Internet Romance Scams

 

No one wants to think they could be taken advantage of by Internet romance scams, and yet hundreds of thousands of people are taken in every year.

The scammers are professionals and often this is their only source of income.

The approach may be to secure some quick cash, or it may be a more elaborate scam over a longer period of time [up to a year]. In the cases of a longer relationship, the scammer will say, do or promise anything because they want you to trust them and believe in them, so it is easier to extract your money.

They will promise the world - love, marriage, children, business partnerships, travel, dream lifestyles, however the only catch is that you will have to fund all the dreams.

It will be a complete whirlwind romance!

How Do the Internet Romance 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 romance scams

In many cases, the victim will not only have lost out financially, but will also be left broken-hearted and thoroughly disillusioned. The scammers in Internet romance scams tend to prey on people who may be lonely, shy or isolated and therefore are more vulnerable.

Scammers may also simply send out millions of spam emails expressing a desire to begin a relationship in the hope that some gullible recipients will respond.

In most cases the scammers ask for money however if that doesn't look promising, they may ask their victims to cash money orders and wire them the proceeds. The money orders or cheques will turn out to be fake or stolen and the victim will be left out of pocket.

What to do for Internet Romance Scams

  • Once the scammer has asked for money, stop all 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.

For more detailed information on Internet Romance Scams:




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