1.1: Why Are So Many People Scammed?
Men and women from all around the world are scammed by Internet dating schemes. Each year, over 20 million people lose money to Internet dating schemes designed to steal their hard-earned cash. There are many red flags that can help you avoid a romance scam. The scammer pressures for a commitment within a few days or weeks, regardless of whether it’s compatible with your schedule or goals. Not even one photo is shared on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. All of these things and many other factors indicate romance scams that are happening these days.
1.2: What Are Romance Scams?
A romance scam is a type of Internet dating scam. Romantic or sexual relationships are created through dating websites, chat rooms, email, or text.
This is a scam that is extremely common. These fraudsters are targeting women and are convincing them that they are in love. They pretend to be in financial need and use this as a way to justify their requests for money. Another option is that they have lost a job or do not have enough funds for basic necessities. This is what will convince these people that they have made the right choice by giving money to the scammer. They might even ask for further financial support with their goals.
Receiving money for educational purposes
The biggest red flag in these scams is that people assume that they have met a good person and should pay them for their efforts. Many of these people are struggling with financial difficulties and need help with their studies.
What are romance scams?
The scammers use fake identities, profiles on dating websites, and even smartphone applications to trick people into thinking they’re with someone they’re actually communicating with. The scams usually involve grand gestures and promise of big monetary gifts. Women are more frequently targeted than men, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your money back if you’re ever caught in the clutches of a romance scammer. Victims may get a nasty surprise when they discover a letter from the “love of their life” with their own name on it. Many of these relationships are purely online and have no real impact on the victims’ real lives.
How common are romance scams?
An estimated $3.1 billion was lost to online dating scams in 2016.
How do they operate?
According to the FBI, a romance scam often starts with an acquaintance who becomes suspicious when a victim abruptly breaks off communication, or suddenly disappears.
“The perpetrators will often deceive the victim by posing as a close friend or family member in order to make the relationship appear more legitimate,” said Brad Foss, executive director of Security Studies and Criminology at American University.
Scammers often start off small by finding out as much information as they can about their victim’s online persona, including online activity, hobbies, even their financial status. The information is used to develop plausible and believable fake personas, like “John Smith” who’s traveling the world, or “Gina Smith” who has been divorced and is looking to start a new life.
Red Flags for Romance Scams
Scammers often use aliases or birthdates to create believable fake identities. They list cities like Toronto, Moscow, or Kathmandu to show their wealth and show that they are travelling. Scammers will often use fake nicknames, like “Ted,” “Jeff,” or “Paul” to keep their identity hidden, as well. The scammer does not respond to emails or phone calls from the potential victim until after they have already invested time and money in their scam. The scammer works relentlessly and can become aggressive in pursuing their victim, which is usually a sign that they are not who they say they are. The scammer is often well-versed in the art of deception, which allows them to deceive others with confidence.
The person is a perfect match
The characteristics of these internet dating scamming tricks include:
A person’s profiles are either fake or they only use a picture that is 15 to 20 years old
A person communicates with you via the phone and never sends a picture
They use nice words but they lie to you about the person’s job
This person is still single and looking to be in a relationship
You never meet or you only meet at a hotel
When you meet, the scammer already knows where you live or who you live with
They only want to meet on the phone, send you strange messages that the victim may believe is from a partner, and tells you to meet or fly to their area to begin a relationship
You never meet, they only want you to keep talking to them and the conversation never includes you.
Too much pressure to commit quickly
When you meet someone you like online, it’s natural to want to meet them in person. Online dating sites offer the opportunity to connect with potential partners in a more convenient way. So, you may reach out to someone you just met on a dating site and ask to meet up with them. They might quickly agree and call you their “future” or “soulmate”. However, many online romance scams start with these kinds of conversations. These exchanges can be very convincing because they seem real and might even last for weeks or even months.
Online dating scams can be sneaky
If you are really interested in someone but they aren’t answering your texts or phone calls, it may be too good to be true.
Lack of social media presence
A person isn’t sure about their real identity and often uses fake identities to ‘live life’ as a different person. Anonymity and lack of internet footprint is a big red flag.
They claim to be from a different country and seem to have a different accent.
They sound too good to be true!
Lack of details
When the scammer asks you to send a few personal details to a secure email address, he or she is definitely using fake names, fake photos, and the email might not be from a reliable source. Avoid transferring personal details to strangers.
No physical contact
When a scammer contacts you over the phone, they ask for you to send money, or they claim that you have won money. This is often used to steal money from victims.
Do not give out personal or financial information to someone you do not know. Stay away from sending money to someone you do not know via an email, text, chat, or message app. Please contact the FBI or local police if you believe you have been the victim of a romance scam.