Internet dating scam stories

Dating & romance | Scamwatch

internet dating scam stories

another story of a woman connecting with a scammer on a legitimate dating to stop going online because there are good men on dating sites for you to date. Sep 10, In her book Fool Me Twice, Hong Kong-based Australian Jules Hannaford candidly shares her online dating scam stories. Beware of the perils of online dating. It can be a minefield. Just ask John (not his real name) who spoke to Stephen Nolan on The Nolan Show about his horrible.

They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street. The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses.

Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity. Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else.

Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. 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. Amy felt they were in some kind of time warp. She would be fixing breakfast and he'd be talking about going out for the evening.

He traveled a lot for his work, he said. Almost casually, he explained he was calling not from Virginia but from Malaysia, where he was finishing up a computer job. Looking back, would things have been different if he'd said he was in Nigeria?

Amy knew all about those people who posed as Nigerian bankers and gulled victims with awkwardly phrased "business opportunities" over spam email. But this was different; Amy loved to travel and knew lots of people from overseas. The fact that Dwayne was living in Malaysia added an exotic note to his "eau de enigma.

Funny how you sound as if you're right next door, when you're really half a world away. A former "Yahoo boy" shows how teams of con artists fleece victims from Internet cafes. Born in neighboring Benin, he and his family moved to Nigeria during his childhood and went looking for opportunities in the emerging economic powerhouse of Africa's most populous nation. Instead, he found "the game" — Nigeria's shadow economy of scams, named for the article in the Nigerian criminal code that deals with fraud.

Enitan is not the scammer Amy encountered in ; his fraud career ended inhe says. Since he left scamming, he's spoken out against the practice.

But based on his account, the fraud playbook he followed has not changed. He agreed to talk on the condition that he would not be identified by name. Sent first as printed letters, then as faxes and emails purporting to be from Nigerian officials, these offers are now part of Internet lore.

Indeed, they're so well known that ers have adopted a more effective variation — mining dating sites for targets of romance scams. Impostor scams can flourish wherever the Internet exists Eastern Europe and Russia are also hot spotsbut most dating fraud originates in Nigeria and Ghana, or in countries such as Malaysia and the U.

  • Online dating scam victim’s tips to avoid heartbreak and losing millions of dollars
  • Dating & romance
  • Woman loses $150,000 in online dating scam

In fast-developing parts of the world with high unemployment, a large percentage of English-speaking young men, and a postcolonial legacy of political instability and corruption, playing the game can be a tempting way out. That's when he drifted in with the legions of other young Nigerian men known as Yahoo Boys, named for their preference for free Yahoo.

He learned the con from an older mentor, and he, in turn, passed on his skills to younger friends. Enitan describes a three-stage model. Using stolen credit card numbers, the scammer would flood dating sites with fake profiles. Victims can be found anywhere — scammers also forage for connections on social media — but dating services provide the most fertile territory.

Profile photos are pirated from social media or other dating sites.

internet dating scam stories

To snare women, he'd pose as older men, financially secure and often in the military or in engineering professions. For male victims, he just needed a photo of an alluring younger woman: All his victims, Enitan says, described themselves as divorced or widowed. After learning everything he can about his target, he would launch a campaign of love notes and gifts.

San Diego woman falls for online dating scam, local FBI reveals alarming romance scam numbers

It feels like the universe is manifesting my perfect partner right before my very eyes. Prayers answered and yes it does seem like we have known each other a long time. They were on the phone for hours every day at this point. His was the first voice she heard in the morning, and the last before bed.

Typically, Amy would talk and text with him until about 11 a. In their emails, they filled pages with minutiae about their lives — her upcoming holiday trip to Sarasota, Florida, with a girlfriend; his visit to a textile museum in Kuala Lumpur.

Mixed amid this were Dwayne's increasingly ardent declarations of affection: Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. Florid passages like that did not spring from Dwayne's imagination. He cribbed them from the Internet. Still, on Amy those words cast a powerful spell. That's how she thinks of it now — it was like a switch flicked in her head.

She'd been in love before. But this was different, a kind of manic euphoria. Will you appear someday. Or are you just a beautiful, exotic dream … if you are … I don't want to wake up! At the core of every romance scam is the relationship itself, a fiction so improbable that most of us initially marvel in disbelief: How do you fall in love — really fall in love — with someone you never meet?

Until the term "catfishing" crept into the vernacular, love affairs with digital impostors were little-known phenomena. The term comes from the documentary film Catfish, about a man with a girlfriend who, we learn, does not exist; it later inspired an MTV series.

Pretending to be someone else online is a social media parlor game among some young people. But Amy had never seen the show or heard the term; she had no idea the practice was so common.

Woman loses $, in online dating scam

Computer-mediated relationships, she says, can be "hyperpersonal — more strong and intimate than physical relationships. Photo by Gregg Segal Research has shown that certain personality types are particularly vulnerable to romance scams.

Unsurprisingly, age is a factor: Not only are older victims more likely to lose larger sums of money, there's evidence that our ability to detect deception declines with age. But when she surveyed scam victims in the U. These people tended to describe themselves as romantics and risk takers, believers in fate and destiny. Many, like Amy, were survivors of abusive relationships.

Women were actually slightly less likely to be scammed than men — but were far more likely to report and talk about it. The other term that Amy would later learn is "love bombing. In both situations, the victim's defenses are broken down by exhaustion, social isolation and an overwhelming amount of attention. Amy would later describe the feeling as akin to being brainwashed. This is the painstaking grooming process that Enitan calls "taking the brain.

My life will never be the same since I met you.

internet dating scam stories

Love, Dwayne Not long after this, slightly less than a month since his first contact, Dwayne brought up his money troubles. But some components he purchased from Hong Kong were stuck in customs. He didn't need money, he assured her — he had a hefty trust fund in the U. But he couldn't use his funds to cover the customs fees.

internet dating scam stories

And he couldn't come back to Virginia until he finished the job. So, if there was any way Amy could help him out, he'd pay her back when he returned to the States.

Photo illustration by Chris O'Riley When Amy asked for proof of his identity, Dwayne sent copies of his passport and financial documents. Finally, Dwayne set a day for his flight home and emailed his itinerary.

'Are You Real?' — Inside an Online Dating Scam

He'd be there January Amy even bought tickets for their first real date — a Latin dance concert in a nearby city that night. And she told her brothers and her friends that they would finally get to meet this mystery boyfriend. But first, another problem came up: He had to pay his workers.

internet dating scam stories

She had the money. And Dwayne knew it. Not exactly how much, perhaps. But he knew she owned her home and two other properties. He knew that her mother and husband had recently died. And he knew she was in love. January 25 came and went. A new problem delayed him; Amy took one of her friends to the concert. Dwayne apologized profusely and sent her more flowers, again with the promise to pay her back. Soon, he needed more money. This part of the con follows a familiar pattern.

Hannaford is also on a mission to raise awareness. Politicians have spoken out on the subject. Hong Kong-based dating and relationship coach Valentina Tudose says internet dating scams are a painful reality for many women — and smart professional women are falling prey. Police figures show that women account for 95 per cent of victims, and they generally possess higher academic qualifications, are computer-literate and able to communicate in English.

People have little free time due to long working hours, and a gender imbalance, with males for every 1, females, according to the Census and Statistics Department.

Hongkonger Ginny Lim, not her real name, is under family pressure to find a husband.

Online dating scams - Ben's* story

She is 32, has a good job in digital marketing, but has never had a serious boyfriend. She has used dating sites but is wary and believes pressure to get married is a reason why so many women fall for romance scams.

internet dating scam stories

Scammers buy cheap gifts on [Chinese shopping site] Taobao and then expect the recipient to buy more expensive gifts in return Ramon Yuen, district councillor In the age of dating apps and socially acceptable e-stalking, a new lexicon has evolved.