iDate 2015 in Las Vegas.

I’ll be speaking at the iDate conference in Las Vegas on January 22nd.  It’s a huge event for the dating site industry and will give us an opportunity to meet with site owners and hopefully find ways to work with them on dealing with romance scams.  If you want to read more about the conference, go to http://idate2015.com

Why???

How on earth can a person go to a site called SCAMsurvivors, click on a section on the forum called “refugee SCAMS”, see documents watermarked with “sent by SCAMMER” there and STILL write a post in the thread asking them to contact them believing they’re real?  The really scary thing is that it’s actually a pretty regular occurrence on our forum.

Real accountants don’t use @accountant.com

Beware of emails with a job title in the name.  mail.com allows free email addresses that have a job title in it.  @presidency.com, @consultant.com, @engineer.com, @diplomat.com and @contractor.com are some examples.  Any genuine person would use the email system of the company they work for, not a free email address.

Christmas time. Miseltoe and crime.

When Christmas shopping, beware of the increased criminal activity.  Guard your credit card PIN, don’t leave your wallet or purse in an easy to pickpocket place, keep any presents you buy hidden in the boot of your car and watch out for credit card skimming.  After Christmas, remember that all those boxes you throw out show the criminals exactly what’s in the house and worth stealing.

The reason we ask for the blackmail scammers’ YouTube account links.

We’re not getting any kind of joy out of seeing your video, believe me.  What it does is give us the chance to report not only the video given but any others we find on that account.  YouTube has a “3 strikes and you’re out” policy, so if we can report more than one video at a time, we can get the account shut down much quicker.  We also know the best way to get a video removed as fast as possible.  Most people we’ve spoken to will report their video but not any others.  We report every one we see.  We’ve managed to report hundreds of videos and get dozens of accounts closed that way.   Getting the account removed also gets rid of any hidden or private videos, which can take days to have deleted otherwise.  Sometimes they’re removed within 5 minutes of reporting them, which is always a good result.

What is an “advance fee fraud”?

The key word here is “fee”.  Of course the other key words are “advance” and “fraud”.  Basically, it’s a fraud that tells you that you need to pay a fee in advance.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Need a loan?  Pay us the processing fees first, then you can have it.  Found true love?  Cough up the fees for her to travel with you, then she’ll do it.  Won a lottery you didn’t enter?  Give us the admin fees before we can release it to you.    Someone offering you a share in Saddam’s millions?  We need a fee to help grease some palms first.  Simple isn’t it?