People are using this attractive woman's photo in an online dating con game

Former Match.com employee: If they refuse to meet you, it's not love

ORLANDO, Fla. – An email message from an attractive blonde who calls herself “Omallsha,” along with a few other aliases, is showing up in the inboxes of single women in Central Florida and across the country with a promising introduction to a male “friend.”

“Hello (I) am not a lesbian,” the email message reads.

The choppy English is a sure sign that it is not a chance at real romance.

Eric Resnick, the founder of ProfileHelper.com, said one of his clients received nine of those emails, with the same photo and message, but different names and URL addresses.

“They say, 'I have a friend I think will be great for you,'” Resnick told News 6. ”When they have one (message) that works, they copy and paste it a thousand times.”

Resnick, a former profile writer for Match.com, met his wife on the site. He said 39 percent of relationships started online last year.

Still, he cautioned, 5 percent of the faces on dating sites could be a front for a money-making scheme, not a true shot at romance.

Police said the con men manufacture a tale of financial stress that will convince men and women to wire money to their bank accounts.

News 6 has uncovered a trail of “catfish”-style online profiles and messages on Match.com and PlentyofFish.com.

The con men, sometimes referred to as “Nigerian Romeos,” lift photographs from Facebook accounts and use the faces of real people, ranging from doctors to lawyers to CEOs, to create online profiles.

“If you’re in Orlando, they’re not going to approach you with the photo of someone who is in Orlando, Resnick said. “There’s no way to stop someone from stealing an image.”

Two widows, Diane Standish, of Orlando, and Debbie Guitar, of Albany, wired funds to an estimated 20 U.S. bank accounts to help a man they thought was going to marry them.

They both fell in love with the face of former Albanian Ambassador to Bosnia, Flamur Gashni, a married man who had no idea his profile photos were used in an online dating scheme.

The women said they wired money to U.S. bank accounts held by complete strangers. Between them, they lost $340,000.

“He told me he was in love me, Standish told News 6. “He could be anywhere.”

The women met the conman on two different dating sites, Standish on Match.com and Guitar on PlentyofFish.com.

It appears the funds were sent via a SWIFT code, an international bank code that identifies particular banks worldwide. The codes are part of a cooperation to wire money to overseas banks.

For more information online dating coaching, profiles and scam alerts, visit ProfileHelper.com.

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