Now the dust has settled on 2019 and our hangovers have finally been shaken off (though some scammers still insist on sending us “HAPPY NEW YEAR” emails), let’s take a look at how we did last year. The results are skewed due to our switching to a Cloudflare account partway through the year, so take these with a grain of salt.
We had over 1,234,000 unique visitors visit us last year. That doesn’t include bots etc. It’s how many actual people we had visit the site. Each person viewed an average of over 6 pages each, and our bandwidth was over 630GB.
As for the threads/posts, here are the stats as gathered by Big Al:
Am I Being Scammed 27 added topics Blackmail 1067 added topics 419 scams 3309 added topics Romance 459 added topics Refugee 27 added topics Fake sites 78 added topics Bank Accounts reported 662 Victim warning attempts 1709
Not bad going, right? Here’s hoping that those numbers are even bigger in 2020.
Let me start this by saying I’ve been married for over a quarter of a century. My wife and I met way before we had dating sites online, and we didn’t even get the internet until 4 or 5 years after we got married. On a completely unrelated topic, the first scam email I ever received was almost immediately after I first joined the internet connected world. That’s by the by though. Let’s discuss love, romance and scammers.
I buy my wife flowers on a semi regular basis. I’m a romantic guy – kind of. The reality is though that my wife and I both understand that paying bills and keeping the pantry full is more important than flowers, chocolates or jewelry. Romance scammers however don’t have this reality block to deal with.
Scammers can promise a person the Sun, Moon, stars and everything inbetween as they know they’ll never actually have to deliver. Words are cheap, false promises even cheaper. I (and the rest of the site volunteers) have baited enough romance scammers to know and see through their lies. Not everyone can though, and it’s for those people we post up all the details of any romance scammers we deal with. We want people to see that the scammers can and do use every trick in the book to convince people they’re genuine. Those tricks are easy to spot if you know what to look for, and know how romance scammers work. THAT is the tough part. The pretty lies the scammers tell make it incredibly hard for us to break through to some people. The fantasy world the scammer weaves is something people long for, and don’t want to believe is fake. Real love isn’t perfect. Real love is accepting a person’s flaws, not being convinced by them that they don’t have any. Scammer love is and endless display of promises that never happen and never will happen. Real love is much more gutteral, more earthy, more REAL. There’s a song I love by The Kinks that perfectly describes what real love is like. It’s not perfect like a scammer will try to convince you it is. It’s an uphill struggle that requires the both of you to work at each and every day and doesn’t require one person to constantly send money to the other one. That’s not real love. Real love is a two-headed transplant – a “labour of love”. Don’t be fooled by scammer love, and never send money to someone you’ve only ever met online, no matter what they promise you in return.
Recently we’ve had a few people contact us saying that scammers are abusing their name. We have a pretty standard reply to that, and I’ll lay it out here. Scammers use these names as they feel they can do so with impunity. It’s not a good feeling to see your good name being abused by scammers, and we totally sympathise with people about it. However, asking for the thread to be removed, or the person’s/business’ name removed from the thread does a lot more harm than good. Let me explain it this way. Imagine the place you live. A neighbour has been phoning people up claiming to be you and asking them if they can borrow some money, with no plan whatsoever to pay it back. People are eventually going to approach you asking for that money you lent them several months back. What would be the natural reaction to that, to want to hide from everyone the fact that the person is pretending to be you and allow them to continue, or to let everyone know that the asshole is stealing money from people by using your name and make sure no one else falls for it and will blame them and not you? Exactly, right? It’s the same thing with online scammers. The absolute best thing to do is to let everyone know what’s happening. We’ve seen a charity that helped children in Africa do it after a particularly evil scammer pretended to be them. We’ve seen people do it after they were contacted and even threatened after people lost money to scammers pretending to be them. We’ve seen charities do it after scammers tried to say they were the boss. Trying to get the information removed only allows the scammers to continue abusing the good names of people. Warning people and publicly distancing themselves from the scam is the absolute best way to go in these cases. Make it so that if anyone does even an ounce of searching they’ll be warned away from the scam and the scammer will eventually change script to something that works better. It’s never going to stop it 100%. That horse has already bolted. It will however help minimise any damage the scammer does in his quest for easy money.