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“Working with dozens of possible outcomes, they carefully lay out every possible response, including dealing with broke guys who fell in love online,” said Alex Holden, the security expert who intercepted the romance scam package.“If the mark doesn’t have money, the package contains advice for getting him credit, telling the customer to restate his love and discuss credit options.” Interestingly, although Russia is considered by many to be among the most hostile countries toward homosexuals, the makers of this dating scam package also include advice and templates for targeting gay men.Virtually every aspect of cybercrime has been made into a service or plug-and-play product.That includes dating scams — among the oldest and most common of online swindles.As I discuss in my free online dating guide, successful online dating relies in part on making great first impressions.Whether the first impression is in the photos you select for your profile, how you describe yourself, or the first email you write, taking time to make the best first impression is important.Recently, I had a chance to review a package of dating scam emails, instructions, pictures, videos and love letter templates that are sold to scammers in the underground, and was struck by how commoditized this type of fraud has become.
“If you imagine the cost of doing by phone every part of the scam, it’s rather high, so they do most of the scam via email,” Holden said.
It is also worth noting that most often discuss this from the point of view of a man contacting a woman, since that was my experience, but my hope is that the thoughts here are helpful to anyone.
This discussion is primarily for sites such as where you write the online dating first message yourself (see more on how works if you’re not familiar with what I’m referring to).
It is in this critical, final part of the scam that the fraudster is encouraged to take advantage of criminal call centers that staff women who can be hired to play the part of the damsel in distress.
“When you get down to the final stage, there has to be a crisis, some compelling reason why the target should you send the money,” said Holden, founder of Hold Security [full disclosure: Yours Truly is an uncompensated adviser to Holden’s company].
The scammer often pretends to be a young woman in an isolated or desolate region of Russia who is desperate for a new life, and the email from the girl’s supposed mother is intended to add legitimacy to the scheme.