Discussion about scamming

JoeNinety

New Member
Seriously, who has a personal secretary and cannot spell or put sentences together properly. What an idiot.

Do not underestimate scammers. The poor grammar and bad spelling is used as a means of selectively targeting a demographic. The people who fail to spot the errors and reply are almost always the most vulnerable members of society and the most susceptible to fraud.
 

basenji

Administrator
Staff member
Do not underestimate scammers. The poor grammar and bad spelling is used as a means of selectively targeting a demographic. The people who fail to spot the errors and reply are almost always the most vulnerable members of society and the most susceptible to fraud.

Interesting. So there is no possibility that some scammers actually can't spell and that educated people won't fall for scams?
 

JoeNinety

New Member
Interesting. So there is no possibility that some scammers actually can't spell and that educated people won't fall for scams?
I didn't say there were no exceptions, life would be easier if everything were that black and white, but it never is.

Some scammers can't spell and some educated people fall for scams. But when a scammer spams a million emails he only wants the most vulnerable to respond because everyone responding would be far too time consuming and costly.

Tricking the vulnerable into identifying themselves through tall tales, bad spelling or poor grammar is a devious trick. To scoff at this technique or to dismiss it entirely is only going to help the scammers by underestimating them and you don't want that, do you?
 

basenji

Administrator
Staff member
Do not underestimate scammers. The poor grammar and bad spelling is used as a means of selectively targeting a demographic. The people who fail to spot the errors and reply are almost always the most vulnerable members of society and the most susceptible to fraud.

Let's get this straight, mate. I'm not underestimating anyone and I'm not scoffing at any technique: I'm just curious about the logic behind it. Why bother writing emails full of poor grammar and bad spelling if the demographic as you call them fail to spot the errors?
 

Ben

Member
Interesting concept JN but look at Russian Romance scammers and a similar thing works in their favour.
You ask RU scammers to send a picture with a newspaper with the date visible and they will reply "I don't understand what you ask"
In my humble opinion bad grammar will work for Nigerians as you suggest but its not something they consciously do.
 

De Master Yoda

Emeritus
Gentlemen lets not allow this to escalate into a potential flame war.

While it is possible for some scammers to do this, lets not forget that for many scammers English is not their first language, and so quite a lot are simply not capable of making a "script' that is in correct English, this is why some buy already prepared scripts to use.


I can see this discussion leading nowhere, as there are so many variables that could be involved.

I would ask that the matter be dropped. Thank you
 

JoeNinety

New Member
I didn't mean to start any kind of flame war and I apologise if my response seemed "short". There are countless different frauds and numerous different variables, so no one rule will cover all scenarios. But generally speaking the tall tales, bad grammar and the playing dumb is intentional (or purposefully left unaddressed) when coupled with spam.

The cost involved in spamming generic emails is negligible. This allows scammers to target very large numbers without cost. In fact they target more people than they could ever respond to if each potential victim replied believing that the scam offer was genuine.

By making the scam offer seem unbelievable to the majority of the population, the scammer eliminates the people most unlikely to fall for the scam. These naysayers spot the errors or recognise that nobody will give them half a lost Nigerian fortune and they will delete the email without replying. The scammer wastes no further time on this demographic as it would be like trying to get blood out of a stone.

Instead, only the people who miss the errors or want to believe in the unbelievable will reply. In doing so they identify themselves as gullible and most likely to fall for the fraud. The scammer then focuses their time and efforts on this small percentage, where their chances of a payout are significantly improved.

It's exactly the same logic as going up to every woman in the bar and asking for a dance immediately. You don't waste any time chatting up the women who aren't interested, meaning you can ask every woman in the bar and focus your efforts only on the woman who shows interest from the outset.

There are numerous studies into this and I've linked to the most notable freely available study below. I'm also happy to answer any further questions on the subject as I work in counter-fraud for a living.

http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/t...ntionally-write-lousy-emails-heres-why-837902
http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/167719/WhyFromNigeria.pdf
 

Ben

Member
Its hypothesis Joe,I've clicked and read a bit but someone/s theory of the subject is not proof.
Pages were written about love scams and the psychology involved and I was banned from the biggest anti scam site on the web because for some odd reason my net posting was seen as a flame war when it was intended as a discussion.
It is a pity that bad grammar and poor English can work in a scammers favour, lord knows they don't deserve the luck, but what ever you want to call it that's what it is.
 

Ben

Member
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigerian_scam
Spelling and grammar errors:
Scam emails originating from non-native speakers of a language usually contain numerous spelling and grammar errors. This is often the result of scam operators using widely available internet translation programs that do not accurately translate syntax and grammar. This phenomenon has been widely parodied as an obvious indication of fraudulent intent. Cormac Herley of Microsoft Research suggests that spelling and grammar errors are intentional to filter out intelligent recipients and increase the likelihood of a success.
[citation needed]
 

JoeNinety

New Member
Yes it is a hypothesis, but it's a hypothesis that is commonly accepted by my peers within the field. By all means I welcome you to discuss, research and disprove the theory if you can, but if you cannot do that then the best course of action is to accept the theory as the fullest explanation we have and adapt accordingly.

I grant that scammers could have stumbled across the technique by fluke, but irrespective of origin, there is enough evidence to prove it is now being done intentionally.

The spelling and grammar often improves as a fraud approaches a payday. We know from first hand statements that this is attributable to the victim being passed up the ladder towards the gang leaders to "close the deal". The English skills of the scammer improve with every rung of the ladder until the gang leader, often possessing impeccable English, is reached.

First hand evidence also shows that the gang leaders originate the misspelt and/or preposterous email templates. So why, when they are capable of producing a perfectly drafted scam email, do they not do so?

The suggestion that they are incapable has been disproved and the idea that they are simply too lazy when they have the time to write 1000s of well drafted emails and control a gang of 20+ individuals to perpetrate organised crime, is quite frankly laughable. All it would require is an automatic spell checker and a couple of minutes patience.

It is done to improve the scammers’ success rate by tricking people into identifying themselves as gullible targets and to add a layer of deniability if they are ever accused of being involved in the fraud. With the latter the gang leaders "prove" their innocence by claiming that the English used is uncharacteristically poor, before pointing to one of the lesser gang members to take the blame.

I know it's nice to think that scammers are lazy and stupid, but the reality is a lot of them are devious, rich on their ill-gotten gains and should never be underestimated.
 

JoeNinety

New Member
I apologised for being "short" and stated that it was not my intention to commence a flame war.
I assure you that I won't ever post if I think it's counter-productive, but I'm not going to request that a thread is closed when I feel that the post and subject will lead to a productive discussion.

Of course if the mods want the topic closed, I'll happily abide by their decision. I'm not here to cause trouble, I just want to help people.
 

Garreg Ddu

Gweinyddwr
Staff member
Thread locked as requested by De Master Yoda, pending Admin Team review.

Thank you to all members for your patience while the Admins work on it.

Garreg Ddu
 

Kat

Administrator
Staff member
Scammers have bad grammar and poor spelling because they can't do anything different. It's not a clever ruse. They have crappy grammar. End of discussion as far as I'm concerned.

They don't use poor French grammar and spelling as a ruse, it's because they can't work in French either.

Consider Daniel Berner: http://antifraudintl.org/showthread.php?62412

if they are ever accused of being involved in the fraud.
And we flipping accuse them: http://antifraudintl.org/forumdisplay.php?11
 

Miyuki

Administratrix
Staff member
Scammers are intelligent? I want to see the proof. They haven't come up with anything new since the lawyer fake check scam and that has been around for years.
 
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