As such, they become vulnerable and are more likely to fall for these scams. An initial test might involve sending a small amount of money. At some point, the victim may be asked to send something to the scammer that can later be used against them, such as compromising photos or videos. Sometimes the message history is enough to use as a threat, especially if the victim is married or in a long-term relationship and is hiding this online relationship from their significant other.
Eventually, they are asked to send large amounts of money or to carry out something illegal. They may do this willingly out of love or compassion for the scammer.
Online dating & romance scams: How to spot & avoid them | Comparitech
Or they may do it because at this point they are being threatened. In a surprising number of cases, the scams continue for prolonged periods for the simple fact that the victim is too embarrassed to admit to friends, family, and law enforcement that they have fallen prey to a scammer. Even more surprising, in some cases, victims know that they are being scammed but are still in love with the scammer and continue to send money anyway. This goes to show two things: Scammers are very clever and prey on vulnerable people. Even so, there are often tell-tale signs that a potential love prospect is not being up front.
Here are some of the signs to look out for:. Online dating scams typically involve someone creating a fake profile, be it on a dating site or a social media platform. Many will claim to be from a Western country but currently working overseas. Scammers will often create multiple profiles using the same stolen images.
Steve G Jones has had his identity stolen for this purpose multiple times. Scammers use his videos and images to create fake online profiles. Some also use his real name and personal information. His images have been used so many times, he decided to create a PSA to let everyone know and warn them of the dangers of befriending strangers on social media. Scamalytics scans many of the most popular dating websites to find out what the most common scam profiles consist of.
A typical male profile would be in his late forties, be a widower, and have a high-paid job. A typical female would also be well-paid, but be in her late twenties and never married. Additionally, certain Facebook groups dedicated to raising awareness flag scam profiles. Some people suggest trying to arrange a meeting as early as possible, although this seems risky. A better option might be to try to arrange a video call early on and see how they react.
Scammers often work in groups posing as a single person. Romance scamming is such a big business that people even profit off of writing scripts for criminals to follow. One UK woman was jailed for two years for writing such scripts. Not all scammers will bother paying for original content and things like poetry and romantic verses can easily be lifted from the internet. When it comes to online public profiles, you should be very cautious about the pieces of information you divulge.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, romance fraud is the number one scam in Canada in terms of dollars lost. This is how the scheme works: They create a false identity and begin communicating on dating websites.
Once trust is established, they ask their unsuspecting victims for money. They never meet in person.
Dating websites scams
Ellen, not her real name, agreed to share her story with W5 only if we concealed her identity. She has the unfortunate distinction of reporting to the Anti-Fraud Centre the largest amount of money lost to a romance scam in Canada. Ellen told W5 that she met a man named Dave Field online through Match. What followed was an elaborate scheme that saw her send fraudsters more than one million dollars. But at the outset she was taken by his friendship.
And then, he needed money. He was expecting a large inheritance but needed help and Ellen, believing she would eventually be repaid, began sending it. At first the amounts were small.
Common warning signs to look for
But money transfer documents provided to W5, eventually showed hundreds of thousands of dollars being sent to Singapore, England, Spain and, eventually, Nigeria. She believes that she may have been brainwashed. Polowek is researching romance fraud and the schemes used by the perpetrators. She has found that there are many misconceptions and stereotypes about who romance fraud victims and warns that anyone can fall victim to these schemes, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
W5 dating scams
Rosanna Leeman speaks to W5 about falling victim to a dating scam involving someone claiming to be a man named Marc Campbell. The fraudster created an elaborate plan to convince Rosanna Lawson to send money, which culminated in a story involving Marc Campbell losing his wallet, ID, and credit cards while on a business trip in Dubai. Have a hot tip? Read our FAQ or send an email to w5 ctv. Please e-mail ctvnewsstox bellmedia. W5 investigates scams that prey on those seeking online romance.
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