Dating Scams. Single Men
are Often the Target of SCAMMERS.
This scenario happens often. “John” meets Ms. Right on an online dating site. She’s pretty, polite and adorable. She’s exactly what “John” had been seeking.
She has big beautiful eyes, gorgeous hair, nice body and she is very nice and personable. John exchanges several emails with Ms. Right – however, he soon realizes she’s not real. John is extremely disappointed and his dream is shattered.
Unfortunately, many of the profiles on dating sites are scams or fake profiles. “Scammers” utilize a personal profile as a “tool” or lure get a person to write to them. The scammer quickly creates “likability” and “Trust”. Why? Because their real agenda is to swindle money.
Here’s and a few stories and DATING SCAMS targeting SINGLE MEN who are tricked and scammed out of money, their time and emotional distress in some cases.
Some people on dating websites tell little white lies—create a positive spin on their age, weight, income or the reason their last relationship didn’t work out. But some profiles are total fakes, created by scammers looking to defraud individuals. In many cases they are able to take in sophisticated victims.
How can you protect yourself from online-dating scams? Here are some tips:
(We included a few actual photos of girls used
by SCAMMERS for online dating profiles – Beware.)
- Pay attention to language. Is there non-standard English or flowery phrasing that isn’t the norm where you live? These are big red flags.
- Use search engines. Check for the person on social networking sites, such as Facebook. You also can plug in passages from a profile on a dating site or an entire email message on Google or Bing. And you can search for any sobstory scenario you hear, to see if it is common.
- Check out the person’s photos. On tineye.com you can upload a picture and find out information about where on the Internet that photo has appeared.
- Stick to paid online dating sites. Paid sites have a paper trail of their members in the form of credit card information.
- Download security software onto your smartphone and tablet. Authorities are seeing an increase in attacks against routers, says Pittsburgh-based Adam Palmer, lead cybersecurity advisor at security software company Norton.
- Ask for more information before sharing your email or phone number. Where does this person live and work? Make sure his Facebook page matches what he’s telling you.
- Get on the phone as soon as possible. ‘Sure, you’ll be nervous, but you can probably tell within 30 seconds if someone is for real,’ says Ross Williams, Global Personals CEO.
- And this, too: Don’t give money to a stranger.
Take Tom Smith for example. Tom is earning decent money working in high level management for a corporation. He is 42 years old. It had had been several weeks after his break up with his long-time girlfriend, in the Seattle area, he was somewhat lonely and thought it was ready to start dating again.
He joined eHarmoney.com. Before long, he connected with a woman he says looked like a model. She said she was 28 and worked for an Airline company. “I was very flattered that a younger, attractive woman started paying me attention,” recalls Mr. Smith, 45.
For two months, Mr. Smith and the woman chatted on email and occasionally on the phone or Skype, discussing their families, jobs and interests. They never met in person. Then one day, she wrote and said her mother was very sick and she was trying to raise money to pay the hospital bill.
She asked for $5,000. Mr. Smith, thinking they had a bond and solid connection with each other, didn’t think twice, he wired her the money. He wanted to help and prove to her could be a good provider and protector. What a dating scam. Beware.
Almost immediately, the woman’s profile disappeared from the site. Mr. Smith couldn’t reach her when he tried to write or call. He said, “I felt like a fool and an idiot – I got scammed,”. He never heard from her again.
Why Do Some Smart and Educated Men
Get Fooled so Easily?
Psychologists blame what they call the “halo effect.” It’s what happens when we notice something we like about a person—often it’s physical beauty—and then start imagining other positive qualities.
It’s along the same reasoning that some better looking people often are paid more than average-looking people, and it happens all the time in online dating. Good looking people often appear to be more innocent in appearance. Many people have a pre-conceived opinion of what a “crook” or a “scammer” looks like.
We see an attractive person, or read an interesting profile, and soon we are projecting onto that person who we are looking for, letting our guard down and we start ignoring ALL the obvious red flags. Online scammers use the halo effect consistently. It’s their “ruse” or their “lure”.
The FBI receives thousands of complaints a year from people who have been fleeced or scammed by “crooks” they met on dating sites. The online dating industry says scammers represent a small fraction of all profiles. “But scammers are aggressive,” and they are certainly out there looking to take your MONEY.
A lawsuit filed in December seeking class-action status in U.S. District Court in Dallas alleges that more than half the profiles on Match.com are “inactive, fake or fraudulent.”
At the FBI says most scammers operate from abroad, especially West Africa and the former Soviet republics. In a typical scenario, the scammer creates a fake profile using photos of an attractive individual, in many cases lifted off social-networking sites.
Often, the written part of the profile is copied verbatim from a real profile or a recycled template prepared before they even contacted you. The scammers often keep notes of whom they have contacted the conversations. Nearly all scammers have scripts and nearly all of them are designed to create emotional bonds with their targets.
Scammers want and NEED to make an emotional connection in order for their scam to work. At first, they flatter and fawn. Once you are hooked, they hit you with some variation of several well-worn sob stories.
Sometimes they say they live abroad and desperately want to visit you, but their country’s banking system is broken. Or they’re at the airport and their credit card has been declined. Some scammers even pretend to be U.S. military service members trying to get back home and low on cash. Their stories all end in same place: Most request you to wire money and they will pay you back.
“They present themselves as being vulnerable and often victimized, but they are really looking for someone who is vulnerable, alone, lonely and is almost desperate for attention and love.”
Typically, this type of automated system will track how many messages a profile sends per hour, or searches for words like “wire.” A security team may scan suspicious profiles. Most reputable dating sites encourage users to flag inappropriate behavior, including money requests.
Now, some online-dating sites are adding more exclusivity and security. Some very unique dating sites review every profile and photo submitted to check for grammar, spelling and other inconsistencies suggesting the works of an overseas scammer unfamiliar with English.
The company says it gets 8,000 new members a day of which about a dozen are scammers whose profiles it pulls down immediately. On Iloveyouraccent.com, members can opt to pay for a background check of anyone on the site.
Here are more common red flags:
- Proceed with caution with anyone who claims to be recently widowed or an American working overseas, or who quickly asks to communicate on an outside email or messaging system.
- Always read every word and think about what they are saying.
- Be a critical thinker. Do not always think emotionally. There is no common sense logic when you think emotionally.
- Do not do anything on impulse. Think before you do.
- Watch for inconsistencies and listen to what they say when you catch them in an inconsistent story or comment.
- If it’s a scammer, they will try to pull at your heart-strings. Beware when they say they have money problems or when about sudden illnesses and need money for medicine or a doctor.
- Bombard of flirty compliments. Do they call you “sweetie” or “handsome”? These are all part of the scammers scheme to hook you. Do they get too romantic too quickly?
Use your “gut” feelings. If you think something is probably lying or scamming you, then it is probably true. Do not fall for their pressure to make you feel sorry. Always verify what you read or see on the Internet and in real life.
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