Do you know you can set up your own dating site for free? I know. You probably aren’t surprised because there are a number of free website providers. But what if I told you that not only could you get a free website, but that you would be able to share a vast database of people who are looking for partners. You can also get a free payment service thrown in for good measure. In other words, all you have to do is find a niche and you’re in business. But good luck with that. There are niche dating sites for everyone from clowns to witches. I know what you’re thinking. You dated some of them without even using a dating site.
But there’s a sinister angle to the proliferation of these dating sites. Scammers are finding more and more sophisticated ways to use them for victimizing the unsuspecting. Romance and dating scams are the most profitable of all the scams. They emotionally manipulate their victims and often wipe them out financially. And it sometimes doesn’t end there. A number of victims were so despondent upon realizing that their ‘soulmate’ was not real that they took their own lives, so such scams should not be taken lightly.
There are a number of ways you can be led to a scam dating site but let’s suppose you just encounter it on your quest for that perfect match. The site you find will look legitimate because it is. Any free, quickly built website supplied by a dating site builder will be considered legitimate. These dating site companies that come complete with a database are termed, ‘white label dating service companies’. They are called ‘white label’ because you can fill in the blank (white) template with your own information. Recently, these dating sites have included date verification sites. These are sites that a potential partner can check to see if you haven’t killed or otherwise harmed any of your past dates.
So let’s look at one of these ‘legitimate sites’; Safety Match Maker. This is a site that daters are supposed to use to validate that they are really who they say they are and that they have no criminal record. It’s sort of a double scam because you have already been scammed by a potential partner to visit this site before he/she will take the relationship further. The scammer claims that they are worried about being tricked or even murdered. The site often contains a video in which such a murder is reported. Here’s one they often use.
Here are some other sites I found that use the same techniques that I will outline here. They should be avoided. There are more but these were not flagged by browser security mechanisms, again, because they are seen as legitimate. Take a look at them if you want, but please don’t try to join them.
The last site listed is especially egregious in that it promotes itself as a site for those who have been sexually harassed or abused. Now, they can be abused again. Sadly, this technique is not uncommon as scammers don’t have a conscious and never feel remorse.
When you go to these sites, you will always find the same underlying plot. They begin with a comforting slogan. For Safety Match Maker, the phrase is, “Forever Starts on a Date”. No matter what the site niche, you will be told to register and that will always lead you to a verification portal that looks exactly like this.
Now, if you hover the cursor over the “NEXT” button, you will see, in the lower left hand side of the screen, that it leads to a different address than the site address.
Filling out the data in the form above will send you to the bsctmw.com site. There is no process for answering an email to verify your email address. The criminals are looking for credit card details pure and simple.
This is where the true scam lies. Do you notice anything missing? Probably not, but most forms like this are followed by a ‘Terms of Service’ section. Well, you don’t see it but it’s there. The website is designed to hide the terms of service by restricting the size of the frame (technically, the iframe) that this information appears in. Here is how the code looks.
<iframe width=”100%” height=”470″ iframe>
I did not include the complete code but also within this iframe your information is redirected to an online marketing site called, joinsafelyonline.com. I changed the frame parameters in the frame above so that it would show the hidden terms of service. It, then, looks like this.
It’s always difficult to read the fine print in these disclaimers, so here it is.
“By pressing ‘Click Here For Access’, I certify that I have read and agree to the complete terms of membership and billing and that the card entered above is my credit card. Your access to CamSiteOnline includes a 2 day free trial promo to True Love That Never Fades. If you choose to remain a member of True Love That Never Fades beyond the trial period, your membership will renew at thirty nine ninety nine. Your membership to CamSiteOnline will be Free for Lifetime. You will also receive a free membership to InboxPartners.”
Notice anything unusual? You should. You were trying to join Safety Match Maker, remember? Instead, you joined True Love That Never Fades. The scammers don’t care because they never expected you to see this. In addition, during the process, you have joined CamSiteOnline, which is an adult dating/porn site that you never wanted to join. Like it or not, you now have a lifetime membership to it. It will also scam you. Notice when you sign up for the free trial, which your scam date has emphasized, you will only get a two-day free trial. If you don’t cancel your membership (that you never saw) within this period, you will pay a monthly fee of $39.99 (written in words so it doesn’t stand out) for the rest of your life. Wow! What a deal! But wait! You have also managed to get a free membership to Index Partners, which is an email marketing (spammer) site.
But where does your money go? Well, it goes to a billing site connected to the white label dating package. In this case, it goes to a company that goes by the catchy name of bsctmw.com. Now that’s good marketing. Anyway, it doubles as a customer service site. Here, you can purportedly cancel the subscription you unwittingly paid for. Good luck on that. The terms of service/disclaimer page seems to have nothing to do with a billing site. If you try to chat, you will get this message.
You will not be told what “modern browser feature” you lack. If you’re lucky, you may get a chat bot that will probably be of little help.
This validation scam is now firmly embedded on every major dating site. Recently, however, it has been making heavy use of Tinder and Instagram. It mainly targets men because few men are worried that their dates will murder them, even if they may want to. It would seem normal for women to be cautious. This would seem like appropriate behavior to most men. Men are also targeted because they make up the vast majority of profiles on dating sites. In addition, one third of men on these sites never get a date. Often, the only attention they get at all is from bots. These chat bots are the ones that will ask the victim to go to the date verification site to get scammed. Here’s a typical request. (This is an actual request. I only changed the name of the verification site).
“You need to get ‘safetymatchmaker’ first on my dating agreement site just to make sure you are serious in this kind of arrangement.. is that okay with you? you only need to accept the dating agreement and get safetymatchmaker for us to meet.. i hope you understand my concerns, it won’t cost you anything but a little effort and time. hope it’s fine with you..”
Some Tinder scammers will send the victim to a site that mentions Tinder to make it look as if the two are connected.
In the end, the victim loses personal information, subjects themselves to spam, gets scammed again, and loses money. Oh, and they never meet the woman because there is no woman. It’s your typical lose-lose situation.
The reason this scam meets with such success is that most of the men targeted are happy to be finally getting some attention from a woman who seems far out of their league. It seems too good to be true. Yeah, that’s the first sign something might be wrong. To check to see if you are being ‘chat botted’, try asking the entity some unexpected question. If you get a weird answer, you are talking to a bot. Some victims try to explain away weird answers by telling themselves that the beautiful woman they’re speaking to might be a non-English speaker. Denial knows no limits.
Another reason this scam succeeds is because it avoids the common danger signs. The potential partner does not ask for money, does not proclaim instant love, does not tell a sob story, and does not threaten the victim. But if you see any of the behavior mentioned in this post, it would be best to walk away.