Protecting online daters

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When I moved to our newly created Moderations Team in February 2010 the dating scam, like the world of online dating, was still in its infancy. Here in the Moderation Team we have seen big changes in how dating scams work, what techniques the scammers use to go unnoticed and, ultimately, pull-off a successful scam.

The dating scam is constantly evolving and we’re no different. Before the Moderation team started, our Support Team, who would handle all the day-to-day customer queries via email and on the phone, also had the job of monitoring activity on the site and worming out these ‘scammers’. Since then the company has expanded and developed massively, allowing us to dedicate a team of people specifically trained in the knowledge of scam profiles and scammer activity to regulate the site more intensely. A team of four full time members in February 2010 has turned into a team of six full time and six part time members who are now monitoring over sixteen thousand profiles, photos and messages every single day. Using their trained eye and our knowledge bank of ‘scammer’-ish behaviour that we have acquired over the years, we are better equipped than ever to deal with dating scammers.

Things don’t stop there though. Scammers have often tried to slip through our nets by entering very little detail on their profile, keeping their activity to an absolute minimum, or sometimes none at all. As a result, the expert eyes of our Moderations Team sometimes see very little of these profiles. Aside from the monitoring of suspicious member, features like ‘Report this member’ (giving the member the ability to bring a suspicious looking profile to our attention) are very useful in counter-acting this sort of deception, but its success depends on the users self-regulation.

However! There are now many more ways of tracking different forms of bogus activity. We have introduced new measures to combat fraud such as monitoring failed and suspicious payments and also, more recently, adding systems allowing us to more closely scrutinize what IP addresses are being used and blocking reoccurring offenders. This all means that even the scammers who avoid activity and try their utmost to conceal themselves on the site can now be caught quickly, saving a potential victim a lot of emotional trauma and distress.

Since I’ve been working in the Moderations Team the scammers have become more intelligent and more resourceful, but the net has tightened and we are as adept at ‘fishing’ as they are. No matter how quickly they adapt to us there are now fewer places to hide and we are always one step ahead!

Charlie, Customer Care Moderator @ WhiteLabelDating.com.