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].
Hopefully you will have set up a separate email account for online dating use, as advised in , so it will be easy to quarantine the spammer’s emails.
Otherwise most email service providers have so-called junk filters or spam blockers to keep the trash out of your inbox.
If you’re being spammed or solicited by someone you’ve met through an online dating service, cease contact with that person and report their behavior as inappropriate.
Scams are more serious because the perpetrators are more sophisticated and the stakes higher, both financially and emotionally.
There are many different variations of online dating scams but generally a scammer posts fake profiles on online dating services, befriends online dating users and manipulates their emotions with the aim of extracting money from the victim.
“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.