Building in Public

November 28, 2022

I Reverse-engineered These US$60 Million Telephone Scams

Written by:

Kevon Cheung

Let's talk about telephone scams!

Why? Because apparently it is the industry (sad to label it this way) with the highest growth in the last 2 years. I'm now based in Hong Kong and every day the different news anchors would go:

"Another telephone scam. This person lost US$3 million."

"New scam. This person transferred money 8 times and lost US$4 million."

I get at least 3-4 calls a day myself. And so far in 2022, the combined losses are US$60 million ...

Apparently, scam leaders set up centres in South East Asia where they confine tourists and force them to make calls to scam people. When they make enough money, they can go. This is really sad.

On the other hand, I am honestly fascinated.

First, how do so many people have US$3-4 million cash in their bank accounts? This is wild.

More so, I am shocked how people are comfortable transferring their money to someone they've not even met in person. How? Why?

The media covers so many different types of scams. Today, I want to share one particular type and why it works so well.

Are you ready?

So these scammers would make the call to a number and they start off with a friendly tone:

"Hey! It has been a while! Can you guess who I am?"

Apparently, a good number of people would start making guesses. As they expose more information about the real family & friends they have, the scammers would "ride the wave", make more small talks, and ask more questions.

All of a sudden, these scammers went from knowing nothing about the person on the other side of the call to now knowing SO MUCH.

Then they can use the information to scam. For example, they call back "Hey hey! Your cousin John is in trouble! We urgently need US$50,000 so these bad guys would release him. Can you help? John said you're the best cousin he has!"

$50k payment first. Then next time $150k. Then more and more. Once a person has committed the 1st payment, it is a rabbit hole and it could reach US$3-4 million ... crazy!

Okay - I'm not trying to teach you how to scam people. Obviously I got all this info from the TV program.

What got my attention is that the scammer's technique is very much like building in public!

1. Scammers don't know who to scam ➡ they get a list of phone numbers of an ideal demographic.

🔗 In Building in Public, this means you pick a specific group of people to hang around first. E.g. you can say "early stage creators getting to $10k" or "people who want to publish a book on Amazon"

2. Scammers don't have info to build rapport with the person ➡ they ask questions & relate & ask & relate.

🔗 In Building in Public, you create conversations, you ask, and you observe & collect data points. You show progress and build rapport.

3. Scammers don't have ways to ask for money ➡ they create a fake scenario with real data points.

🔗 In Building in Public, you analyze the community's responses. mainly struggles and complaints, and come up with ways to help them. You present your offer. You create urgency and scarcity at your launch.

In both cases, you have ZERO knowledge to start with. You don't pitch. You ask questions. You are patient. People open up. You listen. Finally, you create a killer offer they cannot say no to.

But hey, I'm not saying Building in Public is a scam! 😂 Please don't get me wrong.

I'm focusing on this technique that uses human psychology to help you discover pain points worth solving.

Lastly, please make sure you use it towards a good cause! If you're now picking up the phone, I beg you to not say you learn this from me!

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Should YOU Build in Public?

Actually, let me rephrase: do you want to build products your community wants?

Yes, I WANT TO 💪

Should YOU Build in Public?

Actually, let me rephrase: do you want to build products your community wants?

Yes, I WANT TO 💪