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In addition, the package bundles several photos and videos of attractive Russian women, some of whom are holding up blank signs onto which the scammer can later Photoshop whatever message he wants.

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.

Hoax-Slayer is owned and operated by Brett Christensen from his home office in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia.

“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.

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.

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.

The vendor of the fraud package advertises a guaranteed response rate of at least 1.2 percent, and states that customers who average 30 scam letters per day can expect to earn roughly ,000 a week.

“If the mark doesn’t have money, the package contains advice for getting him credit, telling the customer to restate his love and discuss credit options.” Interestingly, although Russia is considered by many to be among the most hostile countries toward homosexuals, the makers of this dating scam package also include advice and templates for targeting gay men.

Also included in the dating scam tutorial is a list of email addresses and pseudonyms favored by anti-scammer vigilantes who try to waste the scammers’ time and otherwise prevent them from conning real victims.

If required, we also contact companies, government departments, or other relevant entities directly to enquire about the veracity of particular messages.

Our articles include in-text hyperlinks and a separate reference list that allow you to check the information for yourself.

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.

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