How to Write Your Own Scam Letter
To assist you with our Scam Alert contest, here is our very own guide on how to write a scam letter. We’re looking for the most original, creative, and hilarious entries for our contest. So how do you go about this? Read on to find out.
This is your first step. Be creative. This letter can be about almost anything, as long as it makes us laugh as much as the thought of the Nigerian in space for over 20 years. Your cousin could have been kidnapped by Somali pirates, escaped with all their loot and now be on the run in Mogadishu with nothing but $20 million in bearer bonds and the shirt on his/her back. Offer someone the chance to get some of that by sending over money to buy your unfortunate relative a plane ticket out of Somalia. Basically, you can write about anything, so go wild.
Now you have your incredible scenario, time to sell it. As Disney knows, the best way to sell anything is to tug on heartstrings like you’re a rock guitarist shredding a solo. Generate sympathy for your put-upon relative/friend/colleague. Maybe their entire family was massacred by a government hit squad of vicious cannibal pygmies, leaving them the sole heir to an outrageous fortune. Now they’ve been living in the jungle for months with the only other living member of their family, a three-month old baby. They need a hero and no one else besides your reader is better suited! The goal here is to have them reaching for tissues at the same time as their wallet.
Play on Greed
If the heartstring tugging doesn’t work, offering up loads of moolah should. Who ever saw a scam letter offering up a paltry sum? No one! The more zeroes at the end of that number, the better. You want your reader to risk their freedom for this, so make it a good amount. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s not large enough to afford a small island, make it bigger.
Intentionally Bad Spelling or Grammar
You may want to misspell the odd word or two. Mix up some of the grammar a bit. Most scammers actually do this intentionally to weed out the less gullible among us. You may choose to do it for comic effect. It feels weird to say this, but – impress us with your bad grammar.
Get Out and Write!
The contest is open from now until 31 March, so start writing! We’ll be posting our own scam letter samples every Monday while it runs, so be sure to check back here if you need some inspiration!
Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org.