They're perfect. In fact, they're someone you could see yourself spending the rest of your life with. A decent person with a good job or business in search of a good, honest partner to settle down with.
You or someone you know may be dating this person online right now. However, be warned. Things aren't what they appear to be. In reality you're talking to a criminal sitting in a cybercafe with a well rehearsed script he's used many times before. He's hunting through chat rooms, dating sites and social networking sites searching for victims, looking to cash in on romance. If you are over 40, recently divorced, a widow, elderly or disabled then all the better in his eyes. Scammers are adept at psychological profiling, and use any weakness they find to their advantage.
It's the newest evolution of the Nigerian advance fee (419) scam. Instead of sending spam letters that promise millions for your assistance, these scammers are targeting single men and women who are searching for love online.
They use psychological tricks to lure their victims in, use poetry and even gifts to get them under their spell, then once you are there, will try to reach for your wallet, all the time declaring their 'undying love' for you. The scam may take the form of asking you to cash a cheque for them through your bank account because they are 'out of the country' and unable to cash it themselves, or they may come right out and ask you to send money to help them out of a fabricated 'financial difficulty' they claim to be experiencing. These are all lies used to try to make them easy money from an unsuspecting victim.
The sad truth is, for every real profile you see on the internet, there are numerous false ones pretending to be your perfect mate and using photographs stolen from modelling or social networking sites. The people in the photographs are as much victims as the people who get scammed for hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.Internet romance scams and other related crimes are very real, and they are affecting -- even ruining -- lives throughout the world.
The best weapon against this crime is education. The more people that are educated in the ways the scams work, the harder it is for the scammers to make money and the more scammers that can be put out of business.
A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigned romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victims' money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, and/or national identification numbers or by getting the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
In the 1980s prisoners within the Louisiana State Penitentiary in unincorporated West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, United States operated an advance fee fraud scheme. Advertisements, mostly of men seeking men, appeared in newspapers in Canada and the USA. In each case, the scammer sent the mark an image of an attractive person and gave a pressing reason to send money. If the mark complies, the scammer asks for more money. Kirksey McCord Nix used the scheme to raise enough money to attempt to buy a corrupt pardon from the Governor of Louisiana.
Scammers post profiles on dating websites to fish for victims. Upon finding victims scammers lure them to more private means of communication to allow for fraud to occur.
Many scammers favor religious dating websites such as Christian sites, because the users are more complacent. Religious site users tend to assume that because they are on the religious site, their fellow users will have high moral values.
Rhonda McGregor, an online moderator for the ROMANCE SCAMS Yahoo! group, stated that many romance scammers avoid answering personal questions and ask their victims many questions.
Narratives used to extract money from the victims of romantic scams include the following:
The scammer says their boss paid them in postal money orders. The scammer wants the mark to cash the money orders, and then wire money to the scammer. The forged money orders leave the banks to incur debts against the victims.
The scammer says they need the mark to send money to pay for a passport.
The scammer says they require money for flights to the victim's country because of being left there by a stepparent, or husband/wife, or because they are just tired of living in their country and somehow never comes, or says that they are being held against their will by immigration authorities, who demand bribes.
The scammer says they are being held against her will for failure to pay a bill or requires money for hospital bills.
The scammer says they are sponsoring a orphanage and require extra funds to help repair the building after a fire, a friend sends you a cheque if you can transfer the cash to the scammer.
The scammer says they need the money to pay for the phone bills in order to continue communicating with you.
The scammer says they need the money for their or their parents urgent medical treatment.
The scammer says they need the money to successfully graduate prior they can visit you.
The scammer offers a job, often to people in a poor country, on payment of a registration fee. These are particularly common at Africa Dating Scams.
A man has lost £16,000 in two internet dating scams after sending money overseas to girls who failed to turn up.
David Hodgkinson, from Margate in Kent, advertised his profile on a variety of internet dating sites and was approached by a Russian woman called 'Natalia'.
Hodgkinson sent the woman £10,000 so that she could obtain a visa and purchase a ticket to fly over and meet him in the UK.
After being given a variety of arrival dates he went to Heathrow to meet her four times but she never arrived.
'I feel no ill in my heart. I did really love her,' Hodgkinson told the BBC.
Hodgkinson then tried a Christian dating site and stared chatting with a woman from Senegal. He sent her £6,000 but again she failed to turn up.
Hodgkinson borrowed money from his elderly mother and remortgaged his home to pay for the two girls. His mother is now taking out a loan to clear his debts.
'I did tell him off about keeping going to Heathrow,' she said. 'In my heart I knew they wouldn't ever turn up. But he never listened.'
Dirk from Heerlen, Netherlands
Warning over online dating scams
Meeting in person may avoid the chance of being robbed
People using online dating agencies are being warned to look out for fraudsters who want to steal their money.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), as part of its scams awareness month, says dating frauds are becoming more common.
The criminals create attractive online profiles for themselves, designed to attract a particular victim.
They then use bogus sob stories to lure them into handing over personal information, such as their address and bank account details.
'Online dating scammers are heartless. They are happy to exploit people's emotions for their own gain,' said an OFT spokeswoman.
Once the scammers have made contact with a potential victim, through dating websites or chat rooms, they build up the victim's confidence in their potential partner.
Then they ask them for money, with a false story to back it up.
Among the common stories, says the OFT, are:
They would really like to meet you, but do not have enough money to travel
They are stranded abroad and do not have money for travel or visas
They have been robbed and beaten, and require urgent surgery or treatment for a serious illness - and you are the only person who can help them.
The authorities say there are several tell-tale signs that the story and the person apparently behind it are bogus.
Among them are requests to send them cash by money transfer, no ability to contact the person except via the internet, and a particularly good-looking photo.
The basic advice is never to hand over personal details, such as home address or bank account details, to someone you have never actually met.
Dating Scams - Save Yourself A Heartache ... And Money
Dating scams have made the news several times. Scammers give the dating industry a bad name. But you can avoid them.
These scam operators are people (not necessarily women) who make a living of abusing the feelings of those who try to find a wife through Internet dating. These scammers are not interested in love. They just want money, which makes them one of the major dangers of online dating.
Most notorious are dating scams performed by Russians. Russian scammers have made hundreds - and more likely thousands - of victims already. If you are not prepared, you can be the next one.
Scammers benefit from the fact that email communication is quite anonymous. Ask yourself: Do you really know who the Russian (or Brazilian, or Asian, or ...) lady is you are writing to? And is all she (?) writes really true?
The answer is: it's just a matter of believing her or not, as long as you haven't met her.
The strategies of dating scams are simple and effective. But you can recognize them.
Usually a dating scammer pretends to fall in love within a few letters or weeks. And then out of the blue, something terrible happens: she writes her victim she can't afford her Internet service anymore, her mum is nearly dying and needs an expensive operation, she has lost their job and so on. In one word: disaster!
The only remedy is that you send money, by using Western Union or other worldwide money transfer services that do not require a full identity check. Once payment has arrived, the victim will never hear from his 'lover' again.
Another scenario. 'Your' lady tells you about some friend or acquaintance who works at a travel agency and can arrange visa plus a plane ticket for her. But she has no money. Who's gonna pay, you think? And how?
There are even (mainly Russian) marriage agencies that are nothing but dating scams.
You think you write one of their Russian ladies, but in fact you write the owner. The woman you like doesn't really exist, or she doesn't know about you. She might even be a photo model who doesn’t know she’s on this website.
Scammers often use false names and/or false postal addresses. If needed, they switch from alias to alias.
The best advice to avoid dating scams is simple:
Never send money to a lady you are corresponding with, until you have met her in person and know that she's reliable.
Remember: although your heart might tell you otherwise, you do NOT have a relationship with a mail order bride you have never met.
One more advice: You should always make sure to have a lady’s full address and, if available, phone number. It’s a clear red flag if she doesn’t want to give her address. In that case: don’t write her anymore.
There’s an excellent way to find out if a woman is who she says she is. Use a flower delivery service to bring her roses. On your request most of these services make a photo of her with her gift. The photo will be mailed to you. If the lady on the picture is the same as the lady on the Internet, she will hardly be a scammer.
The past few years dating scams got a lot of attention in the media. There are also several websites and discussion groups on this subject - although even the reliability of these websites is sometimes questioned!
Reading all this, you might get the impression that chances are big you will run into a scammer. Real mail order brides have serious and honest intentions.
A new one : MASHA, MARIYA MARIA -email : email@example.com supposed to be in DONESTK UKRAINE.
After seven letters I received again the firts one I got. (see hereunder)
IP : 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52 all corresponds to TORBA DMYTRO SERGIOVICH and RUSLAND FEDOSEEV located 91019 - LUGANSK - LUHANS'KAOBLAST - e-meil : firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello my dear XXX!
How are you? How is your mood?
My mood is perfect as I feel that I stand on the edge of my new life,
new feelings and new emotions.
I appreciate your attention very much and hope to know
more about you. If you are interested in me and my words, please write
to this e-mail - email@example.com
Who know, maybe we are searching for the same things
and it is our chance to be happy. I don't want to lose
it. And what about you?
I send you my photos, hope you will like them.
Reply me as soon as you can, I will be waiting with impatience!