Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scam Tactics: How Do Scammers Identify What You Need?

How does a conman pick up on what does the victim needs, and thus, tailor the scam to fit?  There are five different techniques. If you are aware of these techniques, then you can watch out for when they are used on you.  Let MLMSkeptic explain the five techniques.

The techniques are:

1) Pre-screening

2) Probing questions

3) The tease

4) The Please

5) Trial Close / Seize


Your identity is known on the internet. Somebody out there has a profile on you, more than one if you have used multiple names and/or multiple identities. Credit agencies definitely have one on you (and there are several of them). If you're a professional you have professional profiles somewhere. And those can be accessed. That's just your public profile.

Then there's your "hidden profile". Your behavior online is part of your profile. If you give out your name and email address at capture pages that goes into a profile somewhere, and shady businesses will share that info (even if they promise never to do so) with other shady businesses and that's a part of your profile.

If you ever applied for a loan you will get solicitations for loan offers for MONTHS. They shared your info. And they're legit. Imagine what the ILLEGITIMATE scammers and conman will do...

If you ever asked for more info on suspicious "make money fast" type schemes, or clicked on teaser videos that says "sign up for my ____ for more info" and entered your email for "more info", your name is now on a "sucker list" to be marketed with more **** in a similar genre, because you have shown a preference for such topics. 

Scammers (and legitimate salespeople) pay $$$ to buy leads that may be interested in such things, and the lead list is pre-screened for people who are at least interested to whatever s/he's trying to sell. As the joke goes, you don't sell ice to Eskimos or sand to Arabs. By pre-screening the prospects, conversion is much easier.

The prospect generally doesn't see this step, as it's done long before the scammer meets the prospect. To counter this, simply don't be surprised when you got invited / solicited for sales pitch which seems to be exactly what you want. People already "know" you.

Probing Questions

Probing questions are pretty easy... Ask them what *do* they want. Due to pre-screening, you already have a decent idea on WHAT they want. However, there can be a little distance between what they say they want, vs. what they will settle for now. And asking questions will clarify that. 

If the presentation is pretty much a monologue, then the salesperson will be asking rhetorical questions, like "Are you looking for financial security in an insecure world?" "Are you looking toward better health?" then answer them him- or herself, "the answer is ________!"    And scammer will watch the reactions and see if s/he needs to change the speech. 

The salesperson will almost always frame the question so the answer is "yes". By answering things in the affirmative, prospect will have influenced him- or herself to answer "yes" later. 

The prospect should remain neutral for this part, not only to deny the presenter any clues on how to proceed, but to remain neutral mentally rather than "psyched up", in order to evaluate facts rather than emotions.

The Tease

The tease require a bit of mystery, and a commitment from the prospect to find out more. A "capture page" where the prospect watch a video and enter their info is such a tease if there's no details. The idea is to pique your interest, without telling you much. 

Tease works on relatively naive people who are not used to the various sales techniques, but not on veterans. Veterans will simply demand the information they need to make the decision, and will not waste time waiting for your "big reveal". 

The prospect should again, remain neutral when confronted with the tease. You are after facts, not teases with no solid info.

The Please

After the tease, where your interest had been piqued, the salesperson then goes for the "please", where they attempt to describe (even altering the script if needed) their product or service as absolutely PERFECT for your needs. If they have done their homework, they should be able to explain why it's perfect without you saying a word. And how it will benefit you and be absolutely worth every penny (and much more) you will pay for it.  (And it'll be discounted, just today!)

This is where they will strive to answer the questions you *may* have, even before you asked them. However, they'll do so in a rapid fire manner similar to the "Gish Gallop", to overwhelm you with information, "good" information, and gloss over any bad ones. They don't really want you to ask questions, but rather, let their own shills ask the questions. This may appear to be spontaneous, but is in fact, highly scripted.

Once they are sure you've been sufficiently pleased, it's time for the "seize", where they get you to commit to the sales.

The prospect should take notes on the points offered (both positive and negative) for fact checking later. Again, you need facts, or at least talking points.

The "Trial Close", i.e. "Seize"

The "trial close" is where they try to nail you down on the exact terms you will accept. This is best shown in a car sales showroom. The salesman is going back and forth with a customer, like

"how much can you afford per month?"

"I think I can swing about $300."

"If you will pay only $300 a month for this car, will you buy it today?"

That is the "trial close", where they "probe" you for whether you will accept those terms and close the deal. They want to "seize" you for the final step: Squeeze you for the money.

Prospect should again, refuse to commit to anything. Claim you need to talk it over with your wife / partner, you need to consider it with your advisor, esp. If they start to mumble "offer only available today", walk out. High pressure sales tactics are to be avoided.


I hope you have understood the five tactics sales people (and scammers) identify what you need, and how they appear to have exactly what you need. I've offered you some suggestions on how to counter such tactics. I hope they are of some help to you to avoid such. 
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