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Fake photos are usually a giveaway; when in doubt, do a reverse Google image search.
Likewise, scammers use current events to provide cover stories that explain why they’re in, say, Nigeria.When venturing into this hard-to-navigate, constantly changing terrain, we seem to enter into an agreement to play these games with each other, at least during the courting phase, and often further into a relationship. This game starts when we first see someone we're attracted to.While games were fun to play as a child however, the games adults play are far more manipulative, and involve our most valuable asset as the prize - our hearts. It revolves around the quest for power, which instinctually we search for to alleviate feelings of perceived vulnerability. Glances are exchanged, body language is highly engaged, and the thrill of possibility occupies our minds.If one bot network pushes out the same garbled phrase to millions of profiles, it can quickly skew the pick-up line popularity contest.These bots aren’t necessarily looking for love, or even for a direct cash transfer; they’re often simply trying to convince their marks to install something, like an app, in a case of direct marketing gone gross.“In some ways the target isn’t really the victim of anything other than having their time wasted, and installing a game that they don’t necessarily want,” says Winchester of these bot-based shakedowns.
The result, Scamalytics, is a company that’s able not only to identify a number of key profile traits—in the “low hundreds,” says Winchester—but to measure how they play against one another for a more complete picture of who’s real and who’s swindling.“Features that in isolation may not give you too much information, in combination become much more powerful,” says Winchester.