With the rise of Tinder and its swipe left or right easy access, paddling through the singletons dating pool has never seemed easier. Nothing these days is as easy as it seems, however, and nothing ever comes without its fair share of consequences.
Nevertheless, dating websites the world over can be a gift from heaven for those who are looking to find love. Yet, in China, dangers are not only present and growing in cunningness, but the nightmarish industry that is deceiving profiles, setting lonely traps and feeding love leachers is also flourishing, in the country that has the largest disparity between the sexes than any other country in the world. Scammers now have the frightening ability to purchase the identity of a real person, to then use as their own dating profile, for prices as low as ￥30.
According to Sina News, after paying as little as ￥30 to buy the name of a real person, scammers can receive a bundle package that consists of accounts, passwords, and three photos of the person. In addition, the scammer can even purchase a full set of “life” photos and videos for a ￥108 fee.
Dating websites claim to require strict profile verification in order to ensure the creation of a legitimate profile. However, Chen Wei an attorney with Beijing Yingke Law Firm, states “Dating websites have no access to the Ministry of Civil Affairs’ marriage registration database, so there is no way they can verify the most basic personal information, including a person’s real name, age or marital history”, reports China Daily.
The process of the identity theft of a real person for a dating profile starts with adding the merchant on WeChat. The merchant then sends the interested person a quote via WeChat, stating the prices that they offer for various dating websites including Jiayuan, Lily Net, and Treasure Net.
Fabricating more difficult security tests such as photo ID and SMS passcode is made easier as a result of identity theft, while details such as gender, age, height, education, salary, and marital status can easily be altered.
The issue of fake dating profiles in China was brought to light in September of 2017 when 37-year-old tech entrepreneur and multi-millionaire, Su Xiangmao, committed suicide after he married a woman that he had met on jiayuan.com, only to be scammed out of ￥10m shortly after marrying her.