Some scam artists use bogus profiles to con the people they meet out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Criminals who perpetrate online dating and romance scams use emotional appeals to quickly gain their victims’ trust and then, just as quickly, exploit it.
We look forward to seeing you on [website] frequently.
And if you replace “collect an inheritance” with “find true love,” they’re an increasing menace for dating apps and services. But they are an increasingly important front for criminals, who in turn use increasingly sophisticated methods to snare their marks, and take them for whatever they can.
These bots aren’t necessarily looking for love, or even for a direct cash transfer; they’re often simply trying to convince their marks to install something, like an app, in a case of direct marketing gone gross.“In some ways the target isn’t really the victim of anything other than having their time wasted, and installing a game that they don’t necessarily want,” says Winchester of these bot-based shakedowns.
“But the operator of the bot is collecting payments for generating downloads, without ever having to interact with the user themselves.”If someone’s going to fall for a fake profile, that’s about as innocuous a result as one can hope for.
“We then take the learnings from that academic exercise, and try to scale them up into a production environment that works at enormous speed.”Some of those indicators are proprietary, but a few are fairly obvious.
Fake photos are usually a giveaway; when in doubt, do a reverse Google image search.
It turns out that all those people parsing dating profiles for grammar above all else are protecting themselves not just from bad dates, but from bad actors.