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Perimeter

9/7/2009
11:20 AM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
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The Story Of A Girl I Met Online

I have met many people online during the past two decades, and I have many stories to tell. The latest is about a girl who decided I was her future husband.

I have met many people online during the past two decades, and I have many stories to tell. The latest is about a girl who decided I was her future husband.Said girl had an abusive boyfriend, was sexy as a calendar girl, and was way too accommodating when she should have cut all communication.

A scammer, you say? Why jump to conclusions -- after all, weirder things have happened online. She wasn't my type, but I wasn't about to give up on this story before I discovered the angle being used to scam people. (After a while, one develops a nose for identifying exactly what sort of individual you are talking to.)

One of the first stories the girl told me was about her ex-boyfriend, how he beat her, and how all he wanted was to marry her for her money, which he would have gotten.

Hold on -- maybe it wasn't a scam. Maybe she was real after all. Just in case, I invested some more time in this "relationship." After all, I hadn't caught her in any contradiction yet.

She mentioned that she was looking for someone to trust and tell things. I mentioned how trust takes time.

I started answering her messages less and less, and made the chats shorter and shorter; there is a clear limit as to how much I am willing to invest in finding out scams that find me, especially when the conversations lack actual content. And, indeed, right out of the blue, two weeks later, the curtain has fallen.

    "Hi," she wrote. "Hey," I replied. "I want to ask for your help. It's about my inheritance," she said. "Let me guess," I quickly jumped in. "You have millions, and all you need from me is $500, and I will get the millions later on?" "Yes," she said, to my surprise. "I can give you all the information you need to send me the money." "Bye now." Done.

Action: remove from IM. I forgot to block her out, so I got a message again today, reminding me of this affair. I guess the scammer preferred to give it a final shot rather than let all of the effort already put into me go to waste, much like in my previous encounter with a Facebook 419 scam.

All together, the scammer invested two weeks' time on me. Though I didn't invest much time in chatting back with "her," "she" was often slow to communicate, probably talking to many other potential victims in the background.

It seems there is this supposition that boys will keep talking to girls as long as the girls keep talking to them, especially if they're a bit naughty and hurt. I wonder where that idea came from. Add to that the fact that they invest time and seed a back story two weeks before, and trust is formed. Add a background financial incentive of marrying into money, and you seal the deal. Or don't you?

Is "her" relatively bad English another giveaway that this was a scam? Or does it contribute to the idea that "she" is gullible?

It would be interesting to look at the scammers' success ratios. It would be even more interesting if the "girl" was a chat bot, rather than a person. While unlikely, it would break my record of talking to a chat bot for a whole hour.

I also wonder who the cute girl is in the pictures I received -- and what she would think of the whole matter. Because she is a victim here as well.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio

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