The Problem with Fake User Profiles (Part 2)
As we discussed in Part 1 of this 2-part blog, dating websites are full of fake user profiles. Chatting with strangers means you are never sure who you are really chatting with. In Part 2, let’s discuss fake profiles created by real users to scam people or as marketing purposes and fake profiles created or bought by the dating website itself to boost traffic and subscription to their sites.
Fake dating profiles from scammers.
Scammers use dating websites to find victims. Posing as a very attractive woman or man on a dating website can lead to hundreds of contacts with people all interested in love or at least interested some human connection.
After chatting with their victim for a few minutes or a few weeks, the scammer will usually ask for some financial help for example to buy a plane ticket to come and visit the victim. It goes without saying that once the victim has transferred the money, the scammer will disappear or give some excuse on why they could not travel. The money is also sometimes asked for medical treatment, or any other important and urgent need.
These profiles are harder to identify because they are not necessarily “fake” in the sense that the photo may be real. What is fake is the intent to find love or a relationship based on trust.
Fake dating profiles created by real users for marketing purposes.
Dating websites have what is called, “affiliates programs.” This means that dating websites pay lots of money to anyone who will bring users to their sites. Payment can go from USD 5.00 to more than USD 100 per users brought in. One tactic used to make money is to create very attractive fake profiles on dating website with high traffic, wait for users to show interest and then in chat tell these interested users to come and connect on another dating or chatting platform. Once the interested users have created the account on the other website, money will be transferred to person operating the fake profile.
Fake dating profiles crated or bought by the dating websites.
Like all businesses dating website exist to make money. For a dating website to be attractive to its users, it needs lots of attractive profiles.
The easiest way to have lots of attractive profiles it simply to create or buy fake profiles. Just Google “buy dating profiles” and you will find companies selling hundreds of thousands of profiles for extremely low amounts. So that these fake profiles are active many dating websites will hire “hosts” and “hostesses” to chat with users when people are interested in these fake profiles. Each host or hostess then will answer messages sent to dozens of fake profiles.
Imagine a job where you chat 8 hours a day with hundreds of different people pretending you are interested in them. Some dating websites are actually so sophisticated that they send fake automated messages from fake profiles one or two days before the subscriptions of users ends to encourage them to sign up for another period.
The good thing is that these fake profiles operated by the dating websites themselves are usually easy to spot. Read our blog entry on how to detect fake profiles here.
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