According to the FBI, Americans lost $82 million to online dating fraud in just the last six months of 2014. Online dating scams are rife. Anyone can be targeted. You do not have to be rich and you do not have to be stupid. You just have to be looking for love, a search that causes you to be more vulnerable than usual. And love is the tool scammers use to pry open your bank account and strip you of your assets. By learning how to spot a scammer, you can protect yourself. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
I sometimes function as a scam-baiter. The idea of scam-baiting formalized with www.scambaiters.com, a web site devoted to 419 scams – 419 is the country code of Nigeria. We all know of these scams which typically involve sending money to Nigerian scammers to free large amounts of money that is blocked somehow. The method of scam-baiting is to communicate with scammers, recognize their techniques and simply waste their time so that they stay away from you more gullible folks out there. But I could find nothing much on dating scams in scambaiter.com. Although you will find many of these ideas out there, few will be as complete as in this post. I love it when they send documents like passports and visas. Good fakes cost money and these are easy to spot.
Go to the dating sites and you will be contacted. Research them aggressively using the techniques below, look for all the signs, and follow the story – the hook, the catch, their reaction to your reasonable demands, the accusations of lack of trust and finally, the sad loss of someone in love with you, but for all the wrong reasons. I find it challenging to try to break them (AnastasiaDate is my present challenge). It can be fun. Just don’t send money.
The top online dating websites – Match.com, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, OK Cupid, SeniorPeopleMeet and Our Time – need to do more to keep these heartless criminals off their sites and educate their users on how to spot and avoid romance scammers and what to do if they are victimized. There are many common sense steps dating sites can take to fight back against criminals who are stealing hearts and bank accounts. Identify and shut down the accounts of those who pay with stolen credit cards, verify identity with passports, check IP addresses to verify profiles’ listed locations, employ algorithms to detect suspicious language patterns used by scammers, and use image searches to identify fake profiles used across various dating websites.
Always check the terms and conditions of any dating site you plan on signing up for. For example, it is good to know that that is illegal to exchange personal contact information or that the women on the site are fictitious or “virtual”. Also read the review of each site on www.sitejabber.com.