is very common in online sales letters, but it is also seen on
infomercials where it is called 'hype speak'. It consists of big bold font in
dazzling bight colors with other special effects. The purpose of hype type is
to obfuscate rational judgement.
Here is an example of what hype type looks like on an online sales letter:
"Make HUGE money at home taking paid
"Learn how Don went from being dirt poor
to earning over $25,000 in a single month!"
When people read these headlines they envision effortless wealth and
cashing fat paychecks. Instead of questioning the legitimacy of the offer in
the first place, irrational daydreams take over. The mark falls for the hype
and hands his money over to the scammer. Eventually the rational side
takes over...but it is too late. The mark has already handed his money over to
the scammer and has become a victim.
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