SYDNEY – June 5 – On May 9, Bitdefender Antispam Lab researchers alerted users to an ongoing scam campaign involving so-called ‘Illuminati cabals’ inciting credulous individuals to join their world-controlling organisation – all in return for riches and a lavish lifestyle.
A more recent analysis of the Illuminati spam campaign shows that these shady individuals who go by many names, including ‘Grand Masters’, are still hunting for fresh ‘members’ worldwide.
In just two weeks, the perps behind the scam have updated their tactics in an attempt to entice recipients into a conversation.
Most earlier iterations of the scam urged recipients to reply to the Illuminati recruiters via email (mostly Gmail and AOL), but a fresh look into the gimmick has revealed messages containing WhatsApp phone numbers where users can truly connect and get personal with the scam artist.
Before we delve deeper into the secrets of the Illuminati order, let’s take a look at the extent of the Illuminati spam campaign. Although scammers mostly target US recipients (62%), the bogus emails are also hitting inboxes of users in Australia (11%), the UK and Germany (7%), South Africa (6%), Ireland (2%), and the Czech Republic and Slovakia (with 1% each). A limited number of emails have also reached users in Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, Spain and Italy.
The spam emails were traced to IP addresses in Nigeria (40%), South Africa (16%), the US (14%), the Netherlands (13%), and Argentina and Brazil (with 5% each).
Now, we know we urged users to never reply to such requests and immediately delete the messages, but as curious professionals with a duty to inform, we figured we should try it ourselves. (Don’t try this at home).
A sample batch of international phone numbers used to set up WhatsApp business accounts to scam victims were from the US, Italy and Greece, and we decided to contact all of them.
In our search for fame, power and a hefty paycheck, we found ourselves playing along with the charade and spoke to various individuals, including one ‘LordshipMaster’ from Greece, a Grand Master in the US, who allegedly goes by the name of Kurt, and Anthony, another Illuminati recruiter who told us he currently resides in Rome.
Below is a summary of our correspondence:
- Most of the people we conversed with on WhatsApp (direct messaging only) were speaking English. However, the more we exchanged messages with the scammers, the clearer it became that the individuals behind the screen were not native speakers (we noticed various grammar mistakes and weird phrasing).
- Most of the recruitment and persuasion aspects of the conversation were obviously copy-pasted texts (sometimes videos) they use on all of their victims.
- The perks we would receive, depending on the recruiter, include monthly salaries of US$200,000 and over, a new house, appointments with top celebrities, a magic talisman and free access to the Bohemian Grove – an elite invitation-only social club.
- All of the individuals offered us the possibility to join the Illuminati society or the ‘Illuminati Brotherhood’ by filling out a membership form of some type. The form required us to provide personally identifiable information that could allow the scammers to conduct identity theft crimes, this includes full name, date of birth, address, phone number, occupation, money worth, email address, marital status, age and a current photo. One of the recruiters even told us that the document was going to be submitted to the ‘Illuminati Department of Distribution’ or DODIS for short.
- Tactics used by these scam artists mainly consist of sharing quotes and sometimes taking a more ‘philosophical’ route in their attempt to captivate and mesmerise their audience before revealing their true intent. Some of the quotes linked back to suspicious social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, while others were attributed to American public speaker and author Tucker Max.
“No one has it all figured out, especially not the people who are acting like they do and judging you because of it. Pretending to be something you aren’t because you’re trying to please a bunch of judgmental hypocrites and [redacted] is not the way to be happy. Living the life you want to live is. It really is that simple,” read one of the responses.
We also managed to trace other quotes to some highly suspicious Facebook and Twitter accounts, including: “Every human is guided by an inner compass that points to the Light, revealing truth and direction in their lives.”
“An estate has less value to those who own dozens, but far more to those who own none. Paper money is no sacrifice to those whose immense wealth drowns out their exchange, but requires determination from those who have less.”
The scammers emphasised that all they need is our ‘TRUST and LOYALTY’ throughout the recruitment process. However, when asked to prove that this is not a scam, we received an unconvincing answer.
“You are texting with the Lordship master, worry not you are in safe hands,” one of the scammers said.
In our naiveté and quest to find a truthful answer, we even told one of the scammers that we had just received another email/invitation to join the Illuminati we assumed was from one of his colleagues. When asked if he knew the sender, ‘brother Anthony’ gave us some very good tips and advised us on what to do if we are contacted by Illuminati impostors.
“I want you to know that there’s many imposters all over the internet pretending to be an agent but they’re not, I want you to block their email or ignored it okay. You’re in the right place with the right person that’ll help you okay, and I have given you my word okay.”
Brother Anthony intrigued us, and we wanted to check just how badly he wanted us to join his organisation without exposing our identity. So, we ghosted him for a while. After a couple of missed phone calls on WhatsApp, we told him that we couldn’t print and fill out the form to later send it to him because someone stole our wallet which had our ID and credit cards.
His answer didn’t disappoint us. In fact, he gave us more good advice, urging us to immediately contact the police, and assuring us that everything is going to be ‘okay’.
As mentioned, we couldn’t go through with their request for information, so after conversing with the scammers for a couple of days, we called brother Anthony out for trying to deceive us.
And here’s his response:
“What do you mean?? Me a scammer????? Seriously…….?”
“Yes. You are a liar.”
“Me a liar…….? I have had enough from you. Have a great day.”
The Lordship Master didn’t take our ghosting so well. He called us a couple of times and even threatened us for ‘tempting him’.
The ‘Illuminati’ scammers may also begin targeting users using the same copied/recycled messages via social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We advise individuals to remain vigilant and ignore any messages claiming to be sent on behalf of grand masters or special recruiters on behalf of any Illuminati or Illuminati-affiliated organisations.