Scammers Are Very Clever And Precise In Their Use Of Personal Language & Persuasion
Using The Power Of Persuasion To Groom Scam Victims
It seems strange to think of scammers using precise language when their grammar is so bad, but grammar aside, their use of pronouns and endearments, and other persuasive techniques are designed to set up victims for the scam
Persuasion techniques in telemarketing & sales focus on one key goal — convincing a prospect customer to adopt a new attitude and change their mind toward an idea and buy something. In scamming it is exactly the same thing; to change the attitude of a prospect victim and lead them into sharing more and more information about themselves! When victims share information about themselves they will naturally reduce their defensiveness and skepticism. This gives the scammer the way in the door!
And this isn’t something that involves slick, underhanded manipulation. The language does not even have to be good. It is just about following proven telemarketing persuasion techniques that work on almost everyone. It’s just tapping into some basic psychological principles that have been scientifically proven to get results.
Here are some telemarketing persuasion techniques that scammers employ to build instant rapport with prospect scam victims and set the stage for massive conversions. These then become one of the basis that scammers use to Groom Victims and set them up for the “Hook.”
Scamming is not always about getting money from a victim! In some cases, it is persuading a victim to be a Mule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes. for the scammer or perform other tasks the scammer needs to be done! However, the same techniques apply regardless of the ultimate goal of the scammer.
Persuasion Techniques 101:
Make It All About The Victim
One of the main areas where sales reps go wrong is making the focus on their company rather than the customer. The same is true with the victims – start by making the conversations about the victims – limit the information about the scammer’s story script (at least until later.) Giving just enough information to hold the victim’s interest, but keep them talking about themself!
“Good groomers talk about the target: their problems, their values, and their plans and desires.”
This is the type of mindset development that scammers use with their interactions with prospective victims.
Through in-depth research, American educator and economist, George Lowenstein, discovered that piquing a person’s curiosity is a potent way to grab their attention and motivate them to want to learn more.
He summarized this concept as “information-gap theory,” and it’s one of the best persuasion techniques salespeople and scammers can use to create a dialogue.
It simply boils down to raising a target’s curiosity, which is something that can be done in a few different ways:
- Asking a provocative question (What’s getting in the way of you doing something or from being happy?)
- Offering a provocative tidbit of information (“I am fighting in a war zone as a doctor saving babies for the United Nations”)
- Providing just some, but not all of the information about the scammer (“I can’t really talk about a lot of it, we don’t really know each other yet.”)
- Offer Social Proof (Just enough proof to confirm a small amount of the story, but let the victim fill in the rest in their own mind.)
This is one of Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion, and is hands down one of the best ways to get people over “the persuasion hump.” And it’s dead accurate.
Scammers typically have several types of social proof on standby, such as documents, supporting actors (co-scammers), and more. But they use it very sparingly – too much proof is a dead give-away that it is a scam. The trick is always to let the victim to make assumptions and fill in the gaps!
Another of Cialdini’s principles is the principle of liking. Scammers need to be likable or they fail immediately.
If a scammer can get a victim to legitimately like them on a personal level that transcends them being strangers, the odds of capturing or hooking the victim skyrocket.
According to a study involving MBA students, one of the easiest ways to become more likable is simply exchanging personal information to establish some initial rapport.
More specifically, it discovered that 90% of students that did this experienced successful outcomes that were worth 18% more than not exchanging personal information.
The same is true for scammers. Much of what scammers rely on are telemarketing techniques adapted for their use in fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.
A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.. This is partly based upon “Stranger Trust” but goes far beyond it.
Create Goodwill Through Reciprocity
There’s also reciprocity, which takes an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” approach. We have talked about this previously here.
“Simply put, people feel obliged to give back to others the form of a behavior