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[NEW YORK DAILY NEWS] 1 in 10 online dating profiles is fake: See the most common characteristics of fraudsters

11 May 2013 10:54 AM | Anonymous
1 in 10 online dating profiles is fake: See the most common characteristics of fraudsters 

A study of bogus online dating profiles reveals that most fraudsters claim to be religious and widowed. Many are also foreign, but describe themselves as Native American, mistakenly thinking it means only that they're from America.

How do you weed the fakes from the real singles? Fraudsters often claim to be widows to elicit sympathy. The FBI says more than $50 million is stolen every year in romance scams. 
If that online dating profile sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

One in ten profiles is fake, according to research from dating website, which deletes more than 200 fraudulent accounts every day.

“We’re not talking about lying about your age or weight; we’re talking about scammers who are trying to take your money,” CEO Brandon Wade told the Daily News.

More than $50 million is stolen every year in romance scams, according to the FBI. Wade’s company compiled a list of the most common characteristics from the 60,000 accounts it’s deleted to help singles spot warning signs.

“Scammers tend to prey on a few things,” Wade said. “They want you to trust them, and they want sympathy.”

That’s why 63% of fake profiles describe themselves as widows, he said. It’s easy to feel sympathetic.

While ethnicity is divided, a whopping 36% of fraudsters describe themselves as Native American undefined a red flag and likely a misunderstanding on the con artist’s part, Wade said.

“A lot of foreigners don’t understand that Native Americans are Indians,” he explained. “It’s a misunderstanding. They pick Native American because they think that means American.

“In reality, Native Americans represent less than 2% of our population.”

The bogus accounts are more likely to belong to a woman (71%) than a man (29%).

Catholicism is the most common religion among the fake profiles.

“If a person claims to be very religious and they use words like ‘God-fearing’ in their profile, there’s a huge probability it’s fraud,” Wade said.

Location varies, but many fake profiles are listed in Nigeria, the Ukraine and the Philippines.

When it comes to work, fraudsters often claim to be engineers or royalty or to be self-employed.

Wade hopes his “Face of Fraud” research encourages other dating websites to be smart when searching for fraudulent profiles. 

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