Online dating scams or romance scams refer to the phenomenon of persuading someone on a dating site with love and affection with the only intention of getting a financial gain.
A love fraudster tends to use someone else’s identity by creating a fake profile.
The goal is to trick some vulnerable singles, usually senior daters: widowed people or recently divorced men and women), with fake romantic messages.
They falsely make them believe they are falling in love with them and that they really want to begin a new serious relationship.
However, what they are really after is money.
The trick works like that: usually people from the Ivory Coast or other African countries create false profiles of successful men or profiles of very sexy girls to try to seduce someone emotionally vulnerable in order to extort their money.
The phenomenon become widely known thanks a documentary and a subsequent TV show called “Catfish”, which is currently airing on MTV.
In the show, people having a romance on the Internet try to find out if their online date is real or romance scammer.
5 tricks to avoid becoming a victim of romance scams
Don’t trust users whose profile photos look really professional, like they have been taken from a fashion magazine. Keep in mind that if a profile looks too good to be true, then it is probably not a real profile. You can find plenty of attractive singles on dating sites, but not top models. So, they probably are not genuine.
Pay attention to the language used by your online dates. Dating sites are meant to be for flirting, chatting, meeting singles, and finding a potential partner. But if your match uses a tone that is extremely affective, and uses affectionate words from the first message, be aware that he/she doesn’t have good intentions. He/she just want to woo you with false promises of a long-term relationship. Never share your bank details with any user under any circumstance.
If your online date constantly makes excuses to avoid sending you photos, avoids talking through the webcam or explains a personal issue that requires you to send money to be solved, run! Block and report the user immediately. If you share your experience with the team of experts from the dating site you are using, you will be preventing other users from being scammed. The Best Dating Sites are very restrictive with romance scammers, and if they find one or receive a report from another user, they delete the profile right away.
Google search your online date and check his/her profile on social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You will ensure that the person you are talking to online corresponds to his/her profile. You will also be able to know your online date better: interests, how he/she interacts with others…
Use your webcam! Invite your online date to have a conversation through Skype or a similar service to double-check his/her identity.