In online dating websites, scammers take advantage and play on emotional triggers to get your personal details like email address, contact numbers or social media contacts and milk you money. Scammers create fake online profiles or use falsely taken identities of real, trusted people such as professionals or military personnel. They often claim to be living from the United Kingdom, USA, Australia and pretends to be traveling and working overseas. Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions in a short time and will communicate with you to a more private channel such as phone, skype, yahoo messenger or facebook.
Scammers will do anything to gain your interest and trust even if it may take months to build what you think is romance of a lifetime. They send you loving words, share personal information, and even send gifts. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself to make the relationship natural. Once they have gained your trust, they will ask you for money, gifts, banking information or credit card details.
Often scammers will pretend they have an emergency and need the money. Other reasons are, they plan to travel to visit you but cannot afford it unless you lend them money; business failed or financial hardship; a family member is ill and need medical attention; and invent stories they sent you valuable items such as laptop, mobile phones, and jewelry. They’ll ask for custom charges and fees for the items to be released and get to your address.
Some scammers may tell you they will send money to your bank account so they can get your bank details. This can pose a risk to your personal safety. This can lose you a lot of money and is almost impossible to recover. Online dating and romance scams cheat millions of people every year.
Be warned when their internet profile or dating profile is not consistent with what they tell you. Review their profile picture looks, description, or they say they are professionals but their English is poor. Check their messages if it’s poorly written. Other signs like their camera never works if you want to Skype or video call to each other.
Never send money to anyone you haven’t met in person. Do not give your credit card details, bank information, online account details, or copies of important documents like IDs. Do not agree to transfer money for someone else. Money laundering is a criminal offense.