Criminals program bots to scam $150 million from lonely singles

This week, Chinese authorities shut down a criminal enterprise that was programming bots to flirt their way into the wallets of their targets. 


It’s a story as old as the internet itself. Boy meets girl, girl turns out to be a bot programmed by an international crime syndicate. Over in China, this brand of digital amor fou is quite common.

This week, the anonymous foibles of many losers were collectively shamed when the Chinese authorities shut down 21 dating app providers that apparently conned male users out of more than $154 million.

The crims accomplished this scam through the application of a very archaic idea: The sexy woman. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with an attractive woman, but this is 2018. We’re all into far more varied fare, and your standard Marilyn format doesn’t welcome total compatibility.



The genius of the still-unnamed criminal gang was programming these bots to be flirty enough to succeed at the point where they pressed their quarry for fiduciary compensation. I mean, for the most logical (or cynical) of us dateless wonders, surely the overt attractiveness, excessive flirting, and the ultimate demand for cash would alert you enough to accept that this new relationship is not all you assumed it to be.

Clearly, one cannot put a price on love. Although, perhaps in China, you can.

Levity aside, my heart goes out to all those single dudes who thought that their long search was over, only to find that their romantic dreams were the stuff of pipes. That’s not nice. However, if any of them managed to climb over the Great Firewall and are reading this sentence, don’t be scared to make yourself available again.

One day, someone will love you for you.

And if not, they might not be a robot.

爱是盛大的 (ain’t love grand? – Ed)



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