In the days before Coronavirus and Lockdowns, there was always a great many dating offer emails, text messages, social media messages etc. These aim to entice men into believing that an attractive young woman is interested in them and wants a relationship.
Even with Coronavirus present, these messages still get sent out albeit in a slightly different form.
“Travel currently harder because of danger COVID-19 but this is good opportunity to get acquainted online”.
The message has a description of how attractive the non-existent 34 year old blonde woman is and then the qualities she is looking for in a man, including:-
Good sense of humour
Likes to surprise
Older than 35
These qualities are carefully chosen to pick the men the scammer wants to entice and to enable almost any man to feel he fits those criteria.
e.g. the older than 35 is to try to exclude men who are jobless or unlikely to have sufficient money to be worth conning.
For any man who falls for this con, there are a series of scams this leads into.
The most basic is just to get personal details that can be sold to other criminals. The more advanced scams lead to a series of payments as with standard romance scams or sometimes this leads to full scale identity theft.
Before Coronavirus, the scammers had to think up reasons why they could never meet up in person (that would show that the “attractive blonde woman” is actually a thieving male) but Coronavirus is the perfect excuse – no travel allowed.
If someone you do not know makes such an offer – it’s fake.
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Words with Friends is a word game for multiple players. Players take turns building words in a manner similar to the classic board game Scrabble. But it also has a social media element to it.
Players can trade instant messages with opponents during each match.
This is where scammers want to join in. They typically target older people who may be lonely and ask lots of questions to get to know their victims and build rapport through appearing to be interested, using compliments and discussing their own fabricated life.
One common story is of a man who claims to be a widowed engineer working aboard ships on the high seas. As each match proceeds, the man (often named Owen) shares that his wife had died in childbirth, and that his daughter is being raised by a cousin or a nurse while he worked aboard ship.
Eventually, after months, catastrophe strikes Owen. His daughter needs an operation that costs $20,000, but Owen is stuck aboard a ship of the coast of Turkey, or some other remote place. Owen then asks the woman player for money.
He will bleed the victim of money until she stops paying and he may have numerous victims on the go at any time.
This scam also works with female scammers chasing lonely old men.
Stay safe From Scammers:
Don’t play online games with people you don’t know in real life.
If you do play the game with strangers — then don’t share personal information. The more questions a stranger asks you — the more suspicious you should become.
Change your profile picture to something less likely to attract the attentions of a scammer e.g. a picture of your dog or anyone’s dog rather than you.
Never send money to people you don’t know.
When in doubt: research your opponent to see if they are a real person or just a scammer’s imagination.
If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.