SCAM INSIGHTS – Seniors Scam Alerts

As many of you know, we are working hard on a Seniors Scam Alert website and soon we’ll be sharing information on there, but until that is up and running I want to share some of the insights we are learning as we go through the process with the Edmonton Police Services and our wonder Focus Group Seniors. As we learn more about scams and scammers, we’ll be listing it here, e.g., Scam Insights – Seniors Scam Alerts.

This week’s insight: Scammers have spelling and grammar checkers. Why don’t they use it? Why do they send out information so full of mistakes?

How to protect yourself? Delete any email that isn’t from someone you know or whom you didn’t contact. If it has mistakes, do not contact them.

Answer: Because they know if the person will overlook the bad spelling and grammar and contact them anyway, they have someone who will be willing to overlook a lot of lies.

More information:

  1. The goal of a scammer is to take your money. Bad spelling and grammar works like a filter, letting the scammer know if you will look past his mistakes. Why: Because he wants only people who will ultimately fall prey to the scam to respond to his email. He doesn’t want people to waste his time, so he uses “bad” emails to weed out those who aren’t going to fall for his scam.
  2. Reason two: In the past, scammers who misspelled some relevant words had a greater chance of having their scam emails penetrate through spam filters than did scammers who spelled everything correctly; criminals obviously prefer to send out imperfectly-written emails that reach their targets, than to disseminate perfectly-written emails that never reach their would-be victims.
  3. If the email is a personal appeal letter, e.g., “help me save my child…” that pretend to be from an individual, rather than by an institution, they will use misspellings and grammatical errors to make the email seem more “authentic” and “believable.” 
  4. Last but not lease, because most people are not great writers, they may have a subconscious affinity for emails with minor errors – such mistakes make the emails more seem more relatable, and may actually help the scammer build rapport with the intended target.

So, the next time you receive a scam email that contains all sorts of errors, don’t dismiss the sender as stupid. Scammers, sadly, are often quite smart.