PASSIVE VICTIM SCREENING

Something is happening in the marketing world that is simultaneously pathetic, slightly genius, and somewhat humorous, but still completely evil.

We have all received those emails that are trying to look as if they came from an official location, company, or department with whom we do business, but upon careful reflection, we realize they are phishing schemes.  I cannot begin to count the number of times I would have become an overnight millionaire simply by clicking the link, agreeing to deposit a large check after which I would mail a smaller cashier’s check back, or sending my checking account routing and account numbers with some authorization documentation.

In the early days of phishing emails, most were instantly identified purely by the horrific grammar employed often because they originated in foreign lands.  Others were instantly identified by the outlandish claims for fast financial fortune.  For example:

Your kindness and blessed wishes may rane upon your life today.  Please be kind enouoogh to render ade to Prince Makavilliao Uffermop for thie tramsfer of hers estate upon diffikutlies of the estates suitor.  By sending me your cheking account credantals complete and all contracts signature, we have a SUM OF 2.3 MILLION DOLLARS to disburse for your ade.” [And on and on it would drone.]

Well, believe it or not, there is a method to their madness.  It turns out many of the scams we receive by email are genuinely made to appear inauthentic on purpose.  The strategy is the fraudster really is not interested in an informed respondent who will either, a). instantly dismiss the offer, or b). create more difficulty than the crime is worth by mounting a counterattack.  Therefore, to improve the response rate, the fraudster knows if the pitch is set up with obvious errors throughout, it will do double duty as a splendid passive screening tool.

Only those folks who are that genuinely gullible, uninformed, or unintelligent enough not to discern the errors will become marks.  Then the fraudster knows the red meat has been identified!  And let’s face it: the red meat is a miniscule percentage of the total prospect list.  Anything the fraudster can do to raise that fraction translates to a bigger potential payday.

Market strategy works for everyone—the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I am just glad to be part of the good.  (Yes, I know, I might qualify for the ugly category too).





About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, a blogger, and a University of Phoenix Associate Faculty member. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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