He or she may have a profile you can read or a picture that is e-mailed to you.For weeks, even months, you may chat back and forth with one another, forming a connection. But ultimately, it’s going to happen—your new-found “friend” is going to ask you for money.The result, Scamalytics, is a company that’s able not only to identify a number of key profile traits—in the “low hundreds,” says Winchester—but to measure how they play against one another for a more complete picture of who’s real and who’s swindling.“Features that in isolation may not give you too much information, in combination become much more powerful,” says Winchester.“We then take the learnings from that academic exercise, and try to scale them up into a production environment that works at enormous speed.”Some of those indicators are proprietary, but a few are fairly obvious.He may also send you checks to cash since he’s out of the country and can’t cash them himself, or he may ask you to forward him a package. You were targeted by criminals, probably based on personal information you uploaded on dating or social media sites.The pictures you were sent were most likely phony lifted from other websites.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.
The bigger danger comes from human interaction, where, as in those familiar scam email exchanges, the person behind the profile doesn’t want your heart; they just want your money. While the UK’s favored scammer line sounds ridiculous, the top spot in the US goes to “i am very easy going and laid back.” Okay, so it’s no Pablo Neruda. An exotic stranger needs help, and you’re the only one able to provide it.On any given day, a handful of those pleas still file into your email’s spam folder.So you send money..rest assured the requests won’t stop there.There will be more hardships that only you can help alleviate with your financial gifts.