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Fact-checking Tips: 4 Common Messaging Techniques Used By Scammers

4 Common Messaging Techniques Used By Scammers

Scam artists and fake news spreaders rely heavily on uncertainty and human vulnerability. That is why a major crisis will act as a catalyst to multiply the threats. Of course, they are constantly evolving with innovative methods and tools.

The followings are samples of the messaging techniques scammers often use:

1. YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE!

The scammers will address you directly. They want you to think that you are special, that you are the ONLY one being contacted, that you are the only one reading the message. It’s a little secret between you and the sender. Think of the many e-mails you received from a dying price leaving you a multi-million dollar fortune – how many iPhones you have been selected to win – how many times you got an SMS or email saying “You’ve been selected for your dream job,”

4 Common Messaging Techniques Used By Scammers

2. YOU ARE THE VICTIM! THE GOVERNMENT, MEDIA, SCIENCE, AND EVERYONE IS LYING TO YOU! WE HAVE INVENTED A PRODUCT TO PROTECT YOU

The key to a successful scam is building “you are the victimnarrative. To do that, they have to deliver a complicated story. It doesn’t have to be a good story, as long as it’s emotional, placing you a victim of the corrupted system. Quoting fake or alternative scientists with the aim to sell you a service or a product to protect you from this nonexistent threat.

Think of absurd scientific claims, or outlandish “inside stories” backed up by obscure so-called specialists or fake scientists.

3. SHOCKING NEWS AND URGENT ACTION REQUIRED

With ongoing awareness and debunking campaigns, we’ve become pretty immune to most types of content, so the scammers rely on something shocking or revolting to get our attention with a sense of urgency: Think of how many emails you have received from your bank with “Your account will be deleted if you don’t act right away.” – Your Netflix bill or other payment didn’t go through- unusual activity on your account that requires your immediate actions – “Act now to get rich” and “Act now to prevent a tragedy”etc.

4. AN EMOTIONAL STORY WILL ALWAYS SELL BETTER

Whether it’s fear, hate, love, greed, disgust, or any other emotion, scammers are desperate to draw an emotional strong responses from you, because emotions can cloud your judgment and prompt hasty decisions.

What’s your first reaction when someone tells you over the phone a loved one had an accident, and you must transfer money? What’s your reaction when an email from the bank informs you to log in quickly or you’ll lose your account?

Similarly, how do you react when you read an article about an injustice? Or a presumed atrocity? Or about a scandalous quote from a politician? Think about all the family drama surrounding Nigerian princes, or the sad stories from Syria or Ukraine for donation scams.


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