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April 20, 2012 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Have you run into any 401 scammers on OKcupid?

I'm talking to a woman on OKcupid whom I'm about 98% certain is a Nigerian 401 scammer. She's admitted she doesn't live right down the 405 from me, in California, as her account stated. Instead she now says she's in Nigeria, but wants to come back to the USA, but it's hard because she's Brazilian. Her emails to me have started laying a bread crumb of typical 401 scam factoids.

I'm a bit fascinated with the attempt, but have started using throw away skype accounts and emails to talk to her.

I just want to know, have you run into this, and if so, what was the story you were given?
posted by bswinburn to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have any personal experience with this, but:
  1. You'll get better search results on this knowing that Nigerian advance fee frauds are called 419 scams, not 401.
  2. Online dating services are an incredibly common venue for such scams, so much so that the US State Department has a detailed warning page about them.

posted by strangely stunted trees at 1:51 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I didn't engage with her, but a few years ago I got a message from someone on OKC who struck me as one. I can't remember the details but the profile pics were ones I'd seen posted on Craigslist.

Perhaps amusingly, the 419 scammer had no issue with pretending to be gay or bisexual (I'm female.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:04 PM on April 20, 2012

Try copy-pasting some of her story into Google, often other targeted people will have already posted about the scammer (if she is one) on a forum.
posted by KateViolet at 2:19 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, I've run into this both on OKCupid and Match.com. There are many sites devoted to dating-site scammers.
posted by Melismata at 2:37 PM on April 20, 2012

I used to help moderate flagging on OKCupid (I think it's an option that turns on after your account is a certain % complete or you've been there long enough or something), and I can verify that they get a ton of scammer traffic of one sort or another. Generally, the profiles are pretty much copy/pasted into new profiles; same with messages. Photos are usually stolen from models or other blogs and turn up tons of hits on tineye or google.

Most of the attempts I saw as a mod were caught really quickly, like in the first email where the trademark grammar comes out, or they start talking like they're already dating you, and trying to get you to email them at a yahoo address or something. I've never really seen a conversation get so far that the scammer has actually had to tell some sort of story other than their copy/paste routine.
posted by LionIndex at 2:38 PM on April 20, 2012

419....I knew that. Dang.
posted by bswinburn at 2:53 PM on April 20, 2012

I've run into this on other sites. Unfortunately, it is a fairly common thing. There's some good information on romancescams.org.
posted by SisterHavana at 3:15 PM on April 20, 2012

Almost as soon as I opened an OKC account, I was contacted by a person whose account presented her as a leggy blonde, who told me about the exciting job interview she had scheduled, one that would provide so well for her and her son, but she was worried that she needed $500 for a good job interview suit. The account was gone several days later.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:35 PM on April 20, 2012

Whether it's just serendipitous timing or inspired by your post, you might be interested in this article posted on MeFi today.
posted by whatzit at 10:58 AM on April 21, 2012

Regularly. But if there's one thing the internet has taught me, it's the clear smell of bullshit.
posted by ead at 11:17 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have, and it was pretty obvious: the scammer claiming to be a Christian woman, etc. One flag that others have not brought up here is that yahoo.com e-mail accounts seem to be universal with scammers, because it's very easy to set them up.

So if someone you meet on the site is asking to move away from OkCupid's messaging system to talk via e-mail, and the address provided is yahoo.com, there is a very strong indication that you're dealing with a scammer.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 4:17 PM on April 21, 2012

Late to this party, but I'll throw in my 2 cents:

I used to do content moderation for OKCupid when I had an active account. Yes, there are a ton of spammy/scammy profiles on there. Most of the time they get flagged pretty fast and taken down by the site administrators, as they're not very subtle. But some sneak through. Flag the message, a team of moderators will have a look and delete her profile if warranted so that it doesn't happen to someone else (at least, not with that account).
posted by Fuego at 1:12 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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