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It is in this critical, final part of the scam that the fraudster is encouraged to take advantage of criminal call centers that staff women who can be hired to play the part of the damsel in distress.
“When you get down to the final stage, there has to be a crisis, some compelling reason why the target should you send the money,” said Holden, founder of Hold Security [full disclosure: Yours Truly is an uncompensated adviser to Holden’s company].
When the call center employees are not being hired to close the deal on a romance scam, very often they are used to assist in bank account takeovers, redirecting packages with shipping companies, or handling fraudulent new credit applications that require phone verification.
Another reason that call centers aren’t used earlier in romance scams: Hiring one is expensive.
The call center pictured above charges per call, payable only in Bitcoin.
“If you imagine the cost of doing by phone every part of the scam, it’s rather high, so they do most of the scam via email,” Holden said.
If you recognize yourself in some of them, I think it might be worth taking the time to keep on reading my profile.
Recently, I had a chance to review a package of dating scam emails, instructions, pictures, videos and love letter templates that are sold to scammers in the underground, and was struck by how commoditized this type of fraud has become.
The dating scam package is assembled for and marketed to Russian-speaking hackers, with hundreds of email templates written in English and a variety of European languages.
The scammer often pretends to be a young woman in an isolated or desolate region of Russia who is desperate for a new life, and the email from the girl’s supposed mother is intended to add legitimacy to the scheme.
Then there are dozens of pre-fabricated excuses for not talking on the phone, an activity reserved for the final stretch of the scam when the fraudster typically pretends to be stranded at the airport or somewhere else en route to the target’s home town.