Scammer Strategies and Social Actions in Online Filipino Transactions


conversation analysis
persuasive strategies
deceptive strategies
preference organization
online scams

How to Cite

Ibañez, K. R. (2024). Scammer Strategies and Social Actions in Online Filipino Transactions. Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 29(1), 43-75.


As technology has developed newer and faster forms of communication, the internet has also become a convenient medium for scammers to interact with their targets. Since deception is understudied from a linguistic perspective, this paper investigated the persuasive strategies and linguistic markers of scammers and analyzed the social actions of both scammers and their targets—all of whom are users of the Filipino language. This qualitative study employed digital conversation analysis in analyzing ten conversations between scammers and their targets—all of which were failed scams. The results showed that scammers used emotion, credibility, and logic in persuading their targets. The following linguistic markers were found in their utterances: (1) pronouns that are personal, exclusive, inclusive, noncommittal, impersonal, and ambiguous; (2) negation used for denial, non-existence, refusal, discouragement, inability, loss, contrast, clarification, and correction; (3) emotion words expressing happiness, astonishment or amusement, worry, doubt or fear, shame, regret or inadequacy, and fondness, and lastly, (4) cognitive verbs indicating equivocation, and expression of knowledge or understanding. Furthermore, the social actions of the scammers and the targets were categorized into four sequences that generally involved certain actions: (1) pre-offer (asking about and providing details), (2) insert (expressing doubt and explaining), (3) offer (offering or asking for money/info, and rejecting), and (4) post-offer (insisting, showing aggression, or conceding and retaliating or interrogating). Although all conversations resulted in the targets’ rejection of the scammers’ offer, which undermines social solidarity, dispreference is seen as a beneficial response in conversations involving scams.


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