“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.Also included in the dating scam tutorial is a list of email addresses and pseudonyms favored by anti-scammer vigilantes who try to waste the scammers’ time and otherwise prevent them from conning real victims.“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].
There has to be some kind of distress situation for this person to be duped into wiring money, which can be anywhere between $200 and $2,000 on average.” Crooked call centers like the one pictured in the screen shot above employ male and female con artists who speak a variety of languages.
When the call center employees are not being hired to close the deal on a romance scam, very often they are used to assist in bank account takeovers, redirecting packages with shipping companies, or handling fraudulent new credit applications that require phone verification.
Then there are dozens of pre-fabricated excuses for not talking on the phone, an activity reserved for the final stretch of the scam when the fraudster typically pretends to be stranded at the airport or somewhere else en route to the target’s home town.
“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.
The romance scam package is designed for fraudsters who prey on lonely men via dating Web sites and small spam campaigns.