Cyber Crime

Romance/Confidence Fraud

Almost all dating apps aim to provide a convenient, hassle free environment for you to find that perfect partner. But in reality, Tinder and most dating apps only seem to be able to find a lot of scammers.

These apps provide a very lucrative area for would be attackers to find prey. Because according to a recent study, users of these apps are very vulnerable to a large number of attacks; with male users clicking on 70% of the links that are sent to them by potential matches. [For reference Instagram ads have a click through rate of just 0.8%].

These apps are a haven for two main types of attackers:

  • Bots
  • Catfishers

If you use these apps, to be able to recognize these scammers is very useful, dating app scams led to losses of $363 Million in 2018 [Link].

BOTS

These are automated scripts, hidden behind fake profiles. They want to either swindle as much cash as they can from an unsuspecting user, or they want to gain the users personal information to make him even more vulnerable to future attacks.

Classic Bot Attacks

These types of attacks rely on sending the same message to a lot of people, the message usually contains a link promising illicit material of some sort. But the link ends up either redirecting you to download a malicious application, that would compromise your phone or just a phishing site that wants all of your personal information.
Either way these work on the probability that a naive user will click the link and get tricked.

New Age Bot Attacks

These attacks are a bit different, the bot is trained to try to start a conversation, maybe even reference the message you sent. But it will still send you a link or ask for your mobile number, only prefaced by a few misleading messages.
A few pointers to check if it’s a bot:

  • The profile only has a single image.
  • There is no description or if there is, it is very promiscuous.

Another way you could detect bots is through the use of Reverse Image Search.

Reverse Image Search

Google provides the feature to search for an image across the entire internet. Most scammers use publicly open social media profiles to dupe photos for their bots. In most cases, passing these profile photos through google images will redirect you back to those original social media profiles.

Cat-Fishing

This is the most hard to detect type of confidence/romance fraud. Here attackers actively try to trick you across the course of multiple weeks/months. They try to forge a relationship across a length of time, in the hopes that you will readily transfer money [Link] or give them personal information, after they have gained your trust.
Detecting catfishers is a very hard task, one of the most sure fire ways is to use the Reverse Image Search[link to explanation] explained above.

A catfisher under all circumstances tries to hide it’s true identity [Link], which means no video calls, face to face meetups or anything that would compromise his/her identity. Catfishers also frequently try to isolate their victim away from friends and family, to make the victim more vulnerable.

If you or anyone you know may be experiencing any of the above scenarios. We provide services to both report[link to report] and track down[link to tracer] attackers. Feel free to reach out.