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.

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When the call center employees are not being hired to close the deal on a romance scam, very often they are used to assist in bank account takeovers, redirecting packages with shipping companies, or handling fraudulent new credit applications that require phone verification.

Another reason that call centers aren’t used earlier in romance scams: Hiring one is expensive.

Recently, I had a chance to review a package of dating scam emails, instructions, pictures, videos and love letter templates that are sold to scammers in the underground, and was struck by how commoditized this type of fraud has become.

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.

It is in this critical, final part of the scam that the fraudster is encouraged to take advantage of criminal call centers that staff women who can be hired to play the part of the damsel in distress.

“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].

“What we tend to see with these dating scams is the scammer will tell the call center operator to be sure to mention special nicknames and to remind him of specific things they talked about in their email correspondence.” This entry was posted on Monday, January 4th, 2016 at am and is filed under Other.

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Out of the hundreds of thousands of cases filed with the , only a small portion of victims went to the authorities.