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Fraudster Uncle Screwtape Teaches Typing

Fraudster Screwtape was well versed in many different scams. He had reached a pinnacle of deception that few scammers had ever seen. Taking his nephew Wormwood under his wing, they would exchange letters on how best to defraud the unsuspecting people they called 'patients'. In one such letter, Uncle Screwtape speaks to Wormwood about how best to type the scams out in emails to those susceptible to partaking in the schemes. While satirical, this letter uses real quotes from scam emails (you may even have some of them if you check out your spam folder).

My dear Wormwood,

It has occurred to me that I have not discussed with you the ins and outs of email communication with our patients. If our kind hope to make an impact (or more of an impact), we have to be consistent in our approach. There are many vulnerable patients out there and the best way to start a scam with them may be counterintuitive to an inspiring mind such as yourself.

You might think, and rightfully so, that straightforward and error-free communication is the way to go. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. The problem with creating fraudulent scam emails that appear authentic is that it pulls the wrong people in. Those people will eventually weed out the scam. They will question it, wasting our time and exposing us for what we are. No, these communications need to be flawed. They need to have typos and not make sense at times.

Those engaging in the flawed email communication are the ones we want. If they can't identify the scam at that point, they have a better likelihood of going the full distance, resulting in our payout. Don't try to be perfect with your emails; be imperfect.

Shift some things around in the email. Make it so people can understand it, but make it confusing as well. Switch commas and periods or take them out altogether. And don't hesitate to use CAPITALIZATION to capture the reader.

If you are targeting Americans for your scam, be sure to include US or USD before/after every amount mentioned. Why, you may ask? It makes it look more legitimate to some people and puts the American at ease that it is in US dollars. This, however, only applies to the Americans who realize there is more than one dollar in the world. Many will think to themselves, "of course it is in USD. What else is there? Ye-haw, I could really go for a cheeseburger or cowboy boots right about now."

Wormwood, you also need to consider the length of your email. Short emails can prove useful at times, especially if you expect exchanging more correspondence later on. It can entice the reader, who is looking for more information. Observe the following email (in full):

"FYI: We have in custody an inheritance linked to your names. contact Mrs. S. Tenreyro with your full names for claims."

Notice here the various punctuation issues I've pointed out earlier. There are also grammatical errors. Such a simple email like this will only ask for a name. On an inheritance scam, that is a great thing to start with. A patient responds with "Smith" and we respond that the deceased relative providing the inheritance is also named "Smith." Further correspondence can take place from there.

Longer emails have value too. It isn't like we have to write each one individually. Once completed, you can save it as a template to send out to everyone. Anyway, a long email can assist in explaining some of the more complicated or shady schemes. Something like an inheritance scam is straightforward and largely innocent, at least for the patient. Some scams are made for less innocent individuals, focusing on their greed more than their gullibility. For those, we want more details. And be sure to include monetary amounts. Consider these excerpts from a foreign partner scam:

"I need your help to transfer a sum of US$12,500,000 into your account as my foreign partner. The fund is part of the profits made by our bank over the past 4 years in the branch where I am the manager..."
"I offer you 50% of this funds as my foreign partner and 50% will be for me. There is no risk because it will be a bank transfer. So I want you to stand as the owner of the funds so that you can represent a foreign bank account where the funds can be transferred to you as my foreign partner..."

The length of this type of email weeds out potential patients with a conscience. The scam itself is essentially to defraud a bank. Ironically, the scam patient is going to be the one to lose money (or be used as a mule). Wormwood, there is a range of victimhood with those we scam. The innocent and lonely widow we convince of love is far different than the greedy slug willing and ready to participate in bank fraud.

One last point on the topic of email communication. Sometimes creating an overly complex scenario with lots of names, entities, or terms is the way to go. Patients often don't want to feel stupid, so they go with it. Here is an example [though this scam's name eludes me as it seems to be a little bit of everything...perhaps we could call it a Scam Buffet Scam]:

"This is to intimate you of a very important information which will be of a great help to redeem you from all the difficulties you have been experiencing in getting your long overdue payment due to excessive demand for money from you by both corrupt Bank officials and Courier Companies after which your fund remain unpaid to you..."
"I am delighted to inform you that your forgotten social security deposits, uncashed overtime checks, overdue/contract/Inheritance Lottery winning, Palliative benefits, lost insurance, and tax refunds payment has been approved..."

Nephew, I hope this has all been insightful and helpful to you as you take up your computer and keyboard to lure patients in. While scam education is stopping some of our efforts, there are still many people out there who are unaware of the risks that our kind poses to them. Let's hope that is always the case. If this information were to get out to the masses, we'd be in trouble. Keep all this in mind as you go about your days of scamming and stealing.

Your affectionate uncle,


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