An interesting experiment conducted by UK-based scam-tracking organization Scam Detectives has revealed how online scams can earn scammers a lot of money in a short time – if they choose their angle well.
In this case, the lure was a “Golden Ticket” that would allow the person possessing it to attend the long-awaited royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and if he or she is extra lucky, to appear in the couple’s wedding photos.
The hoax website was set up only minutes after the date and the venue of the wedding were announced. The price for the ticket was set at £250, and the site was advertised on social networks, classified advertising websites and web forums.
Three minutes after the site went up, the first visitor landed on it. The experiment ended with over 160 visitors having clicked on the “Buy now” button that showed them a message explaining that the hoax site was a way to demonstrate how scammers misuse world events to make money and suggesting to them to visit the Scam Detectives site to learn how to detect such scams in the future.
“Had this been a real scam, it could have netted up to £33,000 in the first 12 hours” said Charles Conway, Scam Detectives editor. And users would lose not only the £250, but also their credit card details – which would lead to more money loss.
Conway also noted that further advertising could have attracted a greater number of people, which would have made their “earnings” soar up to a third of a million pounds. The recent legitimate news that a 100 lucky members of the public will receive a “golden ticket ” for this occasion would only have aided the “criminals”.