Holden said that an enterprising fraudster with the right programming skills or the funds to hire a coder could easily automate the scam using bots that are programmed to respond to emails from the targets with content-specific replies.
The romance scam package urges customers to send at least a dozen emails to establish a rapport and relationship before even mentioning the subject of traveling to meet the target.
Virtually every aspect of cybercrime has been made into a service or plug-and-play product.
That includes dating scams — among the oldest and most common of online swindles.
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Many of the sample emails read a bit like Mad Libs or choose-your-own-adventure texts, featuring decision templates that include advice for ultimately tricking the mark into wiring money to the scammer.
The romance scam package is designed for fraudsters who prey on lonely men via dating Web sites and small spam campaigns.
“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].
“Usually this is something like the girl is stranded at the airport or needs money to get a travel visa.
There has to be some kind of distress situation for this person to be duped into wiring money, which can be anywhere between 0 and ,000 on average.” Crooked call centers like the one pictured in the screen shot above employ male and female con artists who speak a variety of languages.
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