Aspiring online dating scammers can purchase a package that contains everything they need to execute an online dating scam, according to a report by a renowned security researcher.
Security expert Brian Krebs, who uncovered last year’s massive Ashley Madison hack, recently published his review of a Russian dating scam package that is available online to scammers that want to target vulnerable singles.
The package consists of dating scam instructions, template emails, pictures, videos and love letters, which can be purchased by fraudsters to help them with their scams.
The particular scam the package wants to help execute is entrapping lonely men into thinking Russian women have fallen in love with them, then asking for money because of a sudden crisis, or because they want to meet.
According to Krebs, the scamming kit advises customers to stick to the package’s “tried-and-true approach”, which includes encouraging the criminals to send emails from the mother of the “girl” within the first 10 emails exchanged with a victim.
This tactic works to give the scam greater legitimacy and therefore makes the victim more likely to believe the con.
Krebs also outlines how the pack gives template excuses for avoiding phone calls and video chats, which he describes as “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.”
The scam package was intercepted by Alex Holden, a peer of Krebs and security expert with Hold Security, and is marketed to Russian-speaking hackers, and includes templates written in English and other European languages.
The for-sale pack guarantees a response rate of at least 1.2%, and says if scammers send 30 letters every day, they could make $2,000 a week.
In addition to this, Krebs says the seller claims his method is “more than 20% effective within three replies and over 60% effective after eight.”
The package intercepted by Holden also includes another fascinating element – the details of, and offer to use, so-called “crooked call centres”.
Dating scammers can pay to use these call centres, where women will pretend to be the love interest, to finally coax money out of the victim.
Krebs reveals that the call centres hire both male and female con artists who can speak various languages, and charge scammers $10 for each phone call made, which can only be paid by Bitcoin.
Speaking about the call centres, which will be the focus of a forthcoming report by Krebs, Hold Security founder Alex Holden said: “If you imagine the cost of doing by phone every part of the scam, it’s rather high, so they do most of the scam via email.
“What we tend to see with these dating scams is the scammer will tell the call center operator to be sure to mention special nicknames and to remind him of specific things they talked about in their email correspondence.”
We have reached out to Krebs and experts in online dating scams for further comment on the scam package, and will update with any new information we receive.
Check out the full post on Brian Krebs’ site here.