We flooded our dating app with bots…to scam scammers

Brian Weinreich
4 min readAug 18, 2022

Let me tell you a little bit about dating apps in 2022.

You meet a nice, young woman named Carolina. After speaking with her for a week, you agree to meet up. She’s coming over. But, at the last minute she messages:

“My car broke down on the way to your house. Can you send me $40 to fix it ASAP? Google play gift cards would be fine.”

YOU JUST DONE BEEN SCAMMED.

My co-founder Zach and I recently started a video dating app, and as user numbers grew, so did the number of scammers harassing people for money.

We are a teeny 3-person startup. We have resources like two staplers, a handful of pens, and a computer charger. We couldn’t “throw money at the problem.”

Here’s what we did instead…

The Dark Dating Pool

When a user signs up for Filteroff, our sophisticated Scammer Detection System 🤖 kicks into full gear, doing complex boop-bop-beep math to determine if they are gonna be a problem.

When a scammer is detected, we snag them out of the Normal Dating Pool and place them in a separate Dark Dating Pool full of other scammers and… BOTS! Oh heck yeah. We built a bot army full of profiles with fake photos and some artificial intelligence that lets our bots talk like humans with the scammers.

This delivered three amazing things for us:

  1. Our bots sounded like humans (kinda!).
  2. The scammers had no clue they had been detected.
  3. We received a series of hilarious bot+scammer conversations.

The whole thing worked beautifully. Some of these conversations were too good so I asked my two (non-actor) friends to read / react to them without any prep. I apologize in advance for my stupid laughing 😶

My favorite Bot + Scammer conversations

Nurse & Teacher

In this conversation, the bot decides to switch professions, mid-conversation. But, what’s so hard about having three professions… when you’re a bot!?

I’m From .

Wait — so where are you from??

WhatsApp Confusion

When your bot has an existential meltdown.

Male or Female?

Don’t lock us bots into gender identities!

555–1234

Ugh, why does everyone on this app have the same phone number?

Age Confusion

Age is just a number, for a bot.

Banana

Okay, at some point you gotta wonder.. how do scammers not realize you’re a bot?

Bot Anger

Whoa! Easy there scammer. No need to yell at our bot!

Jackie

Jackie. Jackie. Jackie. Looks like our bot may have gotten stuck in a loop with their name.

Time Issues

It’s 10am in Niceville, but is it 10am in Niceville? Our silly bot couldn’t figure out what time it really was.

Visiting Family on Dating App

Who doesn’t have their entire family on Filteroff? Let’s date together!

❤️ Thanks for reading. And go join our dating app → it’s Filteroff

Oh, and…

Fun Fact! The award for most faked identity goes to Michael!

I really want to know why they chose him for hundreds of profiles. Maybe he converts the best on dating apps. Michael, if you’re reading this, and if that’s really your name, I’m sorry, but you’re just a hot older guy.

For the tech-savvy 🤓

  • Yes, all chats are encrypted. Only the ones between bots and scammers would be delivered to me.
  • We erred on the side of caution when putting users in the “dark dating pool.”
  • I apologize for writing some bad regex (you’ll know what I mean).

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