An exotic stranger needs help, and you’re the only one able to provide it.
On any given day, a handful of those pleas still file into your email’s spam folder.
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.
A recently released list, by a fraud-busting company called Scamalytics, of the top lines and photos used in profiles by online dating grifters shows that while the range of sophistication may vary, the end goal is always the same: To fleece romance-seekers out of their money.
The pick-up line "I am not interested in games or drama" cracks the top 20, which sounds legitimate enough, but so does "having past events shape your life is one thing carrying the past as a burden that sits heavily upon your shoulders is not the way i view life."There are millions of scam online dating accounts created each month, says Scamalytics co-founder Dan Winchester.
His company, which he founded in 2011, detects up to 250,000 per month, and was born out of a healthy combination of necessity and self-interest. The increase in online dating scammers, he says, has grown in step with the popularity of the sites and apps themselves.“As with all dating services, there came a point that it hit the radar of the scammers, and it suddenly became overrun.
Suddenly I had to stop doing new features and trying to acquire new users,” in order to keep up with squashing scammers.
There was no dedicated screening service at that time, Winchester says. Well, he did along with an acquaintance, Nick Tsinonis, who already had expertise using machine learning to help match dating site users based not on their expressed preference, but on behavior.
“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.
If it turns out to be a model, or really anyone other than who the profile says it is, that's a scammer.
Geographical mismatches are also bad signs, such as someone claiming to be in Brooklyn when their IP address points to the other side of the planet.
Scamalytics also keeps track of the most popular pick-up lines used by online dating scammers.
That’s not to say they’re the most effective; many, in fact, perform grammatical acrobatics that barely qualify as English.