The Sum Of $3,500,00 Has Been Donated To You

Are Those Famous 1990’s Scams Back?

I thought these spam emails went out of style in the early 2000’s. Perhaps they’re making a comeback? Spam filters weed out 99% of this garbage. This one made it through.

It’s a simple email. Inside are instructions to retrieve my 3.5 million dollars. I had the good sense to pass up the opportunity.

Sorry, Mr. Bernald. I shan’t be contacting you.

Bad grammar and an absurd claim. Why would anyone fall for this? I don’t know. Out of sheer curiosity, I’m tempted to reply and get a peek at the scam. Plus, there’s a lot to learn from scammers.

The King Of Scammers

You may be familiar with the famous story of Count Lustig who sold the Eiffel Tower to scrap metal dealers (twice). He may be the most daring and creative con artist in history.

Here are the cliff notes of his famous Eiffel Tower con:

Lustig portrayed himself as a government agent. His job was to sell the Eiffel Tower for scrap metal. The decision to sell the tower had already been made, but not yet made public. He invited the top five dealers to submit bids. A week later the winning bid was selected. Lustig walked off with a one million dollar down payment. The victim realized he fell for a con a week later. He was so embarrassed to have fallen for such a scam, he did nothing. Lustig later repeated the scam on another victim.

There are differences between the simple email scams of today and the grand heist of Lustig. Selling the Eiffel Tower requires elaborate plans.

Lustig went to great lengths to make these sophisticated businessmen feel like it was a legitimate transaction. Modern scam emails appear amateur by comparison.

There are two similarities worth mentioning. In both cases, victims are embarrassed when they realize they’ve been conned. This prevents many from going to the police. The thief takes enough money to sting but not enough for the victim to seek revenge.

The other similarity is the boldness of the lie. In the email scam, a promise of $50 seems more believable. But then these scammers would be inundated with requests. By claiming $3,500,000 they assure themselves of only getting a few responses. Lustig’s claim was so ludicrous, you would never expect someone to make it up.

Lessons From Scammers

What’s the takeaway from scammers? Are there any lessons we can use for legitimate purposes? Here’s what you need to know:

The Bold Beat The Timid

I’m not suggesting you make the outlandish claims scammers perpetrate. Boldness takes many forms. The benefits can be bold. In some cases you simply cannot promise bold benefits due to the nature of what you offer.

You can offer a bold guarantee. You can offer a bold promise of support. Get creative about what you can do with your offer. Make it bold.

Niche Down

Scammers don’t try and scam the entire world. Lustig wanted just one sucker — a rich scrap metal dealer. The email scammers want only a handful of respondents.

As an entrepreneur on a budget, I know I can win by focusing on a small slice of a large pie. I can create a more laser-focused message that appeals to their individual wants.

Boldness and ultra-specific niches are powerful tools. Get my most powerful persuasion secret here. Oh, if you enjoyed this story… click the ❤ button below.