Online Dating: Scammers
Despite our best behaviour and taking extra precautions, some of us are bound to chance upon scammers and opportunists online.
We thought we knew it better. But seriously it wasn’t that easy.
How many stories in news we read, from time to time, telling us how women and men alike have been hoodwinked by this tricksters, losing all their life saving, among other things.
The reports said the victims were mostly lonely and not highly educated. It is a simplistic view bordering nonsense. Only those who have had experiences with these scammers know how slick these people are. These tricksters are more sophisticated, and slowly build trust as a budding romance ripens. Then the request for money comes, normally a relatively small amount at first; but once the hooks are in, the victim struggles to turn down subsequent heftier demands without admitting to having been hoodwinked.
Have you ever gone through a phase with online friends who started asking you to help him financially, for one reason or another. But any time you questioned anything, this guy had a comeback for it and he could make you feel like the dumbest person in the world. He made you feel like you didn’t trust him. Sounds familiar?
The most alarming part was when the people who get fooled by the online scammers are not necessarily lonelier or more trusting than their peers, but they do tend to have an ideal notion of romantic love. These people (including myself) are thus prone to fall fast and hard for anyone who showers us with exaggerated affection, even if that affection is expressed only via emails and instant messages. 😥
Love for Sale
- The Bait
The scammers set up a fake profile on a social-media or dating site. The man they invent is a ruggedly handsome, middle-aged widower who yearns to love again. He usually works in a macho job in a far-flung location—some-thing that provides good excuses to avoid face-to-face meetings.
2. The Grooming Phase
Once a woman gets drawn in, the scammer showers her with gestures of affection through email or instant messaging: declarations of love, plagiarised poems, compliments on her beauty. The scammer also asks personal questions about the victim’s life—the key to establishing an intimate connection.
3. The Gift
Satisfied that the mark is infatuated, the scammer concocts a situation that can be solved with a bit of money: He claims to need a few hundred dollars for a visa or money to travel. If the victim agrees to provide the cash, the scammer knows she’s on the hook.
4. The Crisis
Suddenly something goes horribly wrong. The scammer pleads for several thousand dollars to pay for a major surgery or to escape a legal predicament. Afraid she’ll never get to meet her beloved unless she complies, the victim wires the requested funds.
5. The Bleed
More aggressive demands for money ensue, until the victim either loses everything or gets wise to the con. At that point, the scammer either vanishes or tries to convince the victim to launder money on his behalf.
Here’s a few tips to take note
- Be on guard. Be especially cautious with people you only know through online messages and phone calls. If possible, try Skype or video chat. Many scammers use fake photos to lure their victims but video messaging is much harder to fake.
2. Be cautious if someone claims to be local or some dashing foreigners claimed to have a good job (money) but happens to be in the country working on some project.
3. Be your own detective. Use search engines to research the person’s name and background. Look up their phone number to see if it’s listed in the region they claim to be from.
4. Don’t send explicit messages or photos.
5. Don’t send anyone money. Ever.
Here’s a useful link for things related to online scams – http://www.delphifaq.com/faq/male_scammers/f6250_0.htm
Well, friends, despite the horrible news, there are some ray of hopes for online dating. Check out my next posting… A