Romance scams are a frustrating reality of online dating and last week, The Wireless reported on the growing number of scams cropping up on dating app Tinder.
We spoke to one man who had been conned out of money by someone pretending to be a rising porn star in Wellington.
But the pictures they were sending are actually stolen from an American webcam girl called Harliequinnx.
Webcam girls or "camgirls" are women who perform sexual services on the internet via webcams in exchange for money or goods.
Harliequinnx has been a camgirl for about five years and in that time, she’s heard about countless scam attempts using her photos.
1) Are the people taking your photos doing it to make money?
I only know of one person who actually tries to get money from using my identity. I'm pretty sure the same person has been doing this for over three years. I've actually talked to this person, asking them to stop pretending to be me and stealing my photos/recording my webcam shows, and they "claimed" to stop.
Other than that, two or three times per week someone will tell me that they found me on Tinder, Kik, or some other bullshit website.
2) Why do you think it’s so common?
It's easy to pretend you are a webcam girl since most of us use Twitter and Instagram and post a lot of pictures during our daily lives. Also anybody can record our live shows and post/edit them however they wish.
3) What do you do when you find out someone has used your photos in a scam?
I constantly stress on my Twitter the only social media sites that I use.
4) What’s the worst scam using your photos that you can remember?
I recently had someone come to me telling they got scammed by someone using my photos and he had to change his bank account even.
I have actually typed to the person pretending to be me and they think they're "helping me gain followers/making money" when really they are scamming people out of money which helps me in no way.
5) Tinder is relatively new – do you hear about many scams using your photos on the app?
At least once a week someone will come into my chatroom telling me they saw me on Tinder, whether they say it's from someone in United States, New Zealand or any other country.
@Harliequinnx so I believe someone is trying to imitate you and scam people, want to know if you were aware!— Keith Mirich (@KeithMirich) April 28, 2015
6) Is it flattering that people want to use your photos or just annoying?
It's EXTREMELY annoying. It's ONLY bad for business. I've never had someone who found a fake profile of "me" actually tip me or contribute to my chat room in any way. They only ask if they've actually been talking to me, I say no and that's it.