Everyday, there are many friendships and relationships formed online at dating sites. Unfortunately, many unsuspecting people have been scammed at dating sites as well.
There is no dating service that is free of scammers. Not one. So what do you do?
Well, first of all you never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, conduct ANY kind of transaction that involves money!
Thousands of people have been tricked into sending money to online dating scam artists.
Overview of a step-by-step internet dating scam.
Step 1. The scammer creates a profile at a dating service. All the information is fake – the words, occupation, and those attractive photos that were, um, borrowed from some modeling or social networking site.
Step 2. The scammer contacts you (and dozens of other people) pretending to want a romantic relationship.
Step 3. You respond. Back-and-forth communication begins. He or she gives you lots of false details about their family and work life.
Step 4. The scammer earns your trust and you exchange personal email addresses and maybe even phone numbers.
NOTE: Dating scammers often claim to be a U.S. citizen, but in reality they’re living in another place such as Russia, Nigeria or some other country. Dating scammers can be very, very patient, spending weeks or even months building trust.
Step 5. When there seems to be enough trust established, he or she will use slick ways to ask you for money.
This is when it starts getting good...
A version of one of the following stories is normally used:
Story #1: The Airfare Scam
After lots of back and forth communication, you've fallen for what you think is a sweet, attractive man or woman living in a foreign country.
The scammer claims that he or she is dying to meet you in person. Then you get hit with a request for help to finance the trip.
You're given an elaborate excuse as to why you must send money so that he or she can complete the trip.
You buy the story and send the money.
No one ever shows up to greet you at the airport.
The “airfare scam” is on of the most well known internet dating scams. It's normally used by beautiful foreign women (often Russian) that prey on lonely (or horny) men.
You never actually find out if it’s really a woman or some big hairy smelly dude behind the keyboard...
Story #2: The Medical Emergency Scam
The scammer gives you an emotional sob story about a family medical emergency and asks for financial assistance.
The "emergency" is either for him or her or for the kid in those cute fake photos.
You feel the irresistible tug on your heart strings and proceed to send a donation.
Story #3: The Money Order Scam (aka Nigerian Scam)
This is one of the newer internet dating scams typically used on women.
The scammers profile says that he's from a U.S. city, but he tells you that temporarily "working" overseas.
He tells you that his employer has paid him in money orders and he's having difficulty cashing them in Nigeria.
He/she asks if you’d be willing to accept the money order by mail, cash it, then wire the money.
You say "sure, why not?"
You receive the money order, take it to the bank, cash it, and wire the money.
A few weeks later you get a nice surprise from the bank telling you that you must pay the money back because the money order was fraudulent.
The bank rep goes on to explain that the money order was purchased for a cheap amount and altered to display a larger amount.
It's very sleazy, but you gotta admit it's a pretty slick trick.
This is often referred to as the "Nigerian dating scam" because the money order story seems to have originated in Nigeria.
This online dating scam doesn't always come from Nigeria. It may also come from another African country such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, etc.
Malaysia is gaining popularity as a spot for "Nigerian" dating scams.
The scammer continues to try to milk you.
So you send money because you bought whichever story was given to you.
The scammer will continue to feed you with reasons for why they need more money.
As long as you give, they will continue to take.
When the scam is exposed, you get dumped, then it’s on to the next victim. In fact, more potential victims are probably in the pipeline already.
Now you’re left feeling stupid with a broken heart and a lighter wallet.
There are many different stories in addition to the three that I outlined above.
As time passes, the stories will continue to evolve. And improve. I guarantee that.