Saturday, 11 March 2023

Sweetheart Scams: Online Dating's Billion-Dollar Swindle- by Clarence Jones Paperback – Oct. 15 2020

This is useful if a limited, guide to the massive growth of "romance scams". They say love is blind, and scammers are cashing in on people's stupidity and gullibility. According to data published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2016, scammers stole more than a billion dollars in the United States alone, which is a conservative estimate.

Clarence Jones's book is a step-by-step guide on how scammers work and how to avoid getting caught. Jones is an investigative reporter and seems to be a one-man publishing industry. Jones spent years investigating online dating services. Much of what Jones found is not new. Online dating websites, since their inception, have been a haven for scammers and a clever way for escorts or prostitutes to ply their trade without prosecution. Specialized websites are helping husbands and wives cheat on their spouses. These websites are an online version of a pimp who manages escorts and prostitutes.

Most hookup sites are nothing more than a license to print money, and most sites are interactive pornography. Most, if not all, profiles are fake, and in reality, you are probably talking to another computer in the form of  "bots", which generates massive profits for its owners.

In 2020 I wrote a series of articles on one aspect of this nasty scam which has conned many people out of millions. After two years of research, certain things can be said to warn others. The first job of a scammer who proliferates the various online dating sites is to get their prey off the original dating website and onto sites such as Gmail and WhatsApp. Gmail is a favorite hunting ground for your African scammers, and it is a simple scam.

They send you a picture of a gorgeous voluptuous woman, usually lifted from a porn site. Most men think, yum, I am in here. They don't ask why this beautiful 25-year-old woman would have anything to do with a balding middle-aged man. Unperturbed most men would want to see this hot girl on video chat. This is the first part of the scam. To see this beautiful woman, you need to purchase an Amazon card or other such items for them to get an internet connection for the video call.

When they finally agree to your demand to see them in the flesh, you do not see the beautiful young thing in the flesh, but a rather clumsy video these amateurs have somehow managed to upload onto Gmail. On one occasion, I could see the real person behind the scam as his hand slipped, revealing his real identity, and he was not a gorgeous blonde woman.

Jones looks into Facebook's role in allowing scammers to operate with impunity. Facebook launched their dating app in 2019. This free dating app was a means by which Facebook sought to promote the launch of its digital currency Meta. Facebook is riddled with fake profiles. In the first quarter of 2022, Facebook removed 1.6 billion fake accounts, down from 1.7 billion in the previous quarter. In 2019, 2.2 billion counterfeit accounts were removed in one quarter alone.

These gorgeous-looking Asian women were not interested in dating. They used Facebook to lure punters into a Cryptocurrency scam. They would take your money, saying they will invest it in Cryptocurrency. The reality is that they take the money and run along with their uncles. It was amazing that all these girls had fantastic relatives willing to help others get rich. When yours truly threatened to report these scammers, he received some very nasty death threats and one ugly video threatening DECAPITATION. Facebook turned a blind eye to the whole scam. After all, many of these Asian scammers were promoting Facebook's digital currency, Meta.

The levels of criminality surrounding dating websites, an industry worth billions of dollars, are not separate from the criminality of the capitalist system itself. Scammers are not just a collection of random criminals; as Jones points out, they are well-organized and systematic, and it is big business.