What do the scammers look like? A lot less good looking than the photos they steal.

http://scamsurvivors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=1861 has an entire rogues’ gallery of real scammer photos.  Check it out if you want to see what the person talking to you REALLY looks like.  We call them “Mug(u) shots”.  Here’s why.  Scammers refer to their victims as magas.  It means “fool”.  If they want to insult you, then they’ll call you a mugu.  That means “big fool”.  So “mug(u) shots” is a play on “mugu” and “mug shots”.

Males are targeted more than females in romance scams.

The percentage of males romance scammed compared to females is considerably higher.  While the West African scammers target both males and females, scammers from Russia and Ukraine almost exclusively target males.  Reports of these scammers targeting females are rare, as are ones of females becoming victims of a blackmail scam that didn’t originate as a romance one.  It’s also worth noting that almost all romance scammers are males, no matter what the gender of the profiles they use.  Some may use females to take photos or calls as part of the scam, but the people behind them are male.

Bots on dating sites trying to encourage people to join other sites.

Below is a typical bot message on one dating site that attempts to lure people to another site.  First the original German it was sent in, then the badly translated English version.  How do you feel about this practice?  Should sites be allowed to do this?

hi schönes bild habe interesse an dir bist mein typ

ich selber habe kein profil hier schreibe dir von mein besten freundin aus melde dich bitte bei (hinaa.de ) an mein nik ( Candy ) die seite ist kostenlos schau dir mein bilder an bitte dann kanst du mich auch wieder hier anschreiben ,, mal sehen ob du auch interesse hast

lg na


hi nice picture have interest in you’re my type

I myself do not have a profile here.  I’m writing you from my best friend from connecting please log in (hinaa.de) to my nick (Candy) the site is free to check out pictures then please can you me here again,, write times to see my if you also interest

na lg

It’s amazing the things scammers will send you. Take this illuminati scam email for example:

As the xmas season approaches, we are offering membership to all interested persons. Do you want to become a member of the illuminati and gain all you seek in life, we can give you all you want to acheive in life; wealth, power, fame, influence, popularity etc. Here is a chance for you to achieve your dream, just contact us now via email:

Experienced a bad dating site?

Have you had a bad experience with a dating site?  Been billed after you shut your account?  Sent messages from fake profiles?  Had to deal with bad customer service?  Now’s your chance to tell everyone about it.  We’ve created a new site called www.baddatingsites.com for people to share their experiences both good and bad on dating sites?  Did Match mess up?  Badoo make a boo boo?  OKcupid a POS?  let us know.  www.baddatingsites.com

How can we tell where a scam originated from just by looking at it?

People are often surprised how we can tell where a scam email came from so quickly.  It’s actually very simple.  Certain parts of the world tend to specialise in certain types of scam.  For example, refugee scams will typically come from Senegal, whereas translation agency scams are usually sent from Ukraine.  If an email mentions a refugee camp then the odds of it being from Ukraine pretty slim to none.  Add to that things like the wording of an email, and we can usually tell pretty accurately where a scam has come from simply by taking a short glance at it looking for those tell tale signs.  It’s something that comes from experience, but something anyone can learn.

Love at First Swipe?

We had this media request today if anyone’s interested.


Love at First Swipe?


Looking to hook up? Or searching for your soulmate?

Are you an online dating app virgin? Or King or Queen of the dating app scene?

Do you use online dating apps as a way to meet people?

Or do you log on with friends just for a bit of fun?

Perhaps you’ve found true love through an online dating app?

Or had your share of online dating app disasters?


We would like to hear your online dating app stories

for a Channel 4 documentary.


To find out more, please email dating@rizeusa.com


There is no obligation to take part in the documentary.

What can you do to help us help others?

The most important thing we do is get scammer information into the public domain.  People often ask us what they can do to help.  The answer is very simple.  Help us get those details out.  We don’t recommend actively chasing scammers, but if you do get contacted by a scammer, post their details up.  An email address and the email itself can help save someone from potentially losing thousands, but only if it’s available for people to see.


I had a long chat on the phone today with the FTC, thanks to Marc Lesnick from @idateconference that was very interesting and very constructive.  Hopefully this will lead to making other contacts that can benefit both us and the awareness of scams in the future.