The internet is full of hundreds of sites and apps that offer online dating and the possibility of finding friends and of course your ‘soul mate’. For this reason, regular visitors from all over the world come to these pages, looking for that special person they lack in life.
As you may have seen, love stories written on the web circulate through various media, but not all have a happy ending; because sad anecdotes are also known of those who were victims of the “romance scam”, falling into the hands of swindlers who stole their hearts and their money.
Scammers are those people who use the unprotected information that circulates on the internet to take advantage of a victim and swindle it according to an employee of social media website.
The same source indicates that it is usual to find them on dating websites, where they pretend to be single, in order to profit from the loneliness of the people. In the same way, they appear on other social networks or contact their prey by means of emails, in which they promise a dreamy relationship of love, jewels, inheritances, gold and money.
While the romance lasts, they give false information so as not to be tracked, many pass themselves off as executives, army officers or businessmen, and the photographs of their profiles are stolen from other users. At the end when the victim asks to meet them in person, they ask for money to cover travel expenses and visas. In other cases, such a person feigns a problem that can only be solved with financial help.
Finally, when he or she obtains the requested funds, he or she disappears without further ado, and the lover is left with a broken heart and empty accounts.
Avoid being a victim
- There are two primordial signals. First: someone behaves with too much intensity, telling you that you are his/her soul mate, after a few hours of chat. Second – and this is the part of which you must take care of yourself – he or she asks for money. Do not trust others in these situations.
- Another sign that you are not talking to the person you think is the refusal to talk on the phone. Among others, there are groups in Nigeria and Eastern Europe who are swindling people pretending to be American, Australian or British women in their twenties – a farce they cannot keep in a telephone conversation.
- Check if the phrases they say appear elsewhere. In general, this type of scammers follow a kind of script, the advantage is that there are sites that have been dedicated to collecting them and that you can consult.
If you suspect that your new friend is a scammer, copy their messages in the Google search engine. You may find the same stories or similar phrases on other websites.
- For its part, the FBI recommends that you investigate the photo and profile of your new friend, using search tools in the network. This way you can check if the photo or profile has been used elsewhere.
- Also take your time in the relationship and ask lots of questions. As far as possible try to check what you tell.
- Likewise, be careful if the person seems to be too perfect or if he asks you to leave the Internet or Facebook dating service to talk by other means such as email or text messages.
One of the internal sources indicates that online dating services routinely track conversations in search of scammers (for example, if banking data is transferred in a chat), and they do not want to be discovered.
- Be careful if the individual tries to isolate you from your friends and family or request inappropriate photos or financial information that could then be used to extort you.
- Do not trust if the individual promises to meet in person, but then he/she gives you an excuse and cancels the appointment. If you have not met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to suspect, says the FBI.