What is a Fake Chat scam?

What is a Fake Chat scam?

A fake chat is a well-known method in the online dating business with the aim of ripping customers off. Further to subscription traps and love scamming, like the Nigeria connection, the fake chat is one of the three most used strategies to scam a customer. The fake chat scam in itself is actually nothing bad or non-reputable. On some online platforms moderators are sometimes necessary to keep the conversations at a certain level.

A moderator is a person that guides a conversation, but doesn’t have their own opinion about the discussed topic. A debate moderator is very common in a discussion around political or social discussions. The moderator plays an important role in leading the conversation in a certain direction. Also the moderator is responsible for a fair exchange of views and ensures participants keep to their time limits. The moderator also asks questions from time to time to get more details on a certain point of a participant.  This is the origin of a moderated chat.

A fake operator operates a great number of fake profiles

A moderator of an online chat is common and not necessarily part of a scam. They are used on every social media platform and may even take on similar duties to customer support. An online moderator is also present on a reputable online dating website. The difference between a normal moderated chat and a fake chat scam is that the user of a reputable dating platform knows about the moderated chat.  Profiles of moderators are clearly marked, plus the operators of a moderator profile do not start a conversation and act like a fictitious person.

Fake operators of a non-reputable dating website act in the opposite way. One fake operator can manage a great number of fake profiles. The fake profiles aren’t clearly marked as such and fake operators don’t identify themselves as a fictitious person at the start. Some companies in Australia can operate hundreds of fake chat scam dating platforms. The principle is usually always the same. Only the names, the design and the incentives are different.

Some fake chat platforms advertise the promise that all accounts of all members are checked in detail by the operator. They may promise that the customer does not have to fear a subscription trap.

Where do the moderated dating portals get their customers from (Catfisher)?

a) Contact Brokers advises new costumers

The scam always happens on the online dating website itself. The user has to pay per sent message or for a subscription to a premium-membership to be able to send a message. In any case, this will only lead to you finding a fake profile or operator. But before you actually get ripped off, the operators have to take action first. They use social media platforms or e-mail to make the first contact. This kind of scam is known as catfishing.

Create fake profiles

Contact brokers are employees and freelancers who recruit new customers for the operators. Contact brokers register on different online markets which are generally free. Female users can usually register for free on these online markets.

Contact brokers create a number of profiles on those markets. The profiles usually show a picture of an attractive woman. The contact broker then either waits to be contacted or makes the first step and contacts users via the created profiles. If the contact broker receives an answer from a user, he’ll ask for the email address as soon as possible to keep the conversation more private.

A contact broker will try to get a private e-mail address

The procedure is similar to advertising markets. It also starts with an interesting profile that is created to roll free ads. As soon as the profile receives a message, the contact brokers will try to get a private e-mail address. The contact broker will then try contact the customer directly. They attract the customer with an interesting text and ask for an e-mail address.

The contact broker continues in this way, collecting around 100 e-mail addresses. He’ll then write to all users with an interesting and engaging message. It’s usually a long text with some pics.

Some samples of a content broker

The contact brokers message will also mention a certain chat room which is moderated and not free. If customers prefer a free market, the contact broker will reply with typical excuses. Some of them are:

“… I already had bad experiences with other chat rooms and I know this one very well.”
“… Only in this one you can also see my pictures even erotic ones, if you like.”
“…  This chat room has no spam plus we can keep it more private.”

It is not uncommon for the contact broker to not respond to a question. If he got the e-mail address from a certain contact market he may simply write:

“… We had a chat some time ago …”
“… I found your email address in my spam folder…”

An example for such a message of a contact broker:

“Hi, there how are you?
We chatted some time ago.
I am the Susanne, do you remember me?
At the moment I’m single and looking for some excitement. What about you? I still live alone and am still in the same area so it is not too far away from where you live (-;

Now I have a puppy and I’m still working as a nurse. You would make me very happy if you answer me and happier if we finally met. I still have your pictures in my head and I imagine that something very special could happen between us. If you feel the same way and want to meet up do not reply to this email as I will have to change my mail account soon. It is easier for both of us if you check out www.liebe110.net and search for Susanne4X.
One good thing is that you can also see all my sexy pictures on that platform straight away.
Well then I hope to hear from you, see you soon.
Your Susanne”

Bots for advertising

Bot for advertising

This kind of advertising is completely automated. So-called ‘bots’ can automatically create profiles on online contact markets. They can send messages to hundreds of people in just a few seconds. The goal is the same – to collect as many mailing addresses as possible, and such bots are more efficient.

The customer can be contacted again and again until they finally register on one of the contact markets. A contact broker earns his money by commission. This is between 30% and 50% of the amount that the user will spend in a 6 month period on a scam dating site.

If it is a professional contact broker, the scammer may use bots to create the accounts and messages as well. This way the contact broker can easily make a small fortune in a short time as some users can spend thousands of dollars.

b) New customers with Google AdWords

A large number of scam operators advertise their dating portals with Google AdWords or AdSense.

The profit margins of such scam websites can be high. Operators of moderated chat rooms can easily afford to spend money for ads to catch new customers. This is more financially viable for these scam operators, as opposed to regular operators. It creates a huge advantage for them in the online market.

c) Further advertising

Banners, spam mails, bought fake traffic, affiliate marketing and so on.

How are the customers paid or animated?

Contact writers / Catfishers are the animators, moderators, agents or fake operators that write messages in a chat room. They play their part to encourage users to buy credits or to subscribe to a webpage. Fake operators create a profile first, then operate it to lure the victim to potentially get ripped off. To do this they usually use a fictional name and profile pictures of models. Another way to get the right images for fake profiles is to use other social media profiles or a sharing platform like PixaBay.com, where people upload their pictures and illustration without copyright.

Girl with an Smartphone

The easiest way to find out if a profile is fake is by using a search engine. You can either insert the name of the user and you may find another person by the same name. But a picture search is more accurate. Just paste the profile picture of a potentially fake profile into a search engine. The profile pictures of fake profiles are usually professional pictures of unknown models from Eastern Europe.

Difference between scammers and operators

There is a difference between a fake personality, as used by a love scam such as the Nigeria content, and a profile in a fake chat scam dating website. The scammers in love scamming use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.

In order to scam the user, these operators may send erotic messages and repeatedly suggest dates. A romantic date, of course, will never happen. The goals of the contact writers are to keep the users in a good mood. They aim to create traffic on the webpage and encourage the customer to pay again and again for coins or subscription.

Examples of fake operators

Operators of a fake chat website will express strong emotions in a short time. They may promise a hot first date or even a relationship. But it’s not possible to get in touch with each other via another platform. No private phone numbers or profile names of social media platforms will be provided. This is clearly a contradiction in terms. It’s usually impossible to find a single real person on a fake chat dating platform. An arranged date will never happen in real life. The fake operators will reply with excuses like:

“…I am a nurse and have a special shift or an emergency”
“…Someone is terribly sick or even worse”

They may use the common excuse of already having had bad experiences with online dating, being stalked by an ex , or some other sad story. That’s also the reason they present as to why they have no Facebook or other social media accounts. They want to keep the conversation going only on certain online dating sites which are not free. They often claim that it’s safer and more anonymous if the chat room is paid. This can go on for a long time, with a few messages a day. There are customers who spend more than $1000 on such conversations on a scam website.

Be careful

It’s not just about all the money you lose that makes fake online dating a big shame. The contact writer exploits lonely customers who may find it addictive after a while. There are so many men and women around the world who may be lonely and find it difficult to find a partner. A large number of customers of scam online dating pages are divorced or widowed. When they start chatting, they feel validated and understood. It gives them the chance to speak about their problems, worries, concerns or even about their broken heart. This would be great – if they were chatting to a real person.

Moderated dating webpages are a small industry in Australia

In Australia there are over 100 companies that operate more than 650 webpages. Several thousand animators work for the operators mostly in separate call centres. It is common that the contact broker and contact writer are located in Switzerland, Turkey or Kosovo. Operators are mostly located in Malta, Cyprus or Hong Kong. They choose these locations to save on taxes. In this way, they also don’t have to apply to the common terms of Australian law. These operators can’t pull this off forever. The customer will usually realise, but then it may be too late and you would have lost money already.