[Update: the site contacted us to notify us of the precautions they have in place, including a human editor who responds to complaints and reports, and Threat Metrix, a cybercrime prevention software.] “On some dating sites, as many as one out of 10 profiles is a scammer,,” Mark Brooks, editor of Online Personals Watch told Glamour.
The lesson here is that online dating startups will need to step up their game to keep consumers safe.
They won’t admit it, but I have personally seen some of the smaller or more obscure dating sites ‘pad’ the website with fake profiles and even go so far as to send a message to their members from this ‘fake’ person in the hopes of generating more activity on the site.
He or she will begin the courtship process by sending letters and love poems for a period of weeks and finally offer to fly to meet their victim.
Within hours of the expected arrival time, an emergency will strike: A work visa has expired, or their aunt/niece/child is sick and they need a few thousand dollars to be wired over so they can finally meet their intended.
A fraud is sweeping online dating sites, according to a special report in this month’s issue of Glamour Magazine.
The scam typically works like this: A con artist, usually based in an Internet cafe overseas, will lift a photo from Facebook or another social networking site.
“In the war against online dating scams and security threats, we’ve chosen to do whatever is necessary to always be a few steps ahead of scammers, and not the other way around – which is usually too late for our users,” said Cupid.com’s CEO, Bill Dobbie.
“This decision has its high price tag, but the alternative can be much costlier,” he continued.
Additionally, the system can detect “bots,” often operated by organized crime gangs, which create profiles and engage real members in automated scripted conversations designed to elicit payment.
Already, through its quality assurance methods, the site has identified 20,000 scammers who get permanently blocked from Cupid’s communities each month.
They will painstakingly craft a fake profile and begin targeting people that are looking for love.
Once they’ve made contact, they will typically request to move the conversation to a private instant messaging service.
In many cases, scammers will choose to use pictures of military personnel. Grisham set up a personal blog for soldiers to report their photo being used on online dating sites.