The truth behind dating app scams has now been revealed in new research revealing the telltale signs of a Tinder scammer.
Scientists have mapped out the main personality traits of romance scammers an attempt to crack down on cybercrime.
Flattery, pet names, and personal questions are some of the many ways criminals can try to reel you in before asking for help with money.
Many fraudulent accounts also pose as military servicemen – emotionally manipulating partners before demanding emergency funds.
The research from Abertay University comes at a time when romance tricks are on the rise, scamming many around the world out of money.
Flattery and pet names are some ways a scammer can lure you in (stock image)
TYPICAL PROPERTIES OF A TINDER SWINDER
- Idealistic profile: In Italy, many scammers pose as real estate agents, while those in the Philippines pose as salespeople.
- Military personality: Scammers often pose as military men to portray an image of authority.
- Flattery: Fraudsters can pile on compliments and pet names, indicating a strong desire.
- Request money: Cybercriminals may claim that they need money to help relatives or escape an emergency.
Shimon Heyada Hayut – also known as the Tinder scammer – is a famous example of this, as he allegedly scammed several women into giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Dr. Lynsay A Shepherd, who worked on the study, explained TechXplore: ‘Romantic fraud remains a growing problem, and research in this area is important to reduce victimization.
“Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to scam people, which is why it is essential to research and find new ways to protect people from these scams.”
As part of the study, experts screened 232 newspapers looking for information on scam relationship profiles, countermeasures and targeted victims.
Just over 40 of these were deemed relevant, allowing experts to summarize key signals from fraudsters in a final analysis.
Usually scams started with a profile, often put together to present an ideal appearance of a desirable partner.
This varied depending on country of origin, with many Italian profiles posing as real estate agents, while Filipinos were generally drawn to fake sales careers.
Many scammers were also seen taking on a military appearance that was sometimes tactfully used to solicit for emergency money.
The career of a fraudulent profile often varies depending on your home country (stock image)
Once app users fall for these profiles, fraudsters generally use a number of persuasion techniques to foster intimacy and trust.
These can be lyrical phrases, pet names and flattery to indicate a strong desire for a partner.
Women between the ages of 35 and 54 were often believed to be targeted, especially if they had limited internet experience and a poor understanding of scams.
Researchers wrote, “Most of the studies in our review contributed to romance fraud profiling by building process models to describe the progression of the scam, or by analyzing language patterns and persuasion techniques used by the scammers when interacting with their victims.
“These findings may help develop improved detection and mitigation techniques and drive the development of practical training and awareness programs.”
Shimon Heyada Hayut – aka the Tinder scammer – is a famous example of this, as he allegedly scammed multiple women into giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars
When the victims are finally addicted, scammers can start asking for money in different ways.
Military-style accounts often asked for money to escape an emergency – whether it was health or the inability to access funds.
Providing assistance to relatives was another important excuse for fraudulent requests for money, in addition to the need for food and medicine.
Now that these details are in hand, experts hope that more prevention programs will emerge, helping online daters stay away from high-risk situations.
Obviously, many studies have already proposed the idea of using machine learning detectors to block fraudulent profiles from dating sites.
But currently there is a lack of common data that can be used to test this, severely limiting its development.
Romance fraud continues to be an arms race between cybercriminals and bona fide online daters. As new attacks emerge and existing ones evolve, future research will need to keep pace with the perpetrators and develop new ways to prevent attacks and provide engaging training and awareness programs and effective detection and response to incidents,” the researchers wrote.