They create financial damage and emotional pain in their wake. The Age or Date Verification Scam is widespread. I believe it is the most pervasive Online Dating Scam, with thousands of attempts daily.
They asked you to verify yourself for their safety. They direct their victim to a date verification website that states clearly that there is no charge for the service The website has purposefully hidden or hard to find charges that sign up the victim for a rotating set of dating or pornography sites.
This article will explain exactly what happens. This is a high-risk situation and signing up exposes the person to identity theft. I give advice at the end of the article to help anyone caught by this scam. A person wants to meet you but wants you to visit a free verification site, for their safety. It is important to note that these scams abound on online dating sites and applications. The truth is that even the most reputable online dating sites have scammers lurking in them.
The most common is for the person to offer an email address to contact them away from the platform you are on. The reason for this is simple — this puts you into the robot Bot script of an automated email process. From this point on, there is no real person on the other end of those emails. It is a simulated conversation, and if you pay close attention, it is always a little off. The bot expresses interests and creates an artificial banter.
What you see on the scam website The website presents a page that shows fake information about a woman, whom you can meet, but first you must verify. The first technique of the deception is prominent and repeated declarations that this is a free service. This is what you will see in the sign-up area: After you type in the information, the page changes, and it looks like this: What you cannot see… Thru use of a web programming command called iframe, you are entering your credit card information on another website without you knowing it.
The second page looks like the below. Take note of the difference in the grey areas of the web page: Here is the important part of the fine print: Your access to Dates. Hookup includes a 2-day free trial promo to Go Find Dates. If you choose to remain a member of Go Find Dates beyond the trial period, your membership will renew at thirty nine dollars and ninety nine cents.
The way that the scam site uses the iframe command, you cannot see the fine print, you have no ability to see it — unless you go to the source code, and click on the iframe link. This is something that the average consumer could not know how to do.
Here is a picture of the iframe command from the website code, with my emphasis: The dating sites rotate. The click generator connects to a different dating site each time someone uses the date verification site. White Label and Branded Dating Sites Eventually, the path from the click generator lands the billing page of what I am calling a Branded Dating Company sometimes called private label. The way it works is that the White Label company provides an aggregated membership database, and operations for the website and billing.
Individual entrepreneurs create their own company brand and website theme. The white label company collects the payment from new members as they sign up to the website. They take their service charge off the top, then pass the remainder to the branded site owner. Each of these Branded Dating companies, will have two sites. The click generator directs you to the billing site sign-up page. This site has a seemingly gibberish name, for example, Stgved. When it appears on your credit card bill, it will use the billing site, followed by a toll-free number.
Lots and lots of them. My investigation has found more than branded dating sites. Also, the click generator can route you down a pornography path, depending on which click generator is active in the Date Verification scam site. Instead of landing on a branded dating billing and signup page, you land a branded pornography sign up page. There are more than branded pornography sites.
The corresponding pornography sites are explicit and mostly X-rated, so I will just leave it to the imagination. It is clear they know people are being charged without their knowledge. They discourage you from disputing the charges with your bank, and they want to handle it themselves. They do this for two reasons: What Happens Next A few things. If you sign up for the site, you will not meet the girl — There is no girl. You will receive multiple emails that encourage you to sign up.
Next the bot will send several spammy emails for you to join other hookup sites. Then the scammers sell your email to spam marketers. Sometimes the scammer will send an email that gives you a credit card number, including a Card Verification Value CVV and expiration date.
What I do know, is that using a credit card that you are not authorized to use would be a felony. A person doing could be exposed to blackmail. If you did sign up… You are going to get a monthly charge on your credit card. Some sites will have instructions to check your email.
The email supposedly articulates the charges. I have yet to hear from someone who states they received such an email. Even if they did, there are a few problems. Any email from these sites is likely to end up in the spam folder. There is no confirmation of the email in the sign-up. A typo would prevent the email going to the right person. The charge, which could be 30 days old or more is completely unfamiliar to them. The gibberish site will not appear in their history at all until they visit it.
Who operates these sites? When I first started investigating this scam, they usually came from Bangladesh and did not register anonymously. More and more, perhaps due to my blog, they register anonymously. Here is a recently active scam site that is not registered anonymously. Ahsraf Tarafdar, from Dhaka, Bangladesh owns this site: Probably a safe assumption.
Owner information is from whois functions readily available on the Internet. I like to use cqcounter. Their whois function combines hosting, geography and registration information in one page.
Click Generators I have found several different generators. The owners register most of the sites anonymously. Registries are in China, the United States and Panama. They appear to be shells, often with many having the same address in small offices in the UK. There are also companies in Cyprus, Spain, and the Netherlands. The companies register most of the branded sites anonymously. However, it is possible to go to the billing site and get the company name and address. From that information, it is possible to look up the person in the U.
She is quite a lovely woman. No Natasha, the internet is not anonymous. With some poking around, it is possible to find the owners of companies in Spain and Cyprus. The owner is Vlad Bulgariu — a Romanian Surname. One of the other tricks I use is using the DomainBigData website to cross index and find what sites an individual or company owns.
Vlad owns at least 8 branded dating sites: No need to pick on Vlad alone. Remember he is just one example. By looking at the IP address of the dating billing sites I can see 3 different locations.
This could be one company with distributed operations or 3 different companies. The other clue is the fact that there are so many sites, that it must be concluded that it is not a small fly-by-night operation — it has to be substantial to handle the traffic and the customer service phone call volume. The Panama Connection A lot of the owners register their sites anonymously in Panama. Registrations and hosting services are business expenses.
I contacted the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists The Panama Papers team to see if they had any information in this area.