Customers shop around for the girl of their dreams at sites, such as GirlfriendHire and fiverr, where hundreds of strangers promise to leave sexy messages on their client’s Facebook, flirt with them over Twitter and even send them text messages for a one-off 5-dollar payment.
Many promise their online flings will help build the confidence of their hapless Romeos, and make their friends and exes green with jealousy.
Some go further, offering to write handwritten love letters or pretend to break up with their clients over Facebook.
One fake girlfriend told The Sunday Mail she had two to three gigs a week ranging from pretending to be in a relationship to just being a pen pal.
“Sometimes guys just need someone to be there for them, maybe even need a little ego-boost,” the Courier Mail quoted her as syaing.
She said that while some on the sites offer more raunchy services, she liked to keep it above board.
“I only want to be a virtual girl to the boys. It’s a fake girlfriend site, not a porn site,” she said.
The service is thought to be rife with fraud and there is no way to tell whether your fake girlfriend is the real deal or a scammer with a phony picture.
Queensland University of Technology social media researcher associate professor Axel Bruns said people were feeling more pressure to increase their online status.
“People are trying to make themselves look well-connected, more important than they are, more social than they are and more desirable than they are,” he said.
He added that people should be cautious when adding strangers to Facebook, as profiles can contain valuable information that could be used by scammers to commit identity fraud.