Are you sure your online relationship isn't really a scam?Learn about the dangers on internet dating

Category: Better Relationships | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 09-04-2014 | Modified: 13-03-2019

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Could you be the victim of internet dating fraud?

When you've found this page, you may very unfortunately already have fallen prey to an internet dating scammer. You may have been seduced by their charm with terrible consequences for your financial, mental and emotional health.

If you suspect you're being scammed, please read on and take heed...

This is where internet dating fraud happens

Your online date won't be comfortably sitting at the kitchen table, wherever they're proclaiming to live.

This is what his or her circumstances really look like:

6 Facts about online dating scammers

  1. Scammers work from internet cafe's or 'call centres' with a team of 'colleagues' - mostly women
  2. These are most often in secret locations mainly in west Africa (Gambia and Nigeria)
  3. They defend their fortresses violently if need be (talk about internet dating dangers! Even if it didn't do you any harm, it's certainly harming someone else.)
  4. As 'employees' they are often poor and uneducated (as opposed to their master, this is often their only means of being able to provide for their family)
  5. If unable to write in English (or other language), the keyboard will be handled by an out of view accomplice
  6. The object of your affection and your undivided attention will have a 'portfolio of clients' in different countries

Internet dating fraud is a widespread problem! The danger of internet dating therefore is that you could lose your heart and your money!

Dollar bill with cheque, crossed with text: SCAM

What the scamming looks like

Here is how a scammer builds a relationship with you (also see: How you're being catfished):

  • They're likely to have a profile so super-duper that you can't believe your luck that 'someone like that' would be interested in a 'mere mortal' like you
  • They will have hunted down and copied a mug-shot and other photos from the internet - men/women in uniform, official photos, professional-looking photos... you get my drift
  • They will be hugely attentive, thoughtful and full of compliments about your looks and your achievements. They're good and you don't need to be embarrassed if you're not seduced by that!
  • They will proclaim their undying love for you

Make no mistake - internet dating fraud is a very successful 'line of business'. The scammers are 'skilful' and they earn a ton (for their masters)!

Have the plans to meet each other gone awry?

When your relationship has really taken off and you're smitten - you can think of little else but your next contact - surely you should now meet.

You'll have discussed how, when and where. You can't wait to put your arms around him or her.

Here's what is likely to happen:

  • Then there's an 'incident' - such as, for example, a terrible accident, an ill parent or a robbery.
  • they'll be full of sorrow, worry and - tellingly - short of money, and insufficient funds to buy that ticket to come and see you
  • you'll feel sorry for them!
  • you give them a loan
  • they ask for more, and more...

Danger signs of internet dating fraud

Here is when you should be suspicious:

Magazine front: female filmstar
  • You have met them on a free internet dating site (free internet dating sites can be dangerous places!)
  • They proclaim to be rich, beautiful - with photos to boot, famous or in any other way successful
  • They profess their love far too quickly
  • They want you to keep your relationship a secret
  • They will want to use an instant messenger, emails or any other service that can't be monitored away from the dating site
  • They will inevitably ask for money

Remember: if it looks or sounds too good to be true, it most likely isn't!

And please, don't be hard on yourself. Do read all my advice in my article on Being Catfished and Online relationships.

Online dating? Background checks are vital!

It's relatively easy to protect yourself somewhat when you're dating on- or offline by just doing some searches. Spokeo makes it particularly easy to find out who you're really dating...

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Further links

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