How did online dating and scams happen to be in the same sentence? It doesn’t seem right that these two words should be related. But in today’s world of internet scams are everywhere. A dating scam, otherwise known as romance scams are becoming more and more prevalent.
In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported a $220 million loss by victims of romance scams. They also stated that 14,546 people became victims of online dating scams.
What Is An Online Dating Scam?
An online dating scam happens when a person takes the identity in the form of an online name and photo and gains the affection of another. A person convinces a victim they have romantic intentions towards them. The scammer will very quickly try to take the conversation to a more private site like texting or skype. Once the victim begins to communicate on a new location, the scammer calls the victim baby, honey, sweetheart, and tells the victim how beautiful or handsome they are.
The romance scammer may take months to build the trust of the victim. They will get to know your life and more personal information. The more the victim feels loved and cared for, the more information he/she will give out.
The intentions of the scammer are all the same. They want something from you and want to build your trust to get it. The types of things they want are different for each scammer.
Romance scammers will use online dating services, Facebook, and even Pinterest with fake profiles to reach their victims. They build a profile they feel will easily attract the opposite sex. Some of the scammers will use the same script each time they find a new victim.
On a small scale, the scammer may eventually ask you for money. They say it’s for their child or a family emergency. They may even say they want to come to visit you, but you will need to send them the money. You have built a trusting relationship with the scammer and want to meet them, so you send money. After receiving the payment, they don’t stop. They may make up an excuse as to why it was not enough money and want you to send more.
Excuses For Needing Money
- They want to come to meet you
- They have a sick family member who needs medical care
- They got robbed and needed money
- Their business is failing, and they need your help
- A need for gas money
- Need to complete their education and ran out of money
The list can go on and on. But the result is the same. You send cash repeatedly until they have all of your life savings.
Scammers like these are building many different relationships at one time. The money they get may add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars from numerous sources. So, when you think they can’t be scamming you for $1000 remember they may be scamming ten victims at one time each for $1000.
The scammer may be operating on a much larger scale and maybe more dangerous than you initially thought. Online dating and scams may be a part of international criminal networks. They need you to launder their money or ship items to different places. Scammers on a large scale such as this may send you gifts like computers or flowers. They may send you money.
Types Of Things Criminal Scammers May Require:
- Send money to your bank and ask you to wire it to someone else
- They send you goods such as laptops or cell phones and ask you to send them onto someone else.
- They can use you as a money mule
- Or have you transport drugs
All of these actions are federal criminal offenses. If you do these things for them, you too can be arrested on criminal charges and go to prison.
Some scammers will build trust and then get their victims to perform sexual acts on the webcam. Then they will use to tape to blackmail the person for money or for you to launder money for them.
Who Are The Victims?
Romance scammers prey on the lonely person lacking in self-confidence. The person who wants to find love and be loved. What can you do to avoid these scammers?
The very first thing is to be aware of how they operate. If a person online will not produce identification and very quickly want to move the conversation to a more private platform, this is alarming. If that person begins to call you names of endearment such as baby, honey, sweetheart very early in the relationship, this is alarming also.
Once you make yourself aware of how online dating and scams operate, it is good to look at why you may be a target. Are you lonely? Do you feel like you are not good enough? Have you recently come out of an abusive relationship?
All of these personality traits or situations are what the scammer is hoping to find in you. They prey on people who are not strong and need to be loved.
- Positive thinking. What you think is what you will become.
- Surround yourself with supportive people
- Build new friendships and spend time with them
- Exercise to refresh the mind and body
- Find a hobby or job that helps give you a sense of accomplishment
I am sure you have heard all of these suggestions before, but the one you may not be familiar with is an accomplishment.
I began an online business a few months ago. As I grow and learn how to work this business, I raise my self-esteem. I find tremendous support within the group of people I interact with daily. Not only am I building self-confidence, but I am setting up a future financial income for myself.
Begin something in your life that will help you feel accomplished and take up some time, so you are not so lonely. Become a part of something bigger with friends and support.
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Please be careful and be aware of the scammers who play on your emotions. Build a life and a future for you and do not let some dishonest love triangle take it away. You are worth so much more; you are fearless. Empower your life and become a force no one can move.
I love questions and comments. Have you had an experience with Online Dating And Scams? Please feel free to share it with us. It can be a devastating moment in your life, and talking about it can help.