Online Romance Scams
Anyone out there ever done anything dumb for love? To err’ is human…and we have all been in that vulnerable state in some form or another. So, when it comes to dating on the internet, you’re really going to want to pay attention to this – because ‘love’ can weaken even the best judgment.
Love-based cons are the easiest to perpetrate. Why? Because love always involves a leap of faith – trusting something you can't see or touch. Just like Internet scams. For years, criminals have made haunts out of dating services and lonely-hearts chat rooms. Broken-hearted persons are rarely in their right minds, so they make easy targets.
Some cons spend months grooming their marks, waiting until after several "I love you’s" before asking for $2500 to be wired to an overseas passport office to help clear up a paperwork mess so he can come to America for a visit.
Yes, it all sounds ridiculous. It's not. It's so profitable that criminals actually pay monthly fees on some dating services. Generally, the more you pay for a service, the fewer criminals you'll see. And free
C----slist personal ads tend to be a cesspool of scammers.
But there are victims who never joined a dating service but were still conned into fake love from perfectly innocent-sounding places like
Faceb--k groups or chat rooms devoted to hobbies like running or ballroom dancing. It all starts with a simple e-mail, and maybe a little research that can easily be done through
Faceb--k (“Hey, you love the Rolling Stones and Broadway shows, too?”).
For more details on how scams are run, what to look for, and how to report a scammer, visit romancescams.org. The nonprofit group, founded by former victims, has been fighting back for 10 years. They post blacklisted photos there, e-mail addresses and typical opening lines from scammers, and lots of additional helpful scam-fighting tools. If you fall in love and have any doubts, visit the site.