Romance Scam

You will have come across a romance scam [although you may not have recognized it!]  if you have used online dating for any length of time.

They are called sweetheart scams and are rapidly increasing.

Some of the scammers take as long as a year to hunt for people's weaknesses and find out what they care about, and then they go in for the kill.

No dating site is immune from them and everyone who uses a dating site is a potential victim,  and should be prepared for the most common romance scam.

Some  scammers seem to deliberately target groups set up for Christian singles where people may be less suspicious. Meeting people on a Christian site is believed to be safe.

There are many variations but they have some common themes:

  • You are approached on an online dating site by somebody who lives locally but works abroad, or who lives abroad
  • The countries involved may include Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast or other west African country
  • Trust is built up between you and the scammer
  • The scammer suddenly has an urgent need for money for a plausible cause and you are probably the only person who can help them out
  • You send them money
  • They need more and more money until you haven't got any more, or you realise what is happening and stop communicating with them

romance scam

The scammers are capitalising on several advantages:

  • Online dating involves people looking for love and their defenses could be lowered
  • You are single and looking for love so they will play up to be the 'ideal date'
  • They have all the time in the world to build a relationship over months or even a year - and will have hundreds of scams going at any one time - so they can wait for the right moment before asking for money
  • They prey on the fact most people using a dating service probably won't have a strong support group around them to ask for advice

For more detailed information:

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

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