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Dating scam package offered in the underground

Pierluigi Paganini
January 05, 2016

The popular security expert Brian Krebs has reviewed a dating scam package offered in the underground by Russians fraudsters.

Russians fraudsters have automated the sale of plug-and-play online dating scam packages. As usual happens in these cases, these services are offered on underground websites specialised in online frauds,  crooks promise a response rate of 1.2 percent from potential victims.

The popular security expert Brian Krebs has reviewed a package of dating material including scam emails, pictures, instructions, videos and love letter templates that are offered for sale to fraudsters in the underground.

The use of a dating scam package could be very profitable, the fraudsters that are offering it state that customers who average 30 scam letters per day can expect to earn roughly $2,000 a week, not so bad!

“The romance scam package is designed for fraudsters who prey on lonely men via dating Web sites and small spam campaigns. The vendor of the fraud package advertises a guaranteed response rate of at least 1.2 percent, and states that customers who average 30 scam letters per day can expect to earn roughly $2,000 a week.” states Brian Krebs in a Blog post. “The proprietor also claims that his method is more than 20% effective within three replies and over 60% effective after eight.”

The crooks behind the dating scam package analyzed by Krebs also highlight that their material is more than 20% effective within three replies and over 60% effective after eight.

The dating scam package packages also include blacklists for email addresses of known whitehat security who can hamper their business.

Dating scam package (Brian Krebs)

Dating scam package (Brian Krebs)

It means Russians will be able to send higher quality emails that follow a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure model in which scammers can use various text trees to con hopeful men.

Russian fraudsters are able to craft and send high-quality scam emails, the sample emails follow the Mad Libs or choose-your-own-adventure text models.

The scammer pretends to be a young woman in a desolate region of Russia who is searching for a new life.

In order to add legitimacy to the dating fraud scheme, fraudsters are urged to include an email from the mother of the girl in the first 10 emails between the scammer and a potential victim. The scammer pretends to be a young woman in an isolated or desolate region of Russia who is desperate for a new life, and the email from the girl’s supposed mother is intended to add legitimacy to the scheme.

Krebs noticed that although Russia is a hostile country toward homosexuals, the proprietor of the dating scam package included templates for targeting gay men.

The fraud scheme requires about a dozen emails are exchanged between victims and scammers before they are invited to establish a phone contact. The victims are redirected to a call centre staffed by women who play the part of the desperate girl.

In this phase, the girls explain they need money to get a travel visa and request a money transfer for an amount between $200 and $2,000 on average.

The call center is anyway an expensive option for fraudsters that prefer to use it in the most important phases of romance scams, in some cases, a call center charges $10 per call, payable only in Bitcoin.

Dating scams are a profitable business in the criminal ecosystem so it natural that fraudsters start looking with increasing interest to a product like a dating scam package.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – dating scam package, fraud)

 



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