If you think being catfished is a terrible outcome to online dating, wait until you hear about what goes on in China.
A new study titled “Quit Playing Games With My Heart: Understanding Online Dating Scams” conducted by University College London and Jiayuan, China’s largest dating site, reveals some of the extremely clever scams that go on in the Chinese online dating world.
After analyzing over 500,000 Jiayuan profiles flagged as scams by the site’s employees, researchers found over 57,000 accounts engaging in a clever scam termed “date for profit.”
The scam starts when when an owner of a fancy restaurant hires an attractive woman and has her create a dating profile. The woman then asks a male victim found on the site to take her out on a date at that specific restaurant. From there, they’ll typically rack up a large tab ranging from $100 to $2,000. After the victim pays for the meal, the woman is never heard from again. The researchers wrote:
“The success rate of this type of scam is much higher [than traditional online scams] because the scammer leverages the desire of the victim to meet an attractive woman. In addition, it is likely that the victim will never realise that he has been scammed, since the date really happened, and the victim possibly had a good time.”
In another scam that specifically targets women, an “attractive mid-age man” will reach out to a lonely middle-aged woman and develop a romantic relationship with her that’s completely online. At some point, the man will imply that he wants to marry her, but that his parents need some sort of gesture for goodwill. This is revealed to be an expensive flower basket that can cost up to $20,000. The man will then refer her to a florist who he’s working with, who gives him a cut of the money after the purchase is made.
Thank god this sort of thing hasn’t reached America yet.
… Or has it?