Romance Scams

One of the easiest ways for Internet criminals to cheat their victims out of their money is to emotionally manipulate them. Therefore online dating sites are prime avenues for scammers to find unassuming victims.

Romance scams, as they are called, are some of the most devastating forms of Internet fraud, not just because of the potential material loss, but also because the victims tend to be among the most desperate and emotionally unstable people.

A romance scam is often harder to detect than a phishing email that poses as a legitimate bank, for instance, because most people who sign up for Internet dating sites believe that everyone else on the site is as well meaning as they are.

This is especially the case with religious dating sites, where besides the emotional manipulation the scammer also takes advantage of the presumed morally upright nature of the members.

Signs of Romance Scams

It is important to be aware of some of the signs of typical romance scams. Someone you might think of as the next big love of your life may be just a scammer if:

» They refuse to reveal specific personal information about themselves, but demanding the same information from the victim.

» They appear very attractive in their pictures on the website, but don’t want to send any other pictures to the victim.

» They ask for money for seemingly charitable goals, e.g. to pay the scammer’s or their relative’s hospital bills, help with cashing in checks and money orders (which are false, and the victim will be under penalty of perjury for fraud), pay for plane tickets, passport, etc.

» They ask for the victim’s personal information, such as their mailing address, with excuses like wanting to send some present, etc.

Taking these signs into consideration is an important method of internet fraud protection, and it can go a long way in avoiding romance scams and to ensure a safe and pleasant online dating experience.