After years of dating frustration, Montana resident Debbie Best thought her luck had finally changed when she met a handsome antiques dealer from Florida through an online dating site. But then her newfound boyfriend started asking for money. A lot of it. In , the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 5, complaints from victims of so-called “romance scammers” — criminals who scan online dating sites, chat rooms and social networking sites for potential victims. In a typical con, the perpetrator will spend weeks or even months building up a romantic relationship with a victim through e-mails, texts or phone calls, before eventually asking for money. And many of the scammers aren’t even in the United States. Debt collection horror stories For Best, it all started when she signed up for a free online dating site called mingle2. A man calling himself “John” messaged her and through daily phone calls and messages on Facebook, he gained her trust.
By Ann Brenoff scyther5 via Getty Images Hundreds of thousands of women and men worldwide fall victim to online romance scams every year. Reported losses in the U. Most of that money will never be recovered. Here are 11 things you can do to avoid being scammed: Make sure you actually know the person before accepting a friend request on Facebook.
If the person claims you have mutual friends, verify that claim.
The AARP also says that seniors are a common target of these scams. Again, both men and women can and have fallen victim to online dating scammers, but women tend to be targeted more aggressively.
Generally, a victim is contacted by someone online through various social media or a legitimate dating website. The victim and the scammer create an online relationship. While the victim may become suspicious overtime, the scammer lures them in with pictures, hardships, promises, excitement, and claims of love. Eventually, the scammer will ask for help, for various reasons, involving the victim sending money. After the scammer gets all the money they can from the victim, the scammer drops communication, leaving the victim dumbfounded, hurt, confused, and out of a lot of money, which is rarely recovered.
I receive a TON of e-mails per year from victims asking for help because they knew I always wanted to be a spy. Unfortunately, by the time the money leaves their hands, it is gone forever.
How to Avoid Dating Scams
Nigerian Dating Scam – I’ve been there by Catherine Sheffield, UK I am a widow and after just over two years my friends told me to try internet dating. As I was in my 40’s I thought I would join a site for over plus dating which you pay a subscription for and I thought would be safe. I started chatting to a guy who said he was english born but his father was american. He was working for the united nations as an orthapedic surgeon which I thought was a bit of a story but I went along with it.
We were chatting for a few weeks and he suggested going onto messenger as it would save money on subscriptions.
Sometimes, they have nefarious intentions. Then it happened to my mom. A few months ago, I was having brunch with my mom and listening to her lament the lesser qualities of her on-again, off-again boyfriend. At one point, I urged her to try something that had never quite worked for me: My mom is bubbly and talkative, the kind of woman who makes friends wherever she goes. My limited experiences with online dating on OkCupid and Tinder have been pretty dismal. If my mom had a positive online dating experience, I reasoned, that would would be enough to give me hope for my own romantic prospects.
I felt hopeful, so I made one final push. But she seemed most taken with a military man named Scott. Later, she would show me his picture, giddy like a high schooler at showing off her new beau. But for the time being, she was just enjoying all of his attention. My mom was no longer on Match. Something sounded off to me.
I was a victim of an online dating scam
Then he asks for money. Or some other urgent reason. Finding love online can be challenging. It can be very difficult to figure out if you are meeting the person of your dreams, or if it is someone who is looking to scam you and wants to pick your pockets. Below, please find some red flags as well as tips to help you decide if you are dating a scammer. Scammers, both male and female, make fake dating profiles, sometimes using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel.
By now we are all familiar in some way with the internet and how it all works. With today’s lifestyles becoming more and more hectic the effort to get out there and meet people seems too much of an effort.
Thursday, January 12, Online Dating: Beware of Military Man Scam One of the scary things about the online dating world is that you really never know who it is you are talking to, and people can say anything, act anyway and you really have no way to know the difference until meeting them in person. That’s the chance you have to make when it comes down to meeting in person.
You may or may not have heard of the military man scam on almost all dating and social networking apps. Desperate people will take advantage of the naive and gullible women and men who frequent online dating apps. These people will prey on those of us who are thirsty to find love and the fairy tale happily ever after. Unfortunately, there are people with big hearts who fall for this scam. These people think they are doing something kind for another person who they believe cares for them and wants to be with them, when in reality, this other person is just trying to steal money from them.
One of the biggest scams going around on online dating sites right now is what I call the Military Man scam. These people use photos of hot buff men showing off their army fatigues, and tell a story of how they are looking for their one true love to spend the rest of the life with. They typically have some sort of sappy heartstring pulling story about how their wife died and they are now a single parent of a small child, oh, and by the way, they are also deployed somewhere far, far away.
This is an actual pic from one of these fake profiles. I’m sure the guy in the photo is actually a great guy and I’m sorry someone is using his photo to rob from others.
Names of Scammers and Names Used in Nigerian Scams
Can You Spot the Scammer? Military romance scams are used to con women out of thousands. Vicki Each week, I get letters by email, on my website, by Twitter and on Facebook from women who are sending money to Africa and Afghanistan to help service members come home. This is a scam!!
They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad. Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging.
They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency.
For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street. The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses. Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere.
They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity. Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else.
Ladies: Beware of Soldiers on Internet Dating Sites
A registered nurse who joined a popular dating app to look for love ended up being scammed out of thousands of dollars. The year-old woman from a western state told Fox News that she exchanged private messages with a man who sent her dozens of photos and a promise of a better life. He ended up with her personal information and is threatening to make it public if she exposes him. He got pictures, too. The FBI says love scams are among the fastest-growing crimes on the Internet.
In , over a billion dollars was taken from people looking for love in the wrong place and with the wrong person.
Online dating and romance scams often begin like any other online relationship: interested individuals exchange basic information, like their line of work, their city, and their hobbies and interests. Scammers may then ask their victims to leave the dating site and use personal email.
Stolen images[ edit ] Falsified passport used in an actual internet romance scam. The deception is obvious to observers, but often ignored by willing victims. This is often known as catfishing. This might be for requests for gas money or bus and airplane tickets to travel to visit the victim, medical expenses, education expenses etc. There is usually the promise that the fictitious character will one day join the victim in the victim’s country.
The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money. Victims can be highly traumatized by this and are often very embarrassed and ashamed when they learn they have become a victim of a scam and that the romance was a farce.
Signs of an Online Dating Scam
Citizen Services Romance Scams U. Correspondents may cultivate the relationship for several months before asking for money, but if they are after your money, eventually they will ask for it. Before you send any money to Ghana, please take the time to do your research and inform yourself. Start by considering the fact that scams are common enough to warrant this warning. Next, look over this partial list of indicators.
If any of them sound familiar, you are likely the victim of an internet scam.
MilitaryCupid is a leading military dating site, helping thousands of military singles and civilians find their perfect match in uniform. With a remarkable member base of over ,+ military personnel and civilians, whether you’re looking for a military penpal or love .
You receive an email examples below offering to buy your item, pay for your services in advance, or rent your apartment, sight unseen and without meeting you in person. Scams often pretend to involve a 3rd party shipping agent, business associate, etc. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram: Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, or rent is below market, etc.
Scammer may falsely claim a confirmation code from you is needed before he can withdraw your money. Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, UK, Netherlands—but could be anywhere.