Chinese online dating scams can be so creative that the victims don't even realize it
Internet scams are nothing new and there are many different types that are set up to cheat us. A recent study of China's largest dating site has revealed an ingenious scam that the victims may not even realize they've been scammed.
The biggest Chinese online dating site, Jiayuan, has more than 100 million users. and it's fertile ground for online scammers as well as for those who seek to study online dating.
Because Jiayuan's users can register without paying a subscription fee, there are plenty of fake accounts or users with ulterior motives. The research collaboration between the University College London and Jiayuan analyzed more than 500,000 profiles to deliver the study, “Quit Playing Games With My Heart: Understanding Online Dating Scams.”
One scam is called the "flower basket" con where a scammer with an attractive middle-age male profile contacts and develops a romantic relationship with a middle-aged woman. Eventually the man implies that he wants to marry the woman but wants her to show a good-will gesture to his parents by sending a gift to celebrate the opening of his new shop that doesn't exist. The gift is a very expensive flower basket, up to $20,000, and the designated florist is an accomplice. Of course the woman doesn't hear from the scammer ever again once she pays the money.
But, according to the study, the most ingenious scam may be that set up by an owner of a fancy restaurant who hires an attractive woman to help his business. The woman would set up a dating profile and get her date to take her to the restaurant where she runs up the tab. The tab could cost from $100 to $2,000, and the victim never hears from the woman again after the date.
The researchers point out that this scam could be considered "the perfect scam" because the victim, aside from paying for an expensive meal, probably had a good time and never realized that he had been scammed. It is also quite a successful con as the study identified 57,218 accounts associated with this type of scam.
Do you participate in online dating? Have you had good or bad experiences?