Internet Users Hbk - Chapter 6d. Various Types and Examples of Internet Scams

Chapter 6d. Various Types and Examples of Internet Scams

6.17 Lead Generation: Direct Mail and Telemarketing Scams
Target Marketing of Fraud Victims
Victims are not created at random or by accident. They are chosen by the offenders because they are vulnerable in some way and because they have enough money or assets to be attractive. Victim selection can be done directly by researching specific information about you.

Anyone with a phone can be victimized by telemarketing scam artists. Telephone fraud knows no race, ethnic, gender, age, education or income barriers. Fronters will sometimes seek out leads using community books and directories that list former occupations. They will also "cherry pick" elderly-sounding names from the phone book like Edna, Violet or Gertrude.

Cold Calls
You may get a call from a stranger who got your number from a telephone directory, mailing list, or "sucker list." The latter refers to lists of consumers who have lost money through fraudulent prize promotions or merchandise sales.

These lists contain names, addresses, phone numbers, and people who have responded to telemarketing solicitations spent other information, such as how much money. "Sucker lists" are bought and sold by unscrupulous promoters and "list brokers".

They are invaluable to scam artists who know that consumers who have been deceived once are vulnerable to additional scams.

Telephones create economies of scale by allowing a single caller to target a large number of victims in a short time and at long distances. Offenders maximize proceeds by focusing on target-groups most easily victimized, and by making large numbers of calls quickly, focusing on those who appear susceptible and hanging up on those who resist. Fraudulent telemarketers and sellers may reach you in several ways, but the telephone always plays an important role.

You may not know it, but if you get frequent hang-up calls, they are probably telemarketers. In order for them to have the maximum number of calls each hour, they dial ahead. They are on a call, but they are dialing the next two calls.

If the current call stays on the phone longer, the future call goes to your house, but when you pick up, it hangs up. Then, when they get done with the current call, they call you back. Even if you have caller ID, it will say "no data sent", as they use blocking features.

Some people have had their phone numbers changed because they thought they were being harassed by calls, when the truth is that it is just telemarketers working it so they will have the greatest ability to get people to spend money. They are not concerned with the inconvenience to you or any other discomfort this practice may cause you.

A computer known as an auto dialer or predictive dialer is dialing the majority of these telemarketing calls. Predictive dialers can dial 3-5 numbers simultaneously and can make as many as 500,000 calls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you are not home; or if the computer gets your answering machine, your number will be put back in the database to be called again later.

Direct Mail
You may get a letter or postcards saying you’ve won a prize or a contest. Such companies get leads from the bulk mailing of entry forms with an easy crossword and a $3-5 entry fee or from a "scratch and win" ticket.

Instructions tell you to respond to the promoter with certain information. Such leads may get a follow up call because they now know that you are prone to such gimmicks. You will be called by a salesperson that may use persuasive sales pitches, scare tactics, and exaggerated claims to deceive you and take your money.

When family members of elderly telemarketing fraud victims have done a search on the internet for some of the names used in the sweepstakes material, found next to piles of cancelled checks, they invariably find large corporate list management and sales firms that purport to be one thing but appear to be another.

It should be considered aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise when it is determined that commercial list managers purposely compile and then sell lists of vulnerable victims as part of their business model.

List categories by these firms are not benignly collected demographic profiling, based on product interest of everyday goods and services, but are actively generated campaigns geared, coincidentally, towards the psychological traits, which scammers are seeking in their victims.

Broadcast and Print Advertisements
In some cases, you may make the telephone call in response to a television, newspaper or magazine ad, or a direct mail solicitation.

The fact that you make the call does not mean the business or investment is legitimate or that you should be less cautious about buying or investing on the phone.

Those who respond by calling a toll-free "800" number often get a package of materials, followed by high-pressure telephone sales pitches. Fraud investigators speculate that getting victims to call first makes the work of the schemer much easier, since the potential investor has already "bought into" the scheme by taking the first step.

Commonly known as "junk e-mail," "bulk e-mail," or "spam," unsolicited commercial messages are flooding the Internet each day, ending up on desktops everywhere. Although some of these messages are from legitimate marketers, many are fraudulent solicitations from scam artists who make promises they have no intention of keeping. Spammers and scammers often hide and confuse their identities by obscuring their URLs.

Contest Leads
Fraudulent telemarketers often purchase “Leads” or prospect calling lists, which identify individuals who have entered a contest by filling out a personal data card, from "lead brokers". The data cards generally contain your name, address, phone number, and age. Usually you lead them right to you when you fill out these draw ballots or enter contests at fairs, trade shows and restaurants.

Gold Dust Memo
From: Director of Marketing

To: Chief Financial Officer

To help limit our advertising budget and sales staff it is important to target resources where they will be most effective. As an aid to our marketing efforts, in efficiently selecting prime customers, it is recommended that we take steps to institute the latest technologies in data-mining techniques. Data mining can indicate factors that help determine whether our marketing efforts will succeed.

Consumers can then be the target of increasingly sophisticated marketing campaigns, which seek to address their individual weaknesses. Through the selected acquisition of established mail order and publishing enterprises, our activities will be able to generate relevant data in the normal course of business. Initial studies have shown some interesting tendencies prevalent to a significant number of existing customers.

They tend to believe what they see in print, with emphasis on the exaggerated or unbelievable, as may be found in the tabloid industry. Such a media acquisition would also reduce advertising costs. It would also be desirable to acquire the customer lists of as many infomercial, collectible item business and charities as possible, to name a few.

Data mining offers the potential to identify the preferences of specific customer groups and to indicate what sorts of promotional material most affect their purchasing habits. Similarly, identifying preferences can be used to effectively target deceptions for that group.

Land Sales
Their land sales solicitations allegedly misrepresent that buyers have contacted them with an interest in purchasing land similar to that owned by you; that they are qualified to sell real estate; and that if you call a specified number you can "sell for cash today." Consumers who call then pay several hundred dollars, but in most instances, they never sell your property.

Sweepstakes Awards
Their guaranteed award solicitations falsely represent that you are "absolutely guaranteed" to receive one of several valuable awards, such as a car, a vacation, or a cashier's check for several thousand dollars, and that you will receive the award without obligation to pay any money.

In fact, when you call to claim your "awards," you find that you must send several hundred dollars to purchase a product or to cover shipping and handling costs in order to receive it. Even then, when you send the money, you often never receive the promised award.

Vacation Offers
Their vacation solicitations promised you a vacation with no obligation to make a purchase or payment when in fact; you must send several hundred dollars to purchase a travel package and often must pay even more money to take your vacation.

TIP: Many of the forgoing scams are offline scams; but moving online for the bigger population

"Mooch lists" can contain a disturbing amount of personal information about past victims —full name, address, phone number, even bank-card numbers and the amount they've spent on previous scams.

Some lists even rank victims based on their perceived vulnerability. Others might include helpful scamming tips: "Mention religion. This person loves Jesus!"

People on these lists have been victimized at least once by a telemarketing scam and are susceptible to being victimized again. A list used in a reverse boiler-room event included people who had lost a few dollars up to more than $30,000.

Elderly Victims on Lottery Scam Sucker Lists
08/07 - Nebraska - Every day envelopes pour into Mary Peters’ mailbox from all over the world and they all come with guarantees of big lottery winnings.

Peters, 88, receives about 6-10 promises that she has won a foreign lottery every time her mail is delivered. She said she has received as many as 18 in a single day. “They never stop,” Peters said. She has collected several boxes of the offers.

Peters’ name and address of the home where she has lived for nearly 60 years is on a “sucker’s list.” Since she responded to an offer several years ago, the mailings have increased ten-fold.

People who respond to telemarketing fraud or sweepstakes mailers are often placed on a sucker list. Sucker lists, which include names, addresses, phone numbers and other information, are created, bought and sold by fraudulent mailers and telemarketers.

The lists are considered invaluable because dishonest promoters know that consumers who have been tricked once are likely to be tricked again. It’s called “reloading.”

As a result, people on the sucker list become flooded with letters, e-mails and phone calls with various offers – lottery wins, investment plans, get rich schemes and work from home offers.

And once they start, it’s difficult to make them stop.

Lt. Rick Ryan of the North Platte police said they get 4-5 calls from people about the lottery and sweepstakes offers every single week. “They’re almost all generated from outside the U.S. to avoid prosecution,” Ryan said. “They look like they come from official U.S. banks or businesses but they don’t.”

Ryan said any offer that requires you to send money is not a legitimate one. “Do not send money or a fee to these places,” Ryan said. “If they ask for money or information, it’s a scam.” Crimes of Persuasion

TIP: Online users are now faced with new lead generation techniques such as the Splash or Capture page. Yes these have been around for a while, but now anyone can make a Splash page for any program. Often there is no clue as which program is being advertised along with the request free information. You may never see the information, but your name and some details have already been captured when you signed up. Further, you will get sign up requests from more than one affiliate, until you finally sign up for the program and your details are already found in the master program database.


Founder/Director The Internet Crime Fighters Organization

Partner/Founder The ICANetwork A Web3.0 product and service provider

Partner FreeQRCodes Essential for mobile marketing

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