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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Online dating and romance scam
February 16, 2010
Hello

Online Dating and Romance Scam

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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Online Dating and Romance Scam

We have recently received many complaints about online dating and romance scams.

The scammers target you by creating fake profiles on genuine internet dating sites, chat rooms or introductory service classifieds.

Scammers then spend a lot of time forming a strong and trusting relationship with you. Their goal is to prey on your emotions and any vulnerabilities you may have.

Once they have gained your trust, they will use a variety of excuses to ask for your money. Common reasons include medical bills for sickness and unexpected accidents, airfares to come and meet you, and family related illnesses.

Money and gifts sent to scammers are usually impossible to recover. In addition to the lost money, hearts are usually broken with long-lasting emotional effects due to having been betrayed by someone they thought they loved and trusted.

Warning Signs

1. The profile photo of your date doesnít match up to the description they provided, or the photo looks like it is from a magazine

2. Your potential date expresses strong emotions after only a few letters or emails

3. You are asked for money, your bank account details or gifts

4. The emails become more desperate, persistent or direct if you donít send money straightaway

5. You are asked to go straight from on-site messaging to off-site messaging such as regular email or instant messaging [to prevent the dating site administrators seeing the evidence of the scam and kicking them off the site]

6. The scammer will shun live video chat because the photo is fake

How to Protect Yourself

1. Only give personal details to people you know and trust

2. Be wary of anyone who you have not personally met that asks you to send them money, gifts or your banking and credit card details

3. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity

4. Carefully assess peopleís profiles

5. When you agree to personally meet, tell family and friends where you are going

6. Keep your computer updated with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software and use a good firewall

Safe advice is: Long distance love + request for money = scam!

If you have received an e-mail referencing the above information or have been a victim of this or a similar incident, you should notify the IC3 via www.ic3.gov.

Remember - always watch for scams!

Steve

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