The result, Scamalytics, is a company that’s able not only to identify a number of key profile traits—in the “low hundreds,” says Winchester—but to measure how they play against one another for a more complete picture of who’s real and who’s swindling.“Features that in isolation may not give you too much information, in combination become much more powerful,” says Winchester.“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.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.Money that was over-invoiced, or left in a will unclaimed.The online dating 419 scam works in a similar way, though it's usually adapted to maximise the opportunity online dating provides, in these ways: We have found that the online dating version of the 419 scam tends to involve smaller amounts of money than the classic 419 scams, which usually involve millions of dollars. Here are some common examples: Or any variation on the above.That’s not to say they’re the most effective; many, in fact, perform grammatical acrobatics that barely qualify as English.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.
But there are unifying themes: You may have received emails in your inbox with strange, unsolicited business proposals, perhaps asking you for help moving money in or out of Nigeria.
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.
If you are in a correspondence with somebody who fits the description above and you suspect they are a scammer, here's what to do.
If you have already sent money to somebody abroad, the chances are you have been scammed.
An exotic stranger needs help, and you’re the only one able to provide it.