What can you do to protect your images?

Scammers will steal whatever they can, and that includes photos of real people.  To stop them stealing yours, watermark them.  Not just a small one in the corner.  Make it a big watermark that’s impossible to crop out.  If you run a website, add the URL to it.  If you have twitter, add your name.  The harder it is to steal, the less likely they are to.

76. The answer is 76.

The question?  How many different scammers contacted my fake dating profile on a single site in a single month.  Multiply that by 12 and you’re looking at over 900 scammers a year.   Remember, this is just for one profile on one site.  It’s not even a particularly special profile.  It’s about as ordinary and boring as I could make it.  We also never approach the scammer, but let them come to us.  Imagine what the true figure for the amount of people scammed on dating sites is.

A typical example of a “dying widow” scam.

Dear Friend,

Greetings In The Name Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am Evangelist  Mrs.Chimezie Chimu  a widow to late Richard Williams
Jim, I am 53 yrs old, I am now a new Christian convert, suffering from
long time cancer of the breast, from all indication my condition is
really deteriorating and it’s quit obvious that I won’t live more than
two months, According to my doctors.

This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. My
late husband was killed during the U.S raid against terrorism in
Afghanistan, and during the period of our marriage we had a 23 yrs old
son who died in an auto crash three years ago. My late husband was
very wealthy and after his death I inherited all his business and
wealth. The doctor has advice me that I may not live for more than few
months(two month), so I now decided to divide the part of this wealth,
to contribute to the development of the churches in Africa, America,
Asia and also in Europe. I prayed over it.

I am willing to donate the sum of Twelve Million, Five Hundred
Thousand United State Dollars (USD$12,500,000.00) to the less
privileged, widows, widowers and real churches. Please I want you to
note that this fund is lying in a security company in Europe and upon
my instruction, my attorney who is presently in Asia to distributing
relief materials to the victims of the bomb blast in Hong Kong and
even in some parts of India, will direct you on how to file in an
application for the transfer of the money into your own private bank
account in your name.

Lastly, I honestly pray that this money when transferred to you, will
be used for the said purpose, because I have come to find out that
wealth acquisition without Christ is vanity. May the Grace of our Lord
Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with
you and your family in Jesus name. amen.

I await your urgent reply. Please, kindly get back to me on my private
E-mail address: chimeziechimu71@yahoo.com if you are willing to help
me to execute this devine charity project, please reply me immediately
for further details and directive.

Yours In Christ.
Evangelist
Mrs.Chimezie Chimu

Vigilante? Hardly.

Vigilante is one of those words we hear thrown around about baiters.  It makes it sound so glamorous.  In reality it couldn’t be any further from the truth.  Most of what we do is in fact pretty mundane.  Certainly I can spend the first 2 hours of the day doing nothing but copy and pasting emails I’ve received from scammers onto our forum, then copy and pasting messages from my fake dating site profiles.  The fun stuff you see with us getting scammers to pose for stupid photos, sing songs down the phone or travel across the border only comes to about 1% of what we do.  The only way we could compare to Batman is if Batman spent all day sitting in front of a computer screen watching CCTV footage from Gotham, then calling the police if he sees a robbery taking place.  You’re not going to see us with our underwear on the outside.  Well, not in public anyway, but that’s a whole other story….

Something to be aware of when it comes to apps.

If you have an app that’s linked to your Facebook profile, then running it can reactivate it without your knowledge.  This is of concern for those who have deactivated their FB accounts after being blackmailed.  Best advice right now is don’t run those apps for 2 weeks, along with deactivating your social media accounts.

What is a “car wrap” scam?

You’ve all seen cars that are covered in adverts for various energy drinks or other products. This is called car wrapping, as you literally “wrap” the car in decals for the product. It seems like easy money, especially if you have a car or bike that would attract attention anyway. There are legitimate companies that offer people money to display their products this way, but of course there are also scammers who will use this as the basis of their scam.
This is how the scam works. The scammer will mass email people, using the name of a popular product that is known for paying people to wrap their cars. They agree to send you a check for payment, plus an amount they claim needs to be sent to the company that will provide the decals via a money transfer service. This is how the scam works. The company doesn’t exist. It’s really the scammer. The check will be fake or stolen. Scammers pay “mules” to ship the checks out from their country to make it appear more legitimate. The main warning flags with this one are the fact that they expect you to pay the company to place the ads on your car from the check they send you, money is paid up front rather than after a period of time from your beginning the program and that they ask you to send the money to the company via money transfer service.

New site logo.

So today we put up a new site logo.  It’s similar to the old one, but also completely different.  “Why the change?” I hear you say.  Simple.  Size matters.  Our old logo looked great on PC screens, but shrink it down for a tablet or mobile phone and it was kind of hard to read.  We’ve stretched out the wording, so the site’s name is much more legible on those hand held devices.  The font, effects and background (what I refer to as the “lozenge”) are still all there, but now the name goes across the entire length.  We haven’t forgotten our slogan, “No longer a victim.  No longer alone.”.  It’s still there, still an integral part of our site philosophy, but now moved to below the logo.  It’s also easier to read now.  Hope you like it.  Odds are it’ll be tweaked over the next few days in order to get it “just so”.

Will we be at the UK Dating Awards this month?

Um, no.  We were asked to nominate ourselves, but then I read that to do so would cost us over £30.  £30 to us is about 10 days’ hosting fees.  We run on a very small budget that comes from ads and member donations.  In fact, if they don’t cover the fees, then the difference comes out of my own pocket.  We’re not a company, but a small group of volunteers that give our time freely to help people.  Can I justify spending that kind of money from our coffers on the off chance that we’ll be shortlisted?  Of course not.  Add to that the £85 for a ticket to attend the awards, a train ticket to get there and having to book a hotel for the night and you’re talking over 3 months’ worth of money we could have used to keep the site going.  For big companies it’s chump change.  The price of a meeting with a client.  I know what I’d rather spend the money on.  So good luck to those who will be there, but you won’t see ScamSurvivors represented.  We decided to say no, spend the money on keeping our site running and helping those who have been scammed instead.  But thanks for the invitation to nominate ourselves.