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Description: We are http://www.ChristianSinglesDating.com and have a reputation for being the safest site on the internet, here's why.
Categories: Dating, Pen Pals, Friends: Cyber Dating, Member Safety Online & Offline, Scam Warnings
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Submitted by: Nannette | View Member Profile | View Other Posts
I received a fax today from a publishing company. Evidently, this company is writing a book on the internet dating industry and examines how scammers from West Africa (especially Nigeria), Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have stolen money using romance scams.
In this fax, they ask the following questions. These are good questions and every dating site should address these issues on their site. We feel we do address these issues and will ask and answer each question here:
1) How does your organization address a customer’s complaint concerning scamming abuse? Does your company have policies in place to address a customer complaint? Has your organization implemented a criteria system to determine whether a profile should be removed or maintained on your site?
On ChristianSinglesDating.com we take scamming very seriously. We have a scam tracking system in place that detects scammers via the online mail system and, in most cases, deletes and flags their profiles before they can even send out the first mail. We then send a copy of the mail to us to confirm that it is a scammer. We then block the IP address using the first 3 sets of numbers, rather than all 4 sets of numbers, in order to block out future attempts by the same person. If the member gets past our scam tracking system, we have a link at the bottom of each profile where a member can click and report that member for scam abuse. We immediately delete profiles and we post these profiles and any uploaded photos in our online scam report system. When a member logs into our web site, they are first taken to our scam reports page where they can view the latest scammers and read reports of how they are scammers so that they can be educated to spot scammers immediately.
As well, if a scammer makes it past our scam detecting system and we detect them after they have sent out online mails, we then send an offline email notice to all members on the site to whom this member has sent an online mail.
We also maintain an IP, Country and Region database. When a member logs in, we detect where they are calling from and display the IP Country within their profile. Members can compare the IP Country with the country the member claims to be from and will immediately report if there are discrepancies such as the member claiming to be from the United States, but calling in from Lagos, Nigeria, etc.
2) During our initial research, we have found that many of these scammers steal copyrighted photos from the websites of talent and modeling agencies… Does your company maintain any kind of database containing these stolen photos? …Does your company have a policy requiring removal of profiles when someone posts a profile containing the copyrighted photo that matches one that is in the database? Have you considered posting a scammer database in a prominent location on your website, so your members can easily identify these scammers?
When a member uploads a photo, it must go through our photo approval system prior to being publicly displayed on the site. Our photo experts are trained to spot potential scammer photos. They are fairly obvious to detect because of course they look like fashion models, typically scantily clad if women, which is so inappropriate for our ChristianSinglesDating.com website. During our approval process, we immediately check the IP address of the member and compare it to where they claim to be located. We also review the profile and can tell from the broken English that they are really not a professional attorney, law student, or medical doctor from the United States. (These are typical occupations they claim, as well as “model too.”)
We also review their online mails and note a typical sob story of being from the United States but having had to travel to another country to visit their sick mum who is dying. We know the ultimate story will be that they need money for their sick mum or money to get back to the states, or whatever such flavor of story they choose. Many men will claim to be in the import/export business and traveling for business. They might buy and send inexpensive gifts to women back in the states while they're on business. Then at some point, they need to cash a money order and will send it to you to cash and send them the money. Trouble is, the money order is tampered with and may be for $20, but they have changed the figure to $2000. Then you cash it, send them the $2000 and your bank comes back on you later demanding the other $1980, etc.
At this point, we flag the profile as a scammer. It is no longer available for members, but is available to our staff. We create a record in our online Scam Report Forum database. In the forum we post the highlights of the profile, how we detected them as a scammer, their photos, comments and online mails sent that show tell-tale signs of a scammer. Our purpose is to educate our members. And then again, if this member has sent any online mails to members, we send each member an offline mail warning them that this is a scammer and why we believe this to be true. We also send this warning mail to members who may have deleted their profiles so that they are warned as well.
On our Scammer Preview page, members can see a list of detected scammers, with any photos, and then can click a link to read the entire report on each scammer:
Scammer Preview Page
3) Have you considered placing an advisory/disclaimer on your site in a prominent location to alert your customers to the possibility that scammers might be operating on your site?
Yes, and we do this. When a member logs in, they are immediately taken to our What’s New page with our list of the latest scammers. This page also has a link to a list of all scammers detected on our Scammer Preview page.
We warn members with this text:
“Scammers hit all singles sites on the web, but unlike other sites that do nothing to detect, remove, and warn about scammers, we feel it is our Christian responsibility to educate and warn our members about scammers and their tricks. We also have taken serious measures on our site to detect scammers before they can contact our members, and if they get past our first area of detection, to allow our members to immediately report them. Please educate yourself on their devices by reading the forums below, and be aware that this is another reason why we have a reputation for being the safest singles site on the web... we warn and protect our members. We have steps to catch them before harm can be done.”
As well, in our monthly newsletters, we may include a warning to members about romance scams and how to detect these. Each time a member sends an online mail we warn them not to exchange contact information until they know someone well. We also warn members to report anyone who asks for money, hints of asking for money, has a sob story, asks to send you a money order for cashing, or talks about money in any shape or form. We warn them about all the flavors of scams out there and include the entire body of the scam mails in our Scam Reports Forum that is immediately seen upon log in.
4) Since many of the scammers have their own “language” (poorly constructed “Pidgin English”), has your company considered developing some kind of “expert system” to identify these scammers before they have a chance to scam your legitimate customers?
Yes, we have a Scam Tracker system in place. Our database contains numerous key scam phrases. When a member sends an online mail, it is parsed for these scam phrases. If one is detected, the profile is immediately flagged as a scammer and unavailable to members, the mail is NOT sent to the member, but is sent to us. We then personally review the mail to see if we have caught a scammer or an innocent victim. Due to not letting the scammers know too many of our secrets, I won’t go into too much detail here, but yes we do detect scammers with about 99% accuracy.
We also use our Scam Tracking Forum to educate our members and point out the discrepancies in the profile, from the IP address, to the broken English, to the claims of a professional career in the United States, to the model photo, to the claim of living in "Texas, New York," or other such off-the-wall location. We also warn members that when someone sneaks contact information and/or sends it immediately that they are typically a scammer, as most bona fide members in our Christian industry are more wary and want to wait and see.
In short, our complete safety and scam tracking system consists of:
1) IP Location detection and display
2) Photo approval and detection
3) Online Mail Key Words Detection
4) Online Mail Tracking of too many sends
5) Email Confirmation option
6) Newsletter Warnings
7) Scammer Forum Warnings
8) Log In Page Scammer Warnings
9) Offline Mail Warning to those Contacted by Detected Scammers
10) IP Blocking of Scammer IP’s
11) Member Reporting of Potential Scammers
12) Member Education in how to detect a Scammer and Safety
13) Credit Card Fraud Scam Detection, Deletion, and Member Warnings – we also call the number of the person whose card was used to see if it is a valid phone number. If not, we detect it as a fraud and flag them as a scammer. If the phone is valid we confirm the charge, and warn the person of a stolen card and possible identity theft if applicable. We then reimburse the charge and warn our members as well.
Our Email Confirmation option allows a member to email themselves an encrypted password, and then return to the site to plug in this password, thus proving they have a valid email address. Member’s profiles are flagged that this member has a confirmed email address.
[As of November 1, 2006, our Driver's License Validation module is in place.]
Currently, we are developing our Driver’s License reporting option. Members will be able to FAX, email or postal mail a copy of their driver’s license. We compare it against the profile for age, height, city, state, and photo. If it compares to the profile, we flag the profile as having passed the driver’s license test. Members can then view this flag in profiles to feel more comfortable about contacting this person because they have a valid driver’s license and have filled out their profile with accurate information.
We also have a system in place for reporting rude members and perverts, but that is another story. We are http://www.ChristianSinglesDating.com and have a reputation for being the safest site on the internet, and now you know why.
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