A paid for advertisement appeared in the Palm Beach Post, picturing a woman who was looking for ‘a decent man to marry’.
In a TV interview, WPTVs security expert is warning people that it’s what the advert doesn’t say, that should make anyone think twice before answering the ad.
Generally, a scammer is targeting desperate people. Alan Crowetz of InfoStream, WPTVs Internet Security Expert, says that in this particular case, they are taking advantage of the pressure under which some people feel, to try to find that someone special.
Only sincere people in the 35 to 75 age range were invited to respond, with a view to marrying.
Very quickly Alan found a duplicate ad for a man seeking a woman to marry, which had run in two local publications. He said that anyone answering who is looking for love might end up getting something completely different. The ads are more than likely a scam.
We know people fall for it all the time, yet when seeing an advert such as this one, red flags should be going off left right and center, Alan said.
Picturing an attractive woman, the advert asks people to email "[email protected]". An emailed response was sent by WPTV but it went unanswered.
The WPTV News Channel 5, searched through databases and phone books for Florida, and even widened the search to the entire USA. The only thing the search revealed was that the name used in the email was that of the wife of the former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
The TV Channel then asked Alan to look for other similar adverts and he very quickly found another ‘man looking for woman’ advertisement, with identical wording.
If a scam works, the scammer will use it over and over according to Alan.
The advert Alan found had a phone number with a Miami area code. WPTV called the number which was answered by a man with a thick accent who said his name was Nicole Davis which is the name in the advert.
Alan Pointed out that respondents to the adverts were asked to provide their photo and a full biography, in fact everything necessary to have their ID ripped off. He went on to say that the more the scammer knows about the would be target, the more advantage can be taken, such as creating a fake driver’s license, a passport, not mention apply for a whole range of financial things.
Alan says that by placing the adverts in reputable in publications, helps to make them seem safe to answer. That element of ‘validity’ is a key part of any scam.
The Palm Beach Post’s advertising department told WPTV Ch5 news that they were totally unaware that the ads might be questionable. They said they hadn’t posted an advert of this nature in a long while. They also added that they obviously could not reveal details of the advertiser, due to its confidentiality policy. Alan pointed out that they’d be losing money if they investigated every single person placing and paying for an advertisement.
Alan strongly advises those looking for love to look somewhere else. The internet can be likened to less than reputable bar and in this case, a strong lesson can be learned, he said.
Then visualize this shady bar full of shady characters, he went on to say: you wouldn’t share your personal details with them, you wouldn’t invite them home or give them your biography and photo. Yet people are constantly doing just that on the internet.
The advertiser is doing nothing more than fishing. They are getting bites on the line they have in the water. They will sort through the details of the respondents and find out which ones are legitimate: deciding which ones are good targets.