People are conned everyday on dating sites, losing thousands of dollars to romance scammers. Reports confirm that romance scams cost consumers more financially than any other kind of internet fraud. The world of on-line dating is becoming more familiar to us as one of the main venues to find romance. People look to social media and on-line dating sites everyday to connect with the world, find that certain someone, creating an easy access for scammers to take advantage.
As a user of on-line dating sites, I recently notice the number of on-line scammers is increasing drastically. I would say 2 out of 5 emails I receive is from a romance scammer. As the allure of on-line dating becomes more popular, with more people than ever signing up, scammers are stepping up their game and the numbers are multiplying fast.
Anyone can become the victim of an online dating scam. Most people think that the crimes are limited to middle-aged men and women who can’t find a date, surprisingly this is not always the case. It is happening to people in all walks of life – lawyers, doctors, entertainers, CEO’s of companies – all have fallen victim to these on-line romance cons. So how do you know if you are contacted by a scammer? How do you protect yourself from falling for this persons deceit? What do you do if you find out you are indeed talking to a romance scammer? What actions do you take?
Here are some red flags to keep in mind in determining if someone who contacted you is a scammer. To recognize and avoid romance scams, follow these tips.
- Grammar – There is not much first person “I” or “we,” for example: The sentence might start out as – “Am happy to met you.” They tend to leave out the I’s and start sentences with Am. They may say that they are university educated but their grammar is poor.
- Profile – Romance scammers rarely have more than one picture on their profile. Maybe two. Sometimes you will even notice that they are not even the same person …maybe similar in looks but not the same! You will not see pictures of them with family, beloved pets, at home cooking up a meal …the pictures you would see on a normal users profile. The profile’s essay is noticeably shorter than most, illustrating that not much thought and intent were used to create it.
- Correspondence – In chatting with a romance scammer, usually by the second or third email you will notice the conversation moves from vague to introduction of love. The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim and gain trust. They may say things like – “am love talking to you this morning, would love to wake up with you for rest of our lives.” Realistically someone you just met, and talked to only once or twice, would not do this. Beware if they immediately ask you to talk to them off site, as in a personal email, or by phone. The scammer will often say they are not on the site very often, or not very familiar with the site and can communicate easier by personal email etc. If this is a legitimate user, they should be willing to take time to know you on the dating site first. To further gain your trust scammers will make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen as there will always be some excuse. Often they claim to be temporarily out of the country working on a project as a construction manager or engineer. Many will also say they are widowed. If you still have not met after a couple of months, you should be suspicious.
- The Hook – Eventually, they always ask for money. Or occasionally, it is a mail fraud scam and they will ask for your address to ship you a “gift” they recently bought for you. I had one guy tell me he bought me an engagement ring and was scared to keep it aboard the ship he was on for fear of piracy. He needed my address to go ahead and ship the ring, as he planned to fly in to see me as soon as he docked in a month or so to propose marriage.
DO NOT BE A VICTIM OF SCAM! Just remember to be cautious.
Play detective. Research the persons photo and profile using online search engines and resources. Find out as much as you can as soon as you can. Ask lots of questions. They will always try to evade answering questions. Be aware if they seem to perfect too soon.
You know the saying …”If something seems to good to be true, it usually is.”
If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, stop all contact immediately. Do not let them know you are on to them. Never, never try to lead them on or anger them in any way. And if you are the victim of a romance scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
I hope you find these tips useful. Be safe out there and thanks for visiting!