French dating scams
French dating scams - Teens avatar online sexy dating
Social media has long allowed people to portray themselves as someone else.
They follow the same MO as "Robin Sage:" harvesting images from various social media and Web sources to create a persona that is believable to the type of victims they stalk—gullible men and women susceptible to flattery from an apparently attractive stranger in need.
And there are dozens of other fraud games being played out on Twitter and other platforms.
I've been gathering anecdotal data from a number of such accounts as they've attempted to prepare me for a lure.
Typically, the scammers will claim to be from obscure but relatable places—places that their targets would likely not know much about—or to be deployed overseas in the military.
In the case above, "she" claimed to be from Michigan and, when pressed for more details, said she was originally from "Newcastle UK." "She" could not provide coherent details about either location.
Thousands of accounts involved in the ongoing campaign have been suspended.
But that has hardly put a dent in the efforts of scammers, who move on to set up new accounts and run new scams.
When I expressed doubt about "her" actual location, "she" replied, "Am not here to be 100 percent to anyone." I threw a link to a website I controlled into the chat.
"She" clicked it, revealing that the user behind the account was in Nigeria.
I've spent hours on the phone with tech support scammers, and I've hunted down bot networks spreading fake news.
But for some reason, I've lately become a magnet for an entirely different sort of scammer—a kind that uses social media platforms to run large-scale wire-fraud scams and other confidence games.
I found the followers of one account that approached me included accounts using stolen images associated with a number of previous Instagram romance scams.