Just like other businessmen, scammers operate using certain business models. In my previous post, I wrote about the typical scammer, their trust model, and the strategies they use to get, hold, and sustain customers. In this post, we’ll look at their business model, and how users can avoid their schemes.
Scammers Business Model
While scammers typically don’t use a formalized business model, we can easily determine how these guys operate. This model is similar to traditional business models in that it focuses on gaining and keeping customers and sending referrals. Though this model may not be true to all operations/operators of scams, this template is based on the common behavior exhibited by these operators.
In this business model sample, scammers first scout for customers. Once they are able to ascertain these customers, they develop loyalty programs to keep them around, which include selling items in bulk. They also attempt to grow their customer base either through referrals or by verifying their fellow scammers (“back scratching”).
Figure 1. Sample scammer business model
We have seen this type of business model used several times in scams and continue to see its prevalence in 2013. In the 2013 security predictions, we stated that these sellers will become more motivated as 2013 progresses, and this is just further proof that we will continue to see this type of business development these coming years.