The Language of Scams
Have you spent some time web surfing this week? If so, have you come across any websites that appear to be easy answers to your financial dreams? In addition, have you checked the junk folder of your particular e-mail account lately? If so, have you noticed that there’s a horde of money waiting for you – for doing very little for someone you’ve never met before?
Welcome to the world of fraud, scams, swindles and variations thereof! Your payment will undergo processing shortly. Internet fraud is a phenomenon that’s certainly increasing with a ferocity in these troubled economic times. The modus operandi of these operators is smooth sounding, official looking communication directed personally to you.
The language of scams is an art in itself. There’s no denying that those who prey on innocent Web surfers are tailoring their messages to appeal to the emotions and sense of duty of decent people. They typically send messages describing some tragedy or illness that’s befallen them or a loved one. They proceed to present a way in which you can help them (and yourself) and it always involves money.
It often sounds like a good deal, but good deals from someone you don’t know should raise a red flag. In addition, schemes exist where what you really are participating in is a money-laundering venture. That’s illegal and can net you criminal charges.
The most prominent scams on the Net are the e-mail scams. The language of these scams is often fraught with disjointed, broken English of dubious spelling. Three common e-mail scams are Lottery Scams, Foreign Country Scams, Loan/Investment Scams, although many other scams exist as well.
The Lottery Scam
Lottery scams are a strange animal. In essence, they notify you that you’re a winner of an exorbitant sum of money. The thing is, you don’t remember buying a ticket, you don’t have a ticket, and you don’t know what they’re basing your win on. The reason you don’t remember buying a ticket is that you never did. However, if you send money to the “lottery institution” to process your winnings, you will receive…well, I don’t know, I’m still waiting to receive what I’m supposed to receive.
The language of a lottery scam is often very official sounding. Usually fiduciary agent Mr. /Mrs. / Ms. Barrister Such and Such is waiting for your response. They usually represent an institution with a name like “The General International E-Lottery National Association Sweepstakes of “Fill in a Country’s Name.”
Loved One Scams
Before I explain this scam I wish to inform you that a beloved relative with a large estate of money has entrusted me as their fiduciary to contact you on the estate’s behalf…Um, sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself, back to the article.
With Foreign Country scams, tapping into an e-mail recipient’s emotions are the order of the day. With flowery quasi-legal language, these swindlers ask you to receive a sizeable portion of estate funds to utilize the money in the way that the ill, sick, dead, dying, not-feeling-very-well loved one desires. To receive this money you need only contact the e-mailer and send money for legal/insurance/processing before they will send you anything.
It’s strange that I never received those estate funds in return. It must have been a miraculous recovery for the loved one. I guess they’ll need the estate funds to get on with their life.
The Loan Offer
This is akin to the Loved One Scam. Here, a “financial institution” with a name along the lines of “General Investment Loan Fund International Global Venture Capital Institution” has money to offer you at low interest rates. Either that or they have a splendid investment opportunity waiting just for you. The official sounding financial and legal words are to gain your trust so you view them as a revered financial institution.
However, you’ll end up needing a bailout from your own loved ones should you send your money to these fraudsters. With the loan or investment offer, they ask for money upfront before you can receive the loan, or information on the great investment. Of course, the loan never comes, there is no investment vehicle, and you will never find these people.
Internet Marketing Scams
Along with e-mail scams are the Internet Get-Rich Quick Scams from so-called Internet gurus. Now, don’t get me wrong, legitimate internet marketing and affiliate marketing programs exist, run by reputable people and enterprises. However, I’m talking about the hucksters who promise to make you wealthy if you will only pay for their one-of-a-kind “system.”
The problem is, with many of them there’s no system to their system. They are rehashing basic generic information you can find in high-school business textbooks or on the Web free. They are just repackaging this into flashy videos, DVD’s, podcasts, articles, books, CDs, and selling them via their websites and blogs.
The thing is they’re using hyped copywriting language designed to get you to take action and “buy now.” These so-called gurus try, with their spiels, to make you feel like you’re missing out on something big if you don’t order their system. It’s their “Secret System” that they’re only offering to every living inhabitant on the planet. It’s no secret that very few if any of these people are making internet millions from their system.
Tips to Avoid Being Scammed
Avoiding being a victim of a scam is easy if you follow these important points:
Never send money, or give credit card information or online account details to someone you don’t know who contacts you by email and asks for money. You know whom you know and trust – so leave it at that.
Delete Spam e-mails. Don’t waste your time even opening them.
Be extremely wary of any job, loan, investment or any other offer that requires you to pay upfront fees.
Don’t give personal or financial information in response to emails that look like they’re coming from your bank or any other financial institution. These are fake institutions/individuals trying to secure your private information. Do you really think the bank you deal with is going to send a junk e-mail to you?
Words, words, words have immense power. The language of scams is as powerful and captivating to some people as a great literary work is to someone else. Be careful of the language you read on websites and in e-mails sent to you. Behind that official sounding, dignified, professional sounding language may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Remember the old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”