The Lads from Cyprus: Now on Quora!

Back in March 2016, eight years and one day ago, I published an analysis of a spam ring advertising phony pay-for-play scam “dating sites.” This particular group was responsible for about 90% of the “Hot Lady Wants to F*ck You” spam in circulation. The spam contained links to hacked sites that the spammers placed malicious redirectors on, that would redirect to other sites that redirected to other sites that redirected to a site that would promise sex and ask you a bunch of questions about what you were looking for, then take you to the actual scam site.

I called these guys “the Lads from Cyprus” because invariably the scam dating sites were registered to a shell company organized in Cyprus.

Times have changed, and the Lads from Cyprus have changed with them. While they still do send spam emails, I rarely see them any more—perhaps six or eight times a year, where I used to see them multiple times per day.

Instead, they’ve moved on…to Quora.

The Quora Connection

I spend most of my time on Quora these days. A few years back, I started noticing a certain type of profile: large number of profiles with consistent behavior: a profile pic of a hot woman in a kind of blandly generic Instagram pose, answering questions at an enormous rate (sometimes once a minute or more), with the answers all being a sentence or so that might or might not be related to the question, but that always included a photo of a scantily-dressed woman.

The profiles look like this:

The links (“Latest Nude Videos and Pics,” “Hookup [sic] with me now”) all lead to domains that are registered on Namesilo, usually with ultra-cheap TLDs like “.life,” that—rather amazingly—are still using the exact same templates I saw in 2016.

Go with what works, eh?

Anyway, these sites ask you a bunch of questions, tell you you’re about to see nude photos, then redirect you to a scam dating site—in this case, one called”—where you will immediately see a direct message request the moment you connect, though of course you’ll need to pay if you want to receive it.

It’s actually kind of amazing to me that they’re still running the same scams essentially unchanged, using the same templates they used eight years ago. They’ve clearly got this down to an art—the redirection sites even do some spiffy geolocation and collect as much information from your browser fingerprint as they can before sending oyu off to the scam site.

There are at least hundreds, possibly thousands, of these fake profiles on Quora, all of which use stolen photos of Instagram models, and all of which link back, through various intermediaries, to the same scam dating site.

I started recording the scam profiles in a Notes file. I deliberately didn’t go out searching for them; instead, I just browsed Quora as I normally do, and made a note whenever I encountered one of these scam profiles (and if I was in the mood, did a reverse image search to see whose photos were stolen for that profile).

There are…a lot of them.

Based on what I’ve seen, I’d say probably 800 on the low end and 1,500 on the high end.

One of them even used stolen Instagram photos of pro golfer and model Paige Spiranac. When I reverse image searched the photos, I looked up the email address of her agent (who was easy to find) and sent an email saying “hey, just so you know, your client’s photos are being used in a catfishing scam, here’s the link.” The profile was banned a few days later, so maybe she or her agent filed a DMCA takedown request.

I find it interesting that this organized spam gang is still at it, still running the same scam they’ve been running for at least ten years, but always looking for new ways to find fresh crops of victims.

I also find it interesting that it works. These scam profiles quickly end up with thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of followers.

And finally, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a woman online, just look at the comments to the spam posts, which range from the drearily predictable:

To the completely unhinged:

(And what is it with these people not knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re”? You can be a completely deranged psycho who abuses women online or you can spell, but not, it seems, both.)

To the…well, I don’t know what the fuck this is. I’ve deliberately cropped off this fellow’s username.

Jesus, I do not understand why any woman would ever voluntarily go online.

On the one hand, it’s kinda hard to feel sorry for some of these blokes, who will no doubt be fleeced of all their money. That particular combination of toxic entitlement toward access to women’s bodies and aggressive stupidity makes it really hard to sympathize with the folks being ripped off here.

On the other, any scam is wrong, regardless of the victims it targets.

2 thoughts on “The Lads from Cyprus: Now on Quora!

  1. Thank goodness I am middle-aged, fat, and not at all photogenic. Those guys leave me alone. I also am extremely camera-hostile, which helps a lot. I never post any photos of myself online. Therefore, I can actually have a good time online.

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