Beware: Common Online Dating Scams
Scammers are real and they have no mercy, especially on single guys and girls looking for love online! Once they get you in their cross-hairs, they will drain the bank quick, if you let them! Use common sense and if it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t! Use these tips to avoid being the next target.
Although mainly targeting guys, these scams very much exist for females too. Beware, that “smoking hot guy/chick in Ghana” is probably someone sitting in a basement or at an internet cafe overseas, out to take you for a ride that’s gonna cost you dearly! Dating fraudsters are responsible for MILLIONS of lost dollars per year! They will find you on many of the popular dating sites, such as Match, OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, Hitwe and many others. Although some are better than others at removing these bad profiles, you are on your own if they get to you before the account is removed!
The hit list – compare your experience to these points, if you have matches, you may very well be dealing with a scammer:
- They are in Ghana?
Hmmm, last time I checked, this was not a hot spot for hot girls and guys… Just sayin’…
- Noticing a sidestep or skating around a particular question you’ve asked?
Maybe you’ve asked more than once, but you just never get that answer? This is a common tactic, they hope you’ll forget and get distracted with something else so they don’t have to answer.
- Have you asked them to prove they are real?
Maybe even prove they are in the USA? I have and boy, this one gets them every time. They ask “how?” – which is valid, but when you give them ideas… They play dumb or magically just stop responding… Sure they may come back after a while and try to change the subject… Stay on them and they’ll eventually give up! Some of the tactics I’ve used that are effective:
- Have them grab a sheet of paper and write something unique on it. I usually tell them to simply write something like “FNC 82897 and <my name>”… Why? Because it isn’t something they are going to be able to find quickly on the web. They could Photoshop it, but it will take time and they will have to stall to do this! This method puts them on the spot. How long does it take a grab a sheet of paper, write your text on it and snap a pic? Under a minute!
- So have them take a selfie without the note, then another one with the note. Have them send BOTH pics over. Do they match, are they wearing the same thing? Now, beware here… They may try and take a headless selfie with just body and your note. No no!! The shot must include upper body and head, that way you can verify the photo actually matches what you see on their original selfie and saw online. Does it match the person you think you are talking with??
- Alternately, you could demand they send you a photo of their drivers license, state id or whatever. But good luck with that. The next valid option would be Skype, Tango or Facetime… This way you can see the person in real-time, between these three software programs we are covering Windows phone, Android and Apple devices (Facetime being primarily Apple to Apple calling). Use the others if you are cross platform (ie: one Android, one Apple for example). Make sure they don’t just show you their surroundings… You want to SEE THEM! Don’t let them skate on this, because they will certainly try.
- What if they claim they don’t have enough data for a video call or need to buy more ‘airtime’…Whatever! Plan B, Have them go to a local cafe – there are plenty of them that have WIFI and guess what, even phones and computers in Ghana have cameras built in, so don’t buy any BS about they don’t have access to it and certainly don’t buy them airtime on their cell phone from Walmart, as they usually insist on.. That airtime, even if you do buy it for them is for you and every other guy they are working the scam on.
- Have they asked for money yet?
It’s coming, so get ready! There are many sad stories and reasons they need ‘funds’ to carry on talking. Here are the ones I’ve encountered:
- I have a sick/dying family member who needs an operation or was harmed in an accident.
- They need money to take an exam at the local hospital or college so they can graduate.
- They need money for a plane, train or bus trip to come see you. Some of the more bold moves are saying they will come live with you or even marry you if you’ll just get them out of where they are now… RUN my friend, run! This is NOT what you want!
- A personal note – they usually want money via Walmart (I guess they have some delivery service now) or the old standby, Western Union. Please folks, NEVER FALL VICTIM to this… It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book for online scammers!
- You’ve been talking for a little while (like less than a day) – but all of sudden, the dating site you met on is no good anymore.
They find it inconvenient and want you to meet up with them on another platform. They prefer Yahoo Messenger, WhatsApp and as of late, KIK Messenger. This is so they can get away from the scam watchers on the reputable dating sites who will often delete their profiles. When you branch away into KIK land, you are on your own and they know it!
- Broken technology
This one was new recently… I was told we couldn’t correspond via phone because the phone was recently dropped and damaged, now the speaker is broken, so only text is possible… While there is a chance this actually occurred, I still call BS… Cuz guess what, two days later, magically the phone was fixed – maybe they forgot the lie that I was told a few days before… I mean it is hard remembering all the lies you are telling the many you are trying to scam!
OK, still reading? Let’s keep this going then!
Still not convinced you are talking to a scammer?
There must be some doubt – you found this article!
Not judging – let the show go on!
- Get their full name and GOOGLE them…
Don’t be surprised if you find some obituaries and random off the wall garbage and, well, nothing else on them. That name is umm, fake my friend…
- Giving them a chance to not be on Google? Sure, no problem…
I was there too. Next stop: Facebook! Hey lookie there, they do have a Facebook profile… but it’s fairly new, he/she has almost no wall posts and very few friends. WARNING – newer Facebook profile is only there to trick you, don’t believe it! Now if there is established, long term material here… it MIGHT be legit, but this is highly unlikely from what I’ve seen.
- Does your new guy or gal have really bad grammar?
Do they sound like a robot on the phone, keep sentences and answers short? Do they have an ‘odd’ accent? You’ve got yourself a scammer! I would drop that call quick and move on!
- Are the texts somewhat annoying? Broken English?
Do you have to try and decipher what’s being said? This can be caused by use of translation software. English may not be their native language and the translation is not that great from the software they are using. Again, time to get out of dodge, you don’t want to deal with this do you? Move on!
- Do they overplay/overuse words typically used in established relationships?
Do they always replace your name with one of these words? What words? Well, just a few examples: honey, baby, love, dear, sweetie, etc. Have they dropped the “I love you” line within the first few days of chatting? Yikes! Here are some clips of ones I’ve received just this week (April 2017):
- “I need fund to get foodstuffs.”
- “Honey, I think the best is for me to be there with you and use the rest of my life in your arm.”
- “We discussed this yesterday, you were to help me with fund for my exam at nurse school to graduate when I can come see you.”
- “I love you baby, I cannot understand why you not help me with funds to see you and be in your arms.”
- Have you tried to email them?
You might be talking to “Corey” for example. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org? Now why would Corey call herself Alex on email? Ohhhh… silly me, it’s her FRIENDS account or her middle name! hahaha – NO, this is FAKE and is an immediate red flag!
- Have you been talking a while? That’s great, right? Sure, but think back on your conversations… Have they grown over time?
They should have, but are you still getting short answers or incomplete responses to questions? Scammers are patient, especially the seasoned ones… They might bait you for a week or more before unleashing the crap listed above… The newer ones are more impatient and sometimes start in on the first or second day. Just remember, your conversations should mature over time, they should naturally be progressing, getting warmer and warmer, longer and longer… If they are remaining neutral, you’ve got yourself an uninterested person on the other end or a scammer!
So what do the scammers do with the cash you send them if you fall victim?
Well, a recent survey found that they go on vacations, buy nice clothing, accessories, buy vehicles, pay rent and eat out in nice places! Do they work alone? Sometimes… But there are rings of these people overseas doing this as a full time job.
…To them, this is easy money!
A simple rule of thumb : NEVER send them money! Beware my friends, evil lurks! Have you had an experience? Please share in the comments below! This will possibly help others, include the names they used and any other relevant information. By getting this info out there, we might just prevent another scam victim! Consider sharing this article so we can get the word out there!
Who can you contact if you need to report a scam operation like this in progress? Have you lost money on a scam like this? You can report Internet crimes at the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) on the FBI website by visiting [IC3.GOV] and completing the ‘File A Complaint’ form.