Scammers Can Easily Fake Web Cam Videos
When it comes to scams, never believe what you see. In a new online dating con, scammers are using recorded webcam footage and stolen photos to disguise themselves as attractive American, Canadian, or European singles.
How the Scam Works:
You meet someone through a dating website, and you are falling in love. He/she sends you gushing emails, and you chat over webcam. One thing is a bit strange, though. Whenever you make plans to meet in person, your new friend always has a reason to postpone.
Finally, after a few months or weeks, he/she asks you for money. The reasons given vary. Maybe he/she lost a job and needs a loan, or she/he has an unexpected medical expense.
After you send the cash, you find that your new sweetheart suddenly stops communicating. (Or maybe he/she sticks around long enough to ask for another loan.)
You’ve been scammed! But more than that, your love interest may not have been a real person at all. Scammers are increasingly using recorded webcam footage and pilfered photos to create fake online personas… all to trick singles into sending thousands of dollars.
How the Scammers Do it?
Scammers spend weeks inside webcam chat rooms collecting footage, likely of someone who doesn’t even know he/she is being recorded. Then, they search Facebook and other websites to obtain photos for use in a fake dating profile. They actually pay teams of gatherers toi do this for the larger gangs of scammers.
When the victim chats with his/her new “love interest,” they are really seeing the recorded footage. Scammers edit the video and bookmark sections for easy reference. For example, the victim may see a woman in the webcam typing, while the scammer writes “[Name], look at this new dress I got today” on the chat screen. Then, the scammer plays footage of the woman standing up to show off the dress.
How to Spot a Fake Online Dating Persona:
If you date online, watch out for the following warning signs:
- Your love interest always has an excuse to postpone a video meeting. Be wary of someone who is constantly “traveling” or happens to be working overseas.
- During a webcam chat, he/she doesn’t respond to an unexpected request. One way to test for pre-recorded footage is to ask them to do something and see if they react. Scammers will likely pause the video and claim they are having connection problems.
- Many people lie on their dating profiles, but watch out for discrepancies between the profile claims and the webcam/photos. For example, the scammer may write in a profile that their fake persona is blonde but use webcam footage of a brunette.
- Watch out for someone whose writing style indicates they are a non-native English speaker even though they claim to be local. Most scammers behind this con are located overseas.
- Test them about their local knowledge, such as “where was that MickyD on [X] street” wthey won’t know local slang or local locations
- Finally, be wary of profiles that are vague, use glamour shots and are looking for someone within a huge age range.