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Experts say people are getting better at spotting many of the Internet's longtime scams: They're suspicious of unsolicited emails from the Nigerian royal family, and they ignore the romantic entreaties of beautiful lovestruck women who sound vaguely like badly programmed algorithms. And on dating sites, would-be scammers have a trump card: People are irrational when they're looking for love.
"Romance is by definition quite irrational," Jack Levin, co-director of Northeastern University's Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, told The Post.
There was no reason for Adam Hilarie to believe anything but the obvious: He had just been on a promising first date with a pretty girl.
Hilarie had met Hailey Rose Bustos on Plenty Of Fish, which bills itself as the largest dating site in the world.
"And the smartest person can be taken in during the early stages of the dating process.
Except now it's more sophisticated and easier for someone to lie and cheat and fabricate because they can pretty much change their identity to make it fit a new reality." Scammers, Levin said, "are experts at presentation of self.
A few hours later, the pair ended up at his place, where they talked a bit more and met up with his roommate. Bustos sent the single father a text afterward: She'd had a good time, she wrote to Hilarie, and wanted to meet up the following night at his place.
When you're dealing with the Internet, you don't need the resources that you might need in an interpersonal relationship, or face-to-face.
But on the Internet all you need really is to be very skillful at presenting yourself as something that you aren't.
The brothers had talked about the site, because Jackson is also a member.
"Half of the profiles, they don't even put their real name," Jackson said.