What’s wrong with seeking love on the Internet? Online dating has been around for awhile now and, not coincidentally, so have the horror stories about scammers exploiting seekers of love and companionship. Scammers have targeted love-seekers for as long as people have been seeking love……was the Bible’s serpent a scammer? Perhaps. The FBI warns about online dating scams…..but not about serpents. However, there may be another disloyalty lurking in the online daters’ grass — the dating sites themselves.
It turns out that they have been more unfaithful than those pesky online scammers. So if you use Zoosk, Match, eHarmony, Plentyoffish, Hinge, Tinder, Blendr, Okcupid, The League Grindr or others, you’ll still need to be alert to potential exploiters and scammers. But the introduction of AI and bots into dating sites has created a world were many, if not most, of the people with whom you interact are likely to not exist.
Dating site business models have evolved into information mining companies. Under the cloak of “matching” people, these sites are actually getting information from you and about you — and then selling it. That’s how they make their money — at your expense.
The term you’ll need to learn about if you use any dating sites is catphisher. This is a person (or company) that manipulates you into send money or giving up personal information, usually by impersonating someone else. Catphishing is rampant on dating sites — and we’ve found that the catphishers are often fake personnas created by the dating sites themselves.
Recently, we took a close look at a number of “dating sites” that extract information from you using fake matches. Among these is AmourFeel based in the UK. This site is all engaging in information mining through the use of bots and fake identities. You don’t have to take our word for it, check out the customer reviews.
We signed up and engaged in conversations with 2 so-called women. They used up our 20 credits in just a few minutes because you are charged between $.50-80 per chat (2 credits). Within minutes, we could tell that this was a fake dating site, like many of the others we’ve reviewed. But you don’t have to take our word for it, just checkout one of the many stories told by past users. This one was posted October 15, 2021 on TrustPilot
Another recent review on Sitejabber reveals how AmourFeel is connected to other similar dating scam sites. This user warns that they may hack your credit card. Because they are an off-shore company, they are not subject to U.S. criminal authorities.
This Site Is Designed To Drain Your Credit Account
This site appears to be a means by which Eastern European residents make money by engaging in costly conversations with unsuspecting men and women looking for love…..in the wrong place. 800 credits (which won’t last long) will cost you almost $180. What does that get you? Not much. Let’s do the math.
For example, if you want to meet the person who you’ve been “conversing” with, it’ll cost you 3000 credits with that one person. That’s almost $700 talking to that one person before you are allowed to even engage in personal contact. To request that meeting costs you another $370. For real. Just opening a photo sent by that “person” will cost you about $2 for each photo. If they send 10 photos (and they will), that’s closer to $20.
The Site Is Mainly Populated by Bots and Fake Women
Within minutes of joining, we were deluged by over 10 messages. Most of them were one-sentence come-ons consistent with the language of bots. None of them had read our profile, as it made it explicitly clear not to contact us if they lived outside of California.
Using the search function, we identified two women who claimed to live in San Diego. We engaged with them, soon to find that not only were they unable to provide proof of living in San Diego (“what street do you live on? Where do you go grocery shopping?) but the proof they offered made it clear that they knew nothing about the city. It didn’t take long to realize that these two women were paid to stretch out the conversation for as long as possible because that’s how they are paid. And their fractured syntax also revealed that their command of English was extremely limited.
Another tell-tale sign of a scam: most all of the photos appear to have been swiped from professional photos of models. The pictures are perfectly composed and some even have the copyright stamped on the bottom of the photo. You can be sure that few, if any, of the profiles on these sites are real…..or that they are even the gender that they’re representing.
Closing Your Profile Is Almost Impossible
As soon as we realized this site was a scam, we attempted to close it. In order to deactivate your account you must divulge your name and sign an agreement that you will not attempt to get your money back or file a complaint about the site to anyone. So, if you make the mistake of joining any of the AmourFeel-related sites, be prepared to have great difficulty quitting these bogus dating sites.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself on Their Dating Sites
As we’ve stated above, we do not recommend you use ANY of the AmourFeel-related dating sites. They are dishonestly promising matches, but really just using fake bots to extract your personal information AND exposing you to hordes of scammers. In regards to the scammers on these sites, here are some important tips.
Spelling and grammar are now, finally, important
You may have ignored spelling and grammar in school, but don’t ignore it if you are in the dating world. If your prospect has poor grammar and spelling, be careful. They may be using instant messaging or TTY services for the deaf to help mask their broken English. A line that sounds like it could be from someone in a far-off country but portraying themselves to be in your same city will usually have a local dialect misfire. If a profile indicates your match has a college degree, but he or she can’t string a sentence together, you have reason to be suspicious.
Love at first write
If your correspondent/date is claiming to have fallen in love with you in the first few hours/days, the alarm bells should be going off. Usually, they’ll claim a deep connection with you and parrot back to you all of the things that you mentioned in your profile or prior correspondence. If this person seems like the ideal mate you’ve described in your own dating desires, they are probably scammers. If you begin to receive some of the most beautiful poetry you’ve ever read, well, they probably ripped it off of the Internet.
Which are the best online dating services to use?
We don’t have a specific service to recommend to you. We do suggest that you use more than one and compare for yourself. If you want to compare there dating sites, check out the discussion at Lifehacker or Urbanette and other high end matchmaking services.
Good rules of thumb are to date closer to home, keep emails to no more than three or four before moving to the phone. But nothing substitutes for an in-person meeting. Avoid fantasy relationship that will rip your heart in two unless that’s really all you are looking for. But ultimately, safe online dating happens if you are smart and honest…..and it helps if you know what you are looking for. There are lots of good people out there to date online. As many have said, “if you don’t know where you are headed, any road will get you there.”