From time to time we will review dating websites for Scammer Activity.
MEDIUM Risk Website
Cupid.com, from our own observations appears to have a medium to low percentage of Scammers from Africa and Eastern Europe. They make up the minority of new profiles on their website from what we have seen, but they are still there. We have also observed that they also make it very difficult to notify them of a found scammer. In fact,we could not find a way to notify them, only a "block" button, which leaves the scammer to go after others. The only mechanism appears to be their general "Contact Us" page. In actuality, because it is a small number, in comparison to sites like POF or Confiro or Badoo, it makes the scammers that are there more powerful, since you don't expect them. It is for these reasons that we feel they are a MEDIUM Risk - though they could rate a lower risk if they gave the power to their member to report scammers much more easily.
The scammers engage in messages, since most of their activity involves creating "Trial" memberships, so in the trial period they can contact you freely and try to get you onto yahoo messenger or email quickly.
Note: the person pictured above is a reported scammer named Selena Morgan. For more information please refer to this profile on VK.com: http://vk.com/id192598176 - note the parts about Africa!!! (see below)
Another example we found doing a search by user name of the word "Gifty" (which is a dead giveaway scammer code word) found dozens of scammer profiles. It appears Cupid.com management doesn't follow this Anti-scammer website! Similarly other code words yielded similar results! Perhaps they should hire us as an Anti-Scammer consultant, since we know the scammer genome-type far better than they do!
Scammers are fairly easy to spot from the following:
- Anyone that uses a last name (though this is only about 10% of the scammers that do this)
- Anyone that lists a ridiculous age range, such as "Wants to date with guys, 23-65" - but you will also see "Wants to date with guys, older than 30"
- Look at the age of the person and the photo - they will not match - it is possible that a real person is not using recent photos, but do you want to talk to them anyway?
- Look at the Verification: they have text message phone numbers so this means nothing, they have Facebook and Google plus accounts so this means nothing too!
- Look at their location. For example: they list Miami or Los Angeles - we all know that ever big metro areas have numerous districts and towns within them, but they list the generic place.
- They tend to cluster in certain towns and cities. Testing their knowledge about these proves fatal to them, so they generally don't answer these questions (go on Google and look up some business in that town that a local should know) (local parks and landmarks are also good tests)
- Real people have a lot of photos - scammers generally have a couple too about 6 - one trick they use is to reload them several times to make it look like they have a larger album
- When your popularity goes up, you are probably being scanned by the scammers, especially as time goes by - since this site is all about "Who's New"
- On-line hours - real people are usually on-line in normal hours for your time zone - very late at night is a hint that it's a scammer.
- Military personnel - scammers love to impersonate military personnel, but don't get Military structure - if you do, use it to your advantage - they are great ways to catch them in stupid answers.
- Look at their interests - you will find odd and out dated interests, like: CSI Real people have quirky interests, and interests that are local and make sense. Or they have NONE Also, if they have an interest that you don't recognize, Google it - if it is mostly European or African - run away!
- Anyone that claims to be using a family member or friends profile is a give away, and a violation of the site's terms and conditions - by definition they are impersonating someone else
- Look at the age, a common mistake is that they put they year of birth in as their age! Stupid scammers!
- In messaging, the scammers trip themselves up in several ways!
- Claim they have languages they don't have
- Use scammer grammar - watch for it
- Refuse to answer questions about their town in detail
- Don't seem to read previous message posts that should be right in front of them
- By pass certain topics
- If you mention scammers they claim not to know what you are talking about
- If you catch one and confront them, they don't know what you mean - a real person accused of being a scammer would be upset
- If you ask out of the blue: "Do you live in a suburb or Accra or in the city proper" (same for Lagos)
As a user on the site, we suggest that you make your photos PRIVATE. That way you can share them when you want, but keep them hidden from the scammers.
We strongly urge Cupid.com to do the right thing, and do a comparison between the location given for the profile and the login IP addresses - this is easy tech and something all dating sites should do. If they don't match, send them for a human review or delete them - this is the best way to restore faith in your site!
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