“It won’t happen for about 50 minutes, 45 minutes, then [you’ll] get the message.” And rather than sending explicit messages and advertising links through Tinder itself, the new generation of bots will open with a quick compliment or attempt at flirtatious banter, then send a phone number or Kik username and ask would-be suitors to send them a text, according to Narang.“If you message them through SMS, that’s when they’ll actually go through their scripted conversation, talking about how they want to go on an adult webcam site,” he said.
They’ve migrated from lewd photos and explicit language to more plausible, girl-next-door-style pictures.
And they’ve programmed their bots to try to mimic a normal conversation, hoping to trick users into providing their phone numbers before they realize they’ve been had, security researchers say.
“It’s usually, ‘Hey, if you want to talk further, go to this link on this website, and you can see all my pictures there,’” Satnam Narang, a senior security response manager at Symantec who’s written about the phenomenon, told me.
Some spammers set up accounts for made-up sex workers, posting sultry photos overlaid with explicit price lists, along with fake escort service links actually pointing to porn sites and dubious premium dating services of the “hot girls in your area” variety.
Pindrop Security, which monitors online reports of phone fraud, said in an October blog post that it had seen increased numbers of Tinder-related text spam complaints, which it suggested might be the result of better spam detection by Tinder itself.