Internet Dating Scams

 

If you use the internet to find relationships, you should be educated in internet dating scams.

Online dating is increasing in popularity as a way to meet people. Sometimes the online friendships blossom into genuine long term relationships.

Sadly however, there is a dark side to online dating. If you place a personal advertisement on the internet you are a potential victim for professional con artists and internet predators who entice unsuspecting hearts into a web of deception.

Scammers have learnt to effectively exploit people's loneliness and shyness and dupe them into sending money while posing as girlfriends or boyfriends.

A lot of the internet personals, online introduction agencies and matchmaking sites allow anyone to join for free, and they don't usually screen their members. This means that you never know who is behind that pretty or handsome photo - a genuine good-looking person, or a con artist who downloaded a photo of a model from the internet.

How Do the Internet Dating Scams Work?

  • A person registers on an online dating site and creates a profile and often includes a photo
  • A scammer contacts the person and expresses an interest in exploring a relationship
  • The victim and scammer correspond and usually the scammer encourages the victim to move off the dating site contact system and continue communicating via email so that the dating site can't monitor the scammer
  • The scammer builds up trust with the victim and photos are exchanged. The scammer has stolen photos from other internet sites so the photos the victims sees are not that of the scammer
  • Once the relationship has been progressing a few weeks [usually 2-6 weeks] the scammer will 'fall in love' with the victim and the communication will become very passionate and seductive
  • Then the scammer will ask for money for a variety of reasons:
      -- Passport, visa, air tickets and travel insurance
      -- Emergency medical expenses for her or her family due to illness or accidents
      -- Internet cafe expenses, cell phone
  • If the victim sends money, the scammer knows they have a 'live one' and will continue to invent reasons for more money until the victim has no more money, or realizes what is going on and stops communicating
  • The scammer drops the email address used with the victim and continues with their other victims they are stringing along at the same time
  • A variation to the internet dating scams is when the scammer sets up a profile and waits for the victims to contact them. They usually use a photo of a very attractive young woman as its guaranteed to get hundreds of replies from men!
  • The scammers also stalk chat rooms and begin a conversation there.
internet dating scams

What to do for Internet Dating Scams

  • Once the scammer has asked for money, stop further communications with them
  • Report them to the dating site
  • No matter how trustworthy they may seem, DO NOT SEND THEM MONEY
  • If you have sent them money, your chances of getting it back are really zero, but you should report it to the Police, Western Union [if it was used] or Moneygram [if it was used]
  • If you are from the US, you can also visit the Internet Fraud Complaint Center hosted by the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov in order to file a complaint.
  • See advice for the most popular internet dating scams 


Advice for Internet Dating Scams

  • Enjoy the relationship, but DON'T SEND THEM MONEY OR CREDIT CARD OR BANK DETAILS!!! and then all you will lose is your heart!
  • If you are a US citizen, the Fraud Prevention Unit can verify the authenticity of any U.S. visa via e-mail at FPMM@state.gov. In addition, complete and authoritative information on applying for a U.S. visa is available on the Department of State’s webpage on Visa Information for Temporary Visitors.

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