Avoid a Romance Scam When Using Dating Sites - Consumer Reports
Mar 22, Con artists are targeting women who are over 50 on popular dating sites. Here's what you need to know to stay safe. Aug 18, An online love scam is said to have generated hundreds of thousands “I was new to the dating scene and didn't know of these scams, but I'm. Sep 22, Online Dating: How Romance Scams Dupe Millions US victims reported a collective loss of $ million in ; The actual number is likely.
Never agree to transfer money for someone else. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes.
Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences. Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money. Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you.
If you met on a dating site they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email. Their messages are often poorly written, vague and escalate quickly from introduction to love.
Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material. If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going. Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before.
A Durban woman in her fifties, Stacey not her real namewho had lost her husband after 32 years of marriage, became a target. Contact was made by a man named Jason last year, and after exchanging email addresses, Stacey was informed that he was an industrial engineer of Scottish and Hungarian descent, was widowed and had a grandson in England.
He was very attentive and became part of my everyday life. He had an accent which he explained due to his background, so I did not think too much of it.
He even used Hungarian words, which I researched, and it was all correct. Her suspicions grew, however, when her requests for a video chat did not materialise.
The relationship continued for more than two months, and by now, he was on contract in Ghana and once his work was done, he wanted to fly to South Africa to be with her.
The first 10 pages, i. These articles, however, varied in relevance and length, and were also repetitive. The actual sample size was thus much smaller and comprised approximately documents. Overall, this procedure was a consistent means of collecting data and ensured that each category was given equal weight and consideration.
These issues were handled by relying primarily on authenticated websites such as news sites [i.
- How to Avoid a Romance Scam When Using Online Dating Sites
- Online ‘love’ scam leaves many SA women brokenhearted - and broke
- Women 50+ targeted by online dating scammers
This analysis adequately captured the properties of cyber criminal organization, and the operation of online romance scams and identity fraud. Using a different search engine Yahoo or AltaVista and a different set of keyword combinations, however, could have resulted in different articles that provided new information and a different analysis.
Future research could repeat this study using other search engines and keywords to generalize the findings of this research. Romance scams have existed prior to the internet era and have taken many forms CSS, For instance, victims would receive romantic letters via post, and after establishing correspondence and trust, the scammer inevitably requests money Arms The newspaper dating classifieds were also another avenue for conducting romance scams; these were more targeted as scammers knew their victims sought romance and thus were more likely to be entangled in the scam Arms, Romance scams have now shifted online.
Scammers can now access a larger pool of victims that are geographically dispersed with great ease and anonymity. Scammers use legitimate dating sites as springboards for meeting their victims IC3 The second stage involves contact; the scammer almost always initiates communication with the victim.
Romance scams are gender neutral, equally targeting male and female online daters. Furthermore, these circumstances are often sequential; the scammer always needs more financial assistance as the desperate circumstances intensify.
Given the amount of time and effort undertaken by the scammer to set the groundwork and establish trust, many victims do not realize they are being scammed, making this activity profitable for the scammer USDOS, To enhance his credibility, Giblin claimed he was a law enforcement officer and that his father and brother were also employed with the criminal justice system LoveFraud.
After initiating contact online, he cultivated a telephone rapport with each victim over several days or weeks.
They met through an American-based dating website and within a short e-mail exchange, Elena professed her love for Coffman: He discovered that Elena had been scamming several men since and had used different names and locations Pressbox.
Scammers such as Elena were charming and lured innocent victims into their scams with ease; as Coffman stated: While Giblin and Inyutina acted individually, other scams displayed more organizational sophistication.
Romance scams were also conducted by pairs of individuals. The fraud against Terry McCarthy was a case in point. McCarthy searched internet sites for a possible Russian love match. Anna Lazarev responded; after a few email exchanges, McCarthy sent her funds so that she could visit him Smh.
She kept the money and stopped communication. Unlike most victims, however, McCarthy pursued matters with the Russian government. He wrote a letter directly to the Russian president Vladimir Putin asking that Anna be brought to justice Smh.
Putin ordered an investigation, which revealed that Anna and her spouse, Yuri Lazarev, were running the scam Womenrussia. The couple also hired female acquaintances to collect wire transfers, as well as women to write romantic and flirtatious messages to victims from all over the world Womenrussia. When Yuri and Anna Lazarev were apprehended, police found detailed biographical information for at least 70 victims Agencyscams.
Another romance scam operated as a network in Nigeria. Several members comprised this scam network. During these extensive shifts, they extracted thousands of American e-mail addresses and sent off fraudulent e-mails daily, some of which were romance scams Dixon, Other members were responsible for setting up profiles, using pictures from modeling websites worldwide.
Members also included college graduates who composed romantic letters that were disseminated to victims Dixon, This collective effort resulted in the scam network receiving about seven replies daily, and as one member noted: Each type of criminal organization greatly benefits through the use of ICTs.
Women 50+ targeted by online dating scammers - Clark Howard
Loners can utilize ICTs to target victims; the combined strength and efforts of hackers is unnecessary Brenner, Small-scale scam groups with similar goals can cooperate with greater ease and speed.
Hierarchy disappears, paving the way for a lateral networked structure, with loosely-structured sub-networks and global coalitions that are transitory and goal-specific in nature Brenner, These criminal organizations often use romance scams as a precursor to other crimes, such as reshipping stolen goods, financial fraud, and identity fraud.
Identity Fraud In addition to direct emotional and financial damage, romance scams affect victims indirectly. While these victims may not encounter the scammer, their identities are exploited in various sweetheart swindles. Identity is a complex and multi-faceted concept that can be divided into three categories: Thus, personal and social identity are concepts of inclusiveness, whereby individuals establish group membership through similarity to others, while legal identity differentiates individuals from others and is a means of establishing individuality and personhood Finch, Identity fraud involves the impersonation of another person for a particular purpose after which imposters reverts to their own identity, while identity theft involves the total abandonment of one identity and the complete assumption of another, distinct identity Berg, ; Finch, Identity fraud involves the appropriation of legal identity, which is concerned with the ability to authenticate claims to be a particular individual.
Nigerian-based romance scams typically utilized photographs from modeling sites, such as Focus Hawaii Datingnmore. Scammers patiently sifted through various photo galleries and selected the most lucrative pictures for their profiles. Alternatively, scammers took photos and profiles of innocent customers registered at legitimate dating sites to create a deliberately misleading impression as to aspects of their identity Datingnmore.
The absence of in-person interaction and other sensory cues visual appearance, sound, and so on available in the real world to authenticate identity contribute significantly to the potential for protecting, modifying, or otherwise misrepresenting identity.
Yet another source for scammers was using easily available images on the internet. InFrost was tracked down, sent flowers, and recognized at several public airports by women he had never met DeBrosse, Similarly, the abovementioned Lazarev duo had taken pictures of women who had no knowledge that their images were being circulated online as marriage partners, or that victims were being asked for money in their names Agencyscams.
'How can an intelligent person be so thoroughly scammed?'
Another form of identity fraud occurred when scammers sent copies of altered passports and US visas to assure victims who doubted their existence and their intent to visit OSAC, The internet also gave romance scammers access to personal information; they were able to sift through official sources in online identity databases to find suitable victims, acquire sufficient information about them, and then assume their identity.
Fraudsters who were intent on committing financial fraud targeted individuals that had solid credit ratings and easily accessible credit card or bank account information.
In order to pay membership fees at dating websites, scammers engaged in financial identity fraud; they hacked into eBay and similar sites to access credit card numbers DeBrosse, Furthermore, they used these stolen credit cards to buy flowers or candy to further demonstrate their love for the victim Sullivan, Scammers sometimes required assistance with re-shipping items that were often purchased with stolen credit cards to various Nigerian locations Sullivan, Thus, as Finch noted, cyberspace weakened the adherence of legal identity to its rightful owner and permitted scammers to access a far wider range of potential victims.
Not only did cyberspace offer imposters anonymity and security from detection, it also disassociated them from any accountability, thereby permitting them to act criminally with little remorse and consequence. Organizing Romance Scams Law enforcement authorities and the dating industry claimed that romance scams operated as organized crime BBC, ; Enoch,