Dating games with real people
“And their targets genuinely fall in love with those individuals, even after the scam has been executed…
The victim isn’t willing to accept that they’ve been scammed, or does accept that they’ve been scammed and is still in love with the scammer.”There are a few ways to protect yourself from online dating scammers, most of which are common-sense tests of whether they are who—and where—they say they are.
When Boko Haram kidnapped a group of school girls last spring, Winchester said, dating profile fakers would claim to be there abroad as part of a US special forces mission.
In reality, they were Nigerian con artists, hoping to be sent money to pay for a flight they would never take.“The sad reality is that the most effective scammers will tend to be the human beings who build trusting relationships over a long period of time with their targets,” says Winchester.
Dating sim Mystic Messenger is blowing up, simulating the too-real experience of falling in love with mysterious people online.
It's a relatable otome ("maiden") game in which, brilliantly, anime boys -- and one girl -- interact with you over a fake chatroom and text messages.
The same rule of thumb with email scams applies to online love, though; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It turns out that all those people parsing dating profiles for grammar above all else are protecting themselves not just from bad dates, but from bad actors.If one bot network pushes out the same garbled phrase to millions of profiles, it can quickly skew the pick-up line popularity contest.These bots aren’t necessarily looking for love, or even for a direct cash transfer; they’re often simply trying to convince their marks to install something, like an app, in a case of direct marketing gone gross.“In some ways the target isn’t really the victim of anything other than having their time wasted, and installing a game that they don’t necessarily want,” says Winchester of these bot-based shakedowns.But most people wouldn’t blink if they saw it in a real person’s profile.Likewise, scammers use current events to provide cover stories that explain why they’re in, say, Nigeria.
"Playing" with our emotions can also often illicit extreme and addictive emotional reactions, from the highs of "winning" acceptance, to the lows of confusion, anxiety, and rejection. This is the phase where we try to guess, are they interested or not? This game is where it can really start to get ugly, and it also has great potential to backfire.