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Dating and Romance Scams

MODUS OPERANDI

The internet is used for almost everything, including finding a lifetime partner. There are thousands of online dating sites that provide the service of matching potential partners based on specific requirements. Unfortunately, there are predators that prowl legitimate dating sites for victims to scam. Scammers often create profiles and post them on legitimate dating sites waiting for potential victims to fall bait to their scam. They may even go as far as targeting specific kinds of people by creating a profile that meets the requirements of a match for the person they are targeting. These scammers are con artists and are skilled at building trust and making victim fall in love with them as they pose as their ideal partner. Once the victim’s defence are lowered and they become emotionally vulnerable they trick to you into giving them money. The scammer will contact the victim and will offer to share lots of personal information with them in the hope of building a trusted relationship. The information and profile pictures are all false and are often used repeatedly with various victims. Once they feel that the victim trusts them and they have a bond with them, they will often suddenly claim to be called away on business or claim to have a serious personal crisis. What then follows is a request for the victim to either send them money or to pay their travel expenses to visit them. They might even promise to refund the money to the victim when they meet them. Should the victim provide them with the requested money they may either disappear or request that they send more money. If the victim doesn’t give them the money their messages will often become more desperate and persistent to convince them to give them money.

TIPS

  • Be suspicious of people who have out of the ordinary jobs and other jobs that require large amounts of travel.
  • Watch out for emails where content has been pasted into the email, the fonts and font sizes always vary, or where the emails are not personally addressed to you i.e. “Hi beautiful”. Scammers often target several victims at the same time and make use of the same content in their emails to all victims.
  • Never send money to anyone that you are communicating with over the internet.
  • Look out for inconsistencies in the communication that is sent to you. Syndicates often have several people manning their online dating sites so you could possibly be chatting to two or three different people.
  • Be wary of people who keep promising to meet you but then always cancel at the last minute: don’t give someone money to come and visit you.
  • Should you arrange a meeting with someone you have met online, ensure that you meet in a public area and possibly with friends.
  • Be careful how much personal information you share on social networking sites. Scammers can use this information to target you with a scam.
  • Should you suspect that you are being targeted by a scammer, stop all communications immediately and report it to the online dating service immediately.