Remember the scene from the Wolf of Wall Street when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort taught his friends persuasion tactics to defraud money from investors? Well…in Shenzhen, we found Jordan’s equal.
An eight-member ring in Shenzhen was busted by local police for defrauding money from middle-aged women. The swindlers had developed a full-blown, tightly scripted manual to coach each of its members how to successfully swindle a victim’s money in just 11 days.
The eight fraudsters disguised themselves as successful men in several ads in newspaper matchmaking sections. To avoid detection, all the ads were placed in papers outside of Guangdong. By following the manual, each successfully swindled RMB117,000 ($19,300) from the victims within a month, Nanfang Net reported in December last year.
The ringleader under the pseudonym Zhao Jun asked his minions to memorise the manual by heart and had them going through intensive phone training before letting them out for real, the report said.
The 11-day operation manual was packaged with ready-made lines in different scenarios from establishing one’s credibility as a nice and considerate gentleman, to the use of endearment; from playing the family card by bringing out an ailing father to the grand closing of asking the women to wire some money to buy some (believe it or not) flower baskets for the swindler’s fake store opening.
The skit only fell apart when a 42-year-old woman from Jilin Province reported the scam to the local police after she had wired nearly RMB75,000 (about $12,400) to Zhao Jun in different settings. Zhao’s excuses include buying flower baskets for his store opening, birthday gifts for his father, compensation for a victim Zhao knocked over on his way to the airport, and even blackmailing by “a cop” from Shenzhen who claimed that he would arrest Zhao if he did not receive any money.
Here are some of the textbook lines straight from the manual: (warning: the below contents are extremely cheezy.)
Lines for Day 1 to establish yourself as a sensible and nice gentleman: “My wife died in a car accident in 2009 on her way to pick up our daughter. I have since being living in the shadow of her passing. I’ve moved into this big house for half a year, but I felt the room is so empty every night when I come home. I can’t even find a person to talk to. Have you ever felt this way before?”
Lines for Day 5 to establish formal “husband and wife” relationship: “My dear, since I have known you in the last few days, sometimes I felt like I just want to call you my wife, although we are not yet married. But I have already decided that you are my soul mate.” The instruction did not stop here. It went to ask the man to hang up the phone immediately after the last line to “create suspense” and only check his phone the day after.
Lines for Day 11 (the grand finale): “My store officially opened today, many of my relatives and friends came. My sister asked you to send me several flower baskets to congratulate my store opening in the name of my wife, which is in line with our local Guangdong custom, and a gesture to show my father your sincerity, and to present you officially to my friends. My sister just called the florist where she ordered her flowers. You should take a pen and write down the florist’s number. You can wire some money (to the florist) to buy the baskets. I will send you RMB50,000 tomorrow for the money you spent. You don’t want to embarrass your husband in front of your friends, right?”
What happened then? Ms Lin wired RMB 32,682 ($5,400) to the “florist”.
Home page photo credit: Nanfang Net