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The Truth About Online Dating Scams, Fake Personal Ads and Chat Room Bots

Updated on May 25, 2010

You answer an ad in a personal posted at Craigslist. She responds back asking that you sign up at a website to see her profile. What's the deal? Online dating scams using fake personal ads are all over the place in the world of Online Dating. There is good money in praying on innocent, lonely individuals.

There are many ways it's done and it becomes such a downer when trying to find a date online and never knowing if the person who's personal you just read and enjoyed belongs to a real person, or to some low life affiliate marketer just trying to get you to sign up for something using a fake personal ad.

As a woman, when I was doing online dating, I never encountered one of these marketing tactics using fake personal ads, or responding trying to get me to sign up for something. They are out there targeting the feminine half of the online dating population, buts its much less of an issue for women. For men however, it's seems to be a regular part of trying to meet someone new through online dating. After posting my own personal on Craigslist, many of the responses I would get mentioned that the guy didn't know if I was a real person or if I was just another fake personal ad. After getting so many e-mails mentioning this I realized this is a huge issue.

Cute Couple
Cute Couple

Why the Online Dating Scam?

So why are these online dating scams so prevalent? Obviously it's the money. But there are so many ways to make money, why are these guys spending so much time with bothering men who are just trying to find a date? Because their methods get great returns.

For every guy these scammers can get to sign up for a free membership to a dating website, they can make a few dollars. Get a guy to sign up for a paid membership somewhere, the scammer can get much more and in some cases residual earnings on the subscription renewals.

What Kind Of Tools Are In A Online Dating Scammers Tool Belt

  • E-mail Auto-Responders - These send automated messages to every e-mail that comes into the scammers inbox
  • Pictures of Girls - Easily found online and in other profiles. They steal pictures of cute but normal looking girls to get the best responses
  • Video of webcams - downloaded onto their computer are videos of girls on webcams. These are just regular girls typing and smiling. They will run these while you talk to them to make it look like your talking to a real person. They will tell you they will get naked on webcam, but that you have to sign up through a website so that they know they aren't doing a show for an underage boy.
  • fake personal ads and profiles. Completed and left alone in a variety of towns.
  • bot programs that generate automated posts in chat rooms and in Instant messages
  • Plenty of affiliate marking programs to earn money though by getting lonely guys to sign up.
  • Link Cloakers so you can't tell that the link is an affiliate link


What Online Dating Scams Do They Use?

  • Many of these online dating scammers start by posting a personal ad on craigslist or somewhere similar posing as a cute girl looking for a date. When the responses starting coming in, an auto-responder e-mails the guy back and sends a link to sign up for a dating site so that he can see this imaginary cute girl's profile.
  • Some scammers pretend to be female escorts. The guy looking for the escort is told by the scammer that he needs to do a credit card age verification before she will set up the date to verify that he is of legal age. This is also known as the craigslist age verification scam. Its one of the most popular methods being used at this time to make money off of singles. The age verification scam is used for more then just escort type ads. While many women do name and e-mail searches on Google for a little impromptu background check, age verification for dating is a bit much and not on the agenda. Be on the look out for it, nobody REAL has any legal reason to check your age.
  • In chat rooms, scammers create a profile of a cute girl. Then they wait for guys to start a private instant message. After a short talk, the cute girl tells the guy she secretly does webcam for guys and asks if he wants to see it. She tells him where to go and once he signs up at the webcam site. She's gone. The scammer got paid for the webcam site sign up.

Online Dating Can Work
Online Dating Can Work

How Do I Avoid These?

Because these online dating scams are everywhere, it's hard not to run into them. The best thing to do is just learn how to avoid them so you won't get taken in and convinced to do something by someone who is not who they say they are.

  • Don't sign up for anything. There is no reason a girl would ask you to go look at her profile on some other dating website. If she's real, she's already got direct communication with you if you are now e-mailing.
  • Real girls are not fishing for guys in chat rooms to view their webcam or their porn pictures. Real girls who do webcam or porn just do it, the traffic comes to them, they don't have to go looking for it.
  • Any girl that asks to verify your age using a credit card verification is not really a girl. Girls look for your myspace page, they try to do name searches to see if you are who you say you are. They do not ask for you to enter a credit card into a verification site to proof your age.

What's Up With Chat Room Bots

Why are there so many bots in chat rooms? Using automated programs. It is easy for a scammer to have these run automatically under many different names in many different chat rooms. Due to the shear number of posts they are able to make in chat rooms, odds are lonely guys will IM to talk. Then the automated program has a chance to share a link with the guy.

They continue to flood chat rooms because there are guys out there that will still click on the links given by the bots and earn money for the scammer. The scammer barely had to do anything to get but set the program.

Occasionally there will be a real spammer guy on the other end, he will talk to the lonely IM responder for a few minutes, enough to get him interested, then offer the link to whatever dating, porn, webcam site he is trying to get sign ups on. How automated the method is all depends on how much money the spammer has put into his methods. Sometimes there's no automation at all. Just a guy who's willing to put 10 minutes of work into trying to get a lonely guy to make him $25+.

How Do I Know She's Real?

When you first e-mail her, you won't know. The really good fake personal ads are hard to spot. You just have to take a chance, don't revel anything you aren't comfortable with anybody knowing, and hope she responds back.

Scammers are looking for quick turn around. They won't waste to much time on a mark. So if her first reply back to you doesn't have a link in it. You can pretty much determine it's a real person your talking to and not an e-mailĀ  autoresponder. Move forward, get her phone number. The best way to know she's a real person? Call her and make a date and meet her!

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