The Demeanor of a Scammer
I wrote an article a while ago about my perspective on the identity Satoshi Nakamoto. For those who don’t know, Satoshi Nakamoto is the name (or alias) and the only thing we know of the creator of bitcoin. At the tail end of the article, is an open call for the real Satoshi to send me an email. And, as you can see, my email is right there in my profile. And I got a lot of responses.
I added a twist to open call; anyone who introduces himself as Satoshi I will immediately know that he is not Satoshi. This makes anyone who would want to deceive me really smart and creative. Honestly, I didn’t really care about getting in touch with the real Satoshi, I wanted to see who was smart enough to play along. And so it began.
Rule 1: A scammer will always offer you something juicy
Everyone knows the real Satoshi has a significant number of bitcoins, the first thing a real scammer will do is to appeal to your greed. Everybody has desires. Everybody loves good things. Desires are great but they can be shaped into greed. A scammer wants to put you in a position where you’ll lower your guard. When what you desire is placed in front of you, exactly the way you like it, all for nothing (that appears) significant; beware!
This is the first sign that you are about to be scammed. They gave a picture that they could send me bitcoins and make my account fatter all of a sudden. I am already rich and though I believe in having more, I understand that money is just a means. That didn’t move me and if you don’t want to be scammed it shouldn’t move you. At least, you must stay skeptical.
If you love dogs, scammers are going to come at you with that. If you love food, that will be their entry point to you. Money seems to be general, but good scammers are detailed. It’s easy to get at people through what they like and not merely through money. Hackers use this too. Most of the time, hackers take your permission unconsciously before you get hacked.
Rule 2: Scammers are desperate
I got a mail from someone claiming to be Satoshi. He told an interesting story. Out of pity for his efforts, I gave him the reply that I really don’t care who the real Satoshi is. He replied that with another long story. Then, I had to spam. Scammers are very desperate, keep them waiting and they will crack.
Scammers are always eager especially when you give them the faintest of chances. Give them an inch and they’ll lay claim to a mile. Show them their limits and the first thing they will try to do is to get over that limit. It is a weakness they all share but in different degrees. Scammers are not patient.
If you sense someone might be a scammer, try keeping the person waiting on something. If it drives the person nuts, it is very likely you’re dealing with a scammer.
Rule 3: The first thing scammed from you before anything else is trust
One guy actually claimed to be Satoshi. Sent all kinds of attachments to prove he is actually the real Satoshi. Of course, I was wise enough not to open the attachments as they could be something else. Did so much to earn trust, but didn’t get any. What gave him away? He was ready to push me to a corner willing or unwillingly where I have to admit he is Satoshi. Well crafted arguments to start with. I just spammed it instantly.
If the fight is too hard and intense for your trust, you need to ask yourself honest questions. Remember, the goal of a scammer is to put you in a position where you lower your guard. If you cannot decline without reason, that might just be a scammer bugging you.
Rule 4: Scammers will ask for a favor
The definition of favor here is something you can do but not supposed to do. What they are asking can be simple, but the way they want it is actually the problem. Smart scammers ask for a very small favor first and then gradually increase it until they ask for something that will cause a trainwreck.
How does one distinguish scammers from real sincere people when it comes to this? Simple! A scammer can disappear without a trace, a real person can’t vanish into thin air just like that.
It is dangerous to keep a conversation going with a scammer. Once you spot that this is a scam boss, cut the communication channel. If you suspect it, you can break the communication channel. This means to stop it for a while (known only to you) and check for rule 2.
I received a mail that was so convincing that it was from Satoshi (in an indirect way). I asked some questions and the answers were real and impressive. I ended the conversation and have not picked it up since then. I have never been sent any message by that same party since then. The conversation ended on a note where either party could pick it up later. The fact that the other party has not been in touch with me makes me believe the conversation we had even more. I still have my doubts about the information I got, but it was sure not from a scammer.
Rule 5: Scammers lie
There is a phrase I have come to like so much in recent times. It says, ‘don’t trust, verify’. You have to verify who is talking to you. Ask a question to verify the scammer. It doesn’t have to be a hard, technical question. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a direct question. Better still, as an indirect, friendly question and watch whether an answer will be given or avoided. While there are lots of drive and movement for privacy, a stranger asking for a favor has to reveal some details about himself. When those details get shared, verify to know who you are dealing with.
If the details shared turns out to be a lie, that’s a 90% chance of a scammer. The best way to catch a lie is to ask more questions. The thing about a lie is that more lies are needed to sustain the lie. So if you ask enough questions, something will not add up.
In conclusion, hacking, scamming and phishing are a part of this world. Praying or hoping you will not be a victim of such is hopeless. Your best strategy is to prepare for the evil day. Don’t get scammed!