Are you looking for a woman online? Well, today, the internet is among the most used and most indispensable things in the world. People use it for business, pleasure, and even finding love.
As such, you can find beautiful women on the web for casual or serious relationships. It depends on what you want. While many like-minded persons are on the web looking for love, some have turned it into a business and are there to scam innocent people like you.
You need to be careful not to fall prey to these hungry vultures who work so hard to ensure that you give away your hard-earned money.
Dating & Romance Scam - Definition
A romance scam, commonly known as an online dating scam, is when one person is tricked into thinking or believing that they are in a romantic relationship with someone they just met online
While you may believe that you have found the one, you could be dealing with a cyber-criminal using a fake identity to scam you. The scammers will talk and engage you long enough for you to gain their trust. They will then profess their love quickly and get you hooked. Once they have your attention and heart, they can blackmail you or ask for money.
Dating and romance scams are more rampant online than they are in face-to-face interactions. This is because someone can use another person’s profile photo and hide behind the desk; you might never know their real personality unless you meet them physically.
As you embark on dating online, you need to be cautious not to fall victim, as you seek love on the web.
How Do Dating Scammers Operate?
Romance scammers are notorious for fraudulently stealing money from unknowing and honest victims. They start by creating fake profiles on dating sites and apps with awe-inspiring photos and details. Besides the captivating images and details, they also have a very sweet tongue and aim to strike a relationship with you.
Most people mistake this for love as they will be all sweet and chat with you every time to strengthen their relationship with you. They make you feel loved and cared for. Within a few days or months, they start making up stories and asking you for money or prepaid gift cards. Unbeknown to you, they will be scamming you.
Others take a different approach and claim to have sent you gifts. They will create a problem upon arrival and request you to facilitate the payment. Now, in most cases, you won’t guess it and will feel like it’s a small amount to pay for the ‘hefty’ gift. The scammer then tells you to pay the money directly to a particular account as they have someone on the ground.
Scammers are sweet with words, and you might never suspect any mischief. I would hate for you to lose your money and get a broken heart at the same time. Keep reading to know how you can spot an online dating scammer and protect yourself from such problems.
The Lies Romance Scammers Tell
Online dating scammers have a way of making any lie believable. Since you have a soft spot for them, you are unlikely to suspect anything. Here are some top lies they may use on you; watch out for them.
Scammers want you to pay for reload cards and gift cards because they know the transactions are barely traceable. Most of them have already diversified their lies and cheating games where they promise you all heaven until you send the money.
Online Dating Scam Cost Victims Millions during Covid-19
Online dating scams not only leave you with a broken heart but also an empty wallet. The Coronavirus pandemic made things even worse as people were confined to their homes and sought friendships and love online.
Con artists created more fake profiles and diversified their lying technics to their potential victims. During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, victims lost over £63million in online dating scams. It is important to note that this only accounts for the reported cases. This is because people were isolated from the general world; they were more vulnerable to lying and cheating.
Most victims said that the scammers started by showing massive interest in the relationship, claimed to be far away, gave false promises of love and settling together, and lured them into sending money. With the established romantic connection, most victims didn’t feel weird sending the money. They felt the need to help their lovers. Some victims withdrew all their life savings and sent them to their online lovers. Once the scammers noticed that the victims didn’t have any more money, they would stop talking or communicating.
It was not until after one week that a victim could feel conned and scammed. Some were too ashamed to report the matter to the authorities, leave alone show their faces. It is a painful experience for most people, and they may never fall in love again following the disappointment.
How to Spot an Online Romance Scammer
Having a failed relationship is among the most terrible things that you can experience. While it may leave you with a broken heart, it should never be the cause of poverty or brokenness. That is why I advocate that you protect yourself from online dating scammers as much as you can.
Here are some distinct ways that you can know someone is a scammer.
The slightest disorientation of your instincts can mean that something is wrong. Always remember that your guts, intuitions, and instincts can never lie to you; you might be the next victim. If the person you have been chatting with or talking to sounds cynical or can’t keep their story straight, you might be dealing with a perennial online dating scammer.
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Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Online Dating Scams
The best way to deal with a problem is to avoid it. Since you will be online looking for love, you may encounter scammers. If anyone exhibits any of the signs that I highlighted above, you should steer clear of them. Here are more ways to avoid online dating scams.
Tip #1. Take things slow
Online dating blocks out a lot of aspects, especially physicality. This makes most people skip several steps in a romantic relationship, such as friendships and bonding. Before you commit to start dating, ensure that you take things slowly for surety
Scammers are on the sites for only one reason; to take your money from you. As such, they want the process over with and get your money. Beware of someone quick to send gifts and flatter you.
Tip #2. Never send money
You should never send money to someone you don’t know. The money could be in the form of a gift card or cash reload card to your online love interest. Some have a crafty way of getting the money from you where they claim to have sent the gift and request you to clear the payment charges.
Tip #3. Always cross-check and verify
Before you start seriously dating anyone online, you should perform an online search and double check their name, photo, location, and email address. These are crucial aspects of legitimacy, and you can quickly distinguish a scammer from a legit person. Today, you can use ‘Reverse Image Search’ online and verify your online love interest’s photos or image legitimacy. Know who you are dealing with.
Tip #4. Report if you have already sent money
Have you already sent money? Well, worry not. You should quickly report the scammers to the online dating app that you have been using. Even further, file a complaint with FTC (Federal Trade Commission). It is your first step to getting justice.
Tip #5. Privacy and publicity
Online dating scams are broad. It can start with the scammers getting your private details from you so they can use them to blackmail you for money. Others just ask for money once they realise that you have an emotional attachment. As such, you need to keep your financial details very private and confidential. If anyone (from an online platform) asks you to meet them, you should meet them at a public facility or place. It is for your safety.
How to Report Online Dating and Romance Scammers
Millions of people have resorted to online dating and social networking sites to meet friends and lovers. However, instead of finding romance, they end up with heartbreak and an empty account.
These scammers take your money and wound your heart. While it may be almost impossible to recover money after you’ve been scammed, you can always report it. If this has happened to you or your loved ones, you must report it and save other people. Here is how you do it.
If you have paid for a gift card, you can contact the company that issued the card. Let them know that you spent it on a scammer and confirm if they can refund the money.
If you are convinced it’s a scam, notify the online dating app or site where you met the scammer and report it to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
Online dating scams mostly end up with victims losing their hard earned money, feeling emotionally drained and sometimes being pulled into criminal activities. If it’s too easy or cynical, we want you to protect your heart and wallet at all costs.
Final Words - Safety First
What’s better than falling in love? Love is a beautiful experience, and I pray that everyone finds the person they love most. However, with the increased rate of scammers, you should be careful not to get scammed off your money and emotions online.
This article covered various aspects, including how to spot an online dating scammer and how you can avoid falling victim. Look out for these red flags and stay on the safe side.
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