It's pretty easy to tell: They send the same message over and over, often with the same link.
But there's a type of dating site scam that's far trickier to spot, and the people who operate it claim to be making thousands of dollars every month fooling vulnerable men.
Scammers are told to use a female partner for the video call part of the process, but there are guidelines on what they should look like: If a scammer is successful here, and managed to con the target out of money for a webcam, or other small amounts, then they may attempt the riskiest part of the process, known as the "pause." Scammers are instructed to stage an altercation over webcam, and then cease contact.
After a week, scammers are told to call the target and claim that their "husband/father/pimp/whoever" got "drunk/high/whatever" and attacked them.
It's called the "cashing out" stage, and it's where scammers start to ask for money.
We took it one step further by checking them out so we could categorize them, record the name of the site, give a description of the site, record if it was online or offline or dead, what they sell and we even got screen shots.
The documents are often sold for small amounts of money, but the price barrier, the need to pay with Bitcoin, and the fact that they're only available on the deep web prevents the guides from being circulated widely.
The document, titled Adhrann's Updated Dating Scam 2014, lays out a method for creating fake dating site profiles, ensnaring men in conversation, and then pressuring them to send money.
They are then instructed to take the information learned, and then create the "perfect woman" for the target.
Adhrann says that scammers should "emphasize on you being in a difficult financial situation, yet DO NOT insist on that, but treat this subject like you have been much better in the past, and really ashamed now, [as you are] not used to being poor." Step three is where things start getting really interesting.