The combination of free email with anonymous classified sites (such as Craigslist) creates an environment ripe for con artists and opportunistic people to get information and meet others romantically, under false pretenses – called Social engineering. Wikipedia defines social engineering as "the practice of obtaining confidential
information by manipulation of legitimate users. A social engineer will
commonly use the telephone or Internet to trick people into revealing sensitive information or getting them to do something that is against typical policies."
Paid-for online dating sites have become a platform for phishing as well. I once received an email through a popular dating site. He offered his undying love as well as a fortune. Unfortunately he was far away in Nigeria. In his photo he was speaking on a cell phone (probably to the bank about his impending $$$ fortune). Incredibly, he had paid $1 to
send me the email. He must have calculated the return on investment by targeting "lonely hearts" would exceed the dollars spent.
Now sites such as Don’t Date Him Girl
provide an social engineering antidote for women to reveal the truth
about dating scammers. The prospect of having a photo and story posted should at least deter those with "something to lose." (e.g. married men)
Of course prevention is always better than fixing a problem. So, follow the same aphorism that applies to online security and avoiding cons:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it very well may be.
- And, use multiple points of verification that a person is "for real" lest you be phished out of a fortune in dollars or heartache.
Know what I mean?