Beware of Diabolical Online Dating Scams!
As if there weren’t enough out there to worry about, now there’s a new threat to both your pocketbook, and your heart! Scammers are now making a fortune by preying on the emotions and vulnerability of people just like you and me! Unfortunately, love opens us up to the keen and vicious plots of con-artists.
In fact, the latest scam has the FBI up in arms! Well, not literally, but the FBI has issued a warning, alerting people to these online scammers who are targeting vulnerable daters. Apparently, the perpetrators fill out in depth profiles complete with realistic photos (often stolen from Facebook or other online sources), and compelling back stories with the sole purpose of scamming money out of people.
Traditionally, online dating scams worked by creating a very real and often cherished relationship with the victim. Often these scammers went to great lengths to convince their prey that they were genuinely in love with them. Weeks would pass with exchanged love letters, intimate conversations, and gifts which inspired trust and caring. And eventually, before you got to actually meet your ‘true’ love, they would find a way to ask for money. The reasons would vary, but the question was always asked with skill, and because the victim would believe themselves in a real relationship, they would try to help their love, and the scammer would win.
Love Held Hostage in Newest Online Dating Scam
In this newest, and most cunning scenario however, the relationship may proceed more rapidly. Instead of waiting long months, the unsuspecting dater is lured quickly to an off site chat room where talk becomes intimate. Not long after, the extortion begins! The poor unsuspecting dater will soon receive an email that provides a link to a site that will claim “cheater,” and ask you to pay $9 to see the entire encounter posted on their site. It comes complete with conversations, photos, and phone numbers, oh my! And if you’d like to have those ‘revealing’ photos and conversations removed? Time to fork over $99. And the sad thing is, if you hand over the money, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually take it down! (The FBI apparently has no reports of the information actually being removed).
So what to do? Is love really worth it all?
Don’t be afraid. Don’t avoid Dating Sites. But don’t be a victim! Be forewarned and be fore-armed. The best way to avoid a scam is to know that it exists, and to recognize the tell-tale signs of a scammer! So how can you recognize a scammer before you are actually scammed?
15 Signs that You’re Next! Don’t be caught off guard by an online dating scam!
“Are you a victim of Online Dating Scams”
If you use online dating sites, and you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in danger of being the victim of one of the many online dating scams.
- Are you a female over the age of 40 and disabled, divorced or widowed? This is the most commonly targeted demographic for this newest scam, though anybody of any age or sex could be a victim.
- Is your online love interest pestering you to leave the dating site to chat privately through IM or email? That newest ploy to get you in a compromising position, and then use the session to blackmail you. Also, it’s a great way to collect email addresses to sell.
- Is your date overseas or travelling? This is a common ploy that often ends in a plea for help to get home, or to solve some other long distance emergency.
- Have you been asked for money, or to cash a check? Big Red Flag; And you’ll likely be asked again once you cave!
- Is your date in the military? Another common ploy. With America sending scads of soldiers to distant lands, and with the respect that they engender, scam artists have been quick to take advantage.
- Has your date quickly professed their love? Could be true, could be flirting, or…
- Have you had your hopes of meeting your love in person dashed because of a last minute tragic event? Typical excuse.
- Do they need help re-shipping an item because a seller won’t ship to them? There are good reasons merchants won’t ship to certain places, don’t take the rap for someone else’s crime.
- Have you been offered money, given gifts, or a check? Small gifts of money or other presents are a great way to build trust. When they finally get around to asking you to cash a big check for them, and to give them the money, you won’t get suspicious and question it. Oh, and odds are… the check is fake, and you’ll get charged with passing a bad check.
- Are they from Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, or Africa? These countries are notorious for their many online dating scams, and agencies and businesses whose sole purpose is to scam people!
- Do they speak/write with broken, or funny English? Often scammers come from foreign countries and don’t speak English at all. Some even passing their messages through translators before passing them to you.
- Did they supply you with lots of personal information upfront? Most people are much more cautious. By giving you personal information they may be trying to make you feel safe and comfortable.
- Is their profile photo ‘glamorous’? A lot of stolen photos come out of Vogue, or other fashion sites.
- Do they often change the subject, or not answer your questions directly? A lot of scammer’s have pre-scripted emails that they can mass mail.
- Do they use ‘pet’ or use ‘love’ terms for you, instead of using your name? A lot easier to send out 50 identical emails if they all start with Dearest!
Be aware of the signs, and don’t ever send money to someone you’ve never met. Keep sensitive personal information to yourself, better safe then sorry, and someone who cares about you will understand this. If you think that they are genuinely in trouble and need help, direct them to the nearest local authorities who will be of help if they really do need help.
Don’t wait until it is to late, if you think that you are a victim of an online dating scam, get help now! If you’ve cashed a check for someone, or resent goods in the mail, you could be an unknowing party to fraud or worse! The best thing is to report the situation now before things get out of control.
If you think that you, or someone you know has been a victim of an online dating scam,here are some places you might go for more information and help:
- FTC hotline: 877-382-4357
- FTC website: www.ftc.gov
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center www.ic3.gov
- Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
And don’t forget to report it to the dating service that you met on. If they service is legitimate, they will want to prevent other members from falling prey to any online dating scams, and they will make every effort to help you solve your problem.
Be Safe, Be Aware!
And don’t forget to let others know how to be safe too!
Share this post with your friends!