A dating fraudster has revealed how they were able to take advantage of people looking for love online by creating fake accounts, obtaining information from social media profiles and building trust.
The fraudster, previously involved in deceiving people online, revealed that they would create fake accounts with social media platforms so that their details matched and could be searched. By appearing to be a real person their fake persona could be corroborated by prospective partners searching their background and believe them to be genuine.
The fraudster said “People like to live in fairy tales to say it won’t happen to me. I make sure all my conversations are bespoke. I will show insecurity myself about trusting people and this helps allude to them that I’m genuine.”
The fraudster will also utilise as many accessible online research tools to explore people’s information for their own personal gain or sell onwards. The fraudster elaborated and explained:
“I use various online directories to find out about the person. Once I have enough, I use it to milk everything I can using their details or sell them on to other fraudsters via the dark web”
When asked how people could check if a person is real. The romance fraudster offered advice for others searching for a relationship. They told us that after you see a picture of them:
“Ask for them to send you another photo of themselves posing with their thumbs up or waving. It’s like a form of 2 factor authentication and makes it hard to do if it’s not an original picture”
Romance fraud happens when a person thinks they have met the perfect partner through an online dating website, app, or through social media, but in fact a fraudster out to gain the person’s trust and ask for money or enough personal information to steal the victim’s identity.
Action Fraud is warning the public to spot the signs of romance fraud ahead of Valentine’s Day:
- Don’t rush into an online relationship – get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions.
- Analyse their profile and check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine.
- Talk to your friends and family about your dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.
- Evade scammers by never sending money to, or sharing your bank details with, someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them.
- Stay on the dating site messenger service until you’re confident the person is who they say they are. If you do decide to meet in person, make sure the first meeting is in a public place and let someone else know where you’re going to be.