They will painstakingly craft a fake profile and begin targeting people that are looking for love.
Once they’ve made contact, they will typically request to move the conversation to a private instant messaging service.
After discovering that his headshot consistently showed in hoax dating profiles (thanks to a Google alert), Army Master Sgt. “Over the past few years, I’ve seen these scammers use all kinds of photos removed from open Facebook pages, blogs, official military websites, and command pages,” he wrote in a blog post last month.“I’ve also seen my own photos and name used.” (The image of Grisham that was used by scammers is pictured, left) With a few of the largest player like OKCupid, Match, and others, there are precautionary measures in place.However, on smaller or niche dating sites like and datanta, there is no security system to spot a fraudster.(The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can’t get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs Romance Scams, a watchdog site and online support group.According to a recent Consumer Reports Online Dating Survey of more than 114,000 subscribers, among the respondents who were considering online dating but were hesitant, 46 percent said they were concerned about being scammed. “Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims,” says David Farquhar, Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI.“That big investment gives victims a false sense that the relationship must be real.” Eventually a pitch for money comes.Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.For this reason, Cupid.com, the online dating network behind and Black Match.com, announced a partnership this month with Rec Sys Ltd, an anti-scammer technology. With the new system, any individual identified as a scammer is added to the master database, which other online dating companies can access.To identify rogue behavior, the algorithm factors in the user’s login location, IP address, profile photo, and behavior patterns.We use 100% of these fees to fund our testing programs. It turns out that the crippling fear of an awkward first date is the least of your troubles.