Finally uncovered! This is it! This is where the best online Scammers all learn the tricks of their trade. Let’s listen in on a classroom lesson in progress . . .
PROFESSOR: Alrighty, so this is Intro to Scheming 101, a freshman survey course specifically for online hoodwinks. If you’re looking for Credit Card Fraud or Elderly Duping, they’re not being offered this semester. Let’s get started. The first rule of thumb for Facebook is that women are getting wiser. No longer are they automatically accepting friend requests from handsome military officer types with profile pictures featuring an American flag background and holding a cute kitten. We think it’s because this just screams, “litter-box changing!” So now we’re recommending you become a well-built (inexplicably shirtless) widower with an eight-year-old son (brings out their maternal instinct, but not their diaper aversion) and have all of your interests related to mani/pedis.
PUPIL: What’s your opinion about just using the 3 B’s — busty, blonde, bikini–and scamming the men-folk?
PROFESSOR: If you can handle drag impersonations, go for it. Male Facebook users aren’t too picky these days. But we’re no longer advising stealing legit bosomy bombshell photos off of Google images because they’re cracking down on citing proper attribution. So if you wanted to avoid being sued, you’d need to state, “Hair Color by Clairol, Swimsuit by Nordstrom, and Body, Mind & Soul by Kate Upton.” It’s kinda a dead giveaway that it’s not really you.
PUPIL: Can you talk a little bit about hacking into their Facebook account and pretending to be them. I haven’t been able to quite understand what the advantages are to doing this?
PROFESSOR: Hijacking profiles? Well if you’re bored, it’s a ton of fun to make a crazy fake post about how all their smartypants kids are failing all their subjects and their daughter just got knocked-up. Or if they’ve been recently putting up 10th wedding anniversary weekend photos at a glitzy 5-Star hotel you could say, “OMG. Caught my husband in bed with housekeeping staff!” You might also unfriend all their followers so they look really unpopular. I saw a hand raised in the back. Yes?
PUPIL: So there’s no monetary gain with this impersonation shenanigan at all?
PROFESSOR: Absolutely not. Stick to Match.com for that. Here’s where you can screenshot someone else’s photos, hobbies, favorite foods, sexual preferences, and personality type results so when you show up on the actual date, ordering steak & lobster, and conveniently forgetting your wallet — they’ll be so upset at having to pay the bill, they won’t even notice you look nothing like who you said you were.
PROFESSOR: Moving on to email scamming. Nothing Nigerian is getting any results these days. That part of the world has lost all public empathy for its exotic sob stories. Even if you’re heir to millions, they’re just not sending their bank account numbers. But we’re seeing great things with Netflix suspension notices. Use this exact phrasing, “Oops! We were unable to validate your billing information for the next subscription cycle so we are terminating your account unless you click here and immediately update your method of payment.” And don’t forget there are two “M’s” in immediately. Studies show that opening with “Oops!” makes you appear friendly AND professional yet just as innocent and well-meaning as a blue-haired grandma with a run in her pantyhose.
PUPIL: (rubbing hands greedily together) So once they click anything in that email, we’re home free?
PROFESSOR: Yep! You can simply reel ’em in hook, line & sinker. Which reminds me, there’s a consensus in our industry to drop the “Ph” on “Phishing” and just spell it the regular old fashioned way — “fishing,” so remember that on your upcoming vocabulary quiz.
PUPIL: What advice can you dispense for sending effective e-cards?
PROFESSOR: First make sure it’s really their birthday and that your greeting has a hilariously sexy first line. And definitely make the recipient someone they adore on their contact list, so when they eagerly click to see the stupid punchline, our proprietary viral spyware will infect their operating system so fast, they’ll wish Hallmark was never invented. Or choose the option of turning them into one of the bots from the infamous Zeus family, thus utilizing malicious malware that will launch pop-up ads for porn sites in new windows all over their screen so they’ll be far too embarrassed to go to the police. Yes, question?
PUPIL: Is malware always malicious or can it sometimes become benevolent?
PROFESSOR: Great question! Is there life after death? Okay so before I conclude today’s lesson, I’ll take a few more inquiries. Make ’em specific and crafty.
PUPIL: When implementing a travel scam, is there any way we can actually go on the exciting fantasy Bali vacation instead of them?
PROFESSOR: That’s big, really big. I’m recommending to faculty that you graduate early. Time for two more….
PUPIL: I’m really proud that we have the word “Artist” in our “Scam Artist” vocation title. Is there any way to set up some easels and have a creative display, showcasing our framed masterpieces after our midterm?
PROFESSOR: Ahhh what a brilliant way to bring more respect into our field! Last one….let’s see, you in the back with the gray flasher trench-coat on.
PUPIL: (opens coat to reveal dozens of binoculars) I’m selling invisible, high powered visual aids so we can all copy everyone’s answers on our final exam. These are the same expensive devices used to capture ATM passwords even if the target remembers to shield the keyboard with his hands. Normally $199, but students in this class only have to pay $49.99.
PROFESSOR: (pushes intercom) Security, would you kindly escort this unscrupulous cheating shyster out of my classroom immediately. And that’s immediately with two “M’s.” Class is dismissed!
READERS: Have you ever fallen prey? Leave me a comment with the most innovative scam you’ve heard of so we can all be wary.