Saturday, November 29, 2008

Secret Society Scam

Seems like the scammers have come up with their version of a secret society that could inhabit Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Just so you know what I'm talking about, a relative of mine just received a personalised letter from a PO Box in Las Vegas, Nevada with the following introduction:
Ms [NAME], please forgive us, but we have just taken a closer look at your profile. It turns out you're more special than any of us imagined! Ms [NAME], did you know that you possess some very rare, hidden traits? In fact, there is a famous person (someone you would instantly recognize, he's on TV every night) who possesses these same special, incredibly rare traits... It turns out that people who posses [sic] these same rare and often hidden traits that you do are some of the most famous and successful people on this planet! [NAME], you are indeed blessed! I know those around you don't know this yet,  but they will! Down deep, you sense it, too. Right? I'm so excited for you!"
The letter then goes on to tell its recipient that it is not a solicitation for money and that she must keep everything confidential. Furthermore:
There has existed for many years an exclusive association, a secret society, of the world's most famous and powerful people. These include renowned actors and musicians, leading scientists and intellectuals, self-made entrepreneurs and artists, even some of the rare genuine astrologers and psychics ...
Apparently, this association has uncovered some shockingly powerful secrets and not only have they taken the time to analyse my relative's profile from amongst billions of people in the world to offer her entry into this "exclusive" group, but they are also offering her a Free Report that will "share secrets that lead to prosperity, love happiness, total piece [sic] of mind". The writer – Tiffany – swears on the Bible that all she is saying is true.

I'm not an expert at scams but this one appears to have all the trademarks of a beauty. Firstly, I have no idea how these people obtain their mailing list but I have no doubt it would be a bulk mailout. Secondly, the language is that of cajoling and flattery that appeals to our ego – are we indeed special? we ask ourselves (and unfortunately for many of us logic will go out of the window at this point of time because we want to be a chosen one). Thirdly, there is a promise of exclusivity for us to gain entry into this special club. Fourthly, the stories Tiffany tells us appeals to the child in us that is fascinated with knights and journeys to capture the secret sword to awaken the sleeping parts of ourselves. Fifthly, it appeals to our greed with all the riches on offer. Sixthly, there is also a cut off date which fuels a sense of urgency and our fear that we will miss out – a powerful marketing tool that forces people to make a decision to accept the invitation. My relative must respond by this Friday but there is no actual date on the letter. Call me sceptical but I'm pretty sure if my relative responded they wouldn't care if it were Friday of this week or next month or a Friday next year. And lastly, we ask ourselves – a Free Report – what harm can that do? The problem is that if you respond then your private information will be captured forever rather like the secret soul names of Gods in ancient mythology. These unscrupulous scammers are not the kind to have opt-out and unsubscribe options for people on their mailing list or database. They will either hit you for the definitive book on their secrets or lifetime membership for a couple of hundred bucks, or they will keep hounding you with increasingly higher offers – you may be asked to pay $20 for the first one then $100 for the second, $250 for the third and so on. I mean, how can you resist the promise of the material when they even bring God into the equation – and that's just in the invitation letter! 

And finally, If my relative doesn't answer the invitation she will never hear from these people again!  Well er ... good! 

And by the way, with all the spelling mistakes in the letter I wonder why no intellectual from this secret society has been asked to proof it!

4 comments:

Lord Alucard 13 said...

i received that same letter and i'll tell u what, when i didn't post a payment for their official and second installment Inside Secrets book, they recontacted me, urging me to consider buying their book for $139.95 with shipping and handling. if this is so real, why should you have to pay for something that special. i feel that if it were real, it should be free, but who am i to contest, they're just money-grubbers. thats how their so-called secret society members become so rich, by fedding off the meek. i am disgusted by the need to step on poor people just so they can get richer. anyway, i refuse to make a payment to those people, its almost disturbing what the rich will do to get richer.

Black Mermaid Productions said...

We couldn't agree with you more, Lord Alucard 13. These are unscrupulous people who want to ensnare the vulnerable and naive. We're glad you're not one of them.
J

tex said...

Haha, yeah, I just got one of those..........think I'll forgo returning the application to them for their 'free secrets', i mean, if I am so special, and deserving, they can email me a copy of their super secret, super special book.

Black Mermaid Productions said...

How audacious of them, and how sensible of you, Tex!