Online dating scams are big at the moment. The papers are full of them. So often you hear of men and women being conned by some scammer claiming to be someone they aren’t. Just today I read of a gang of men from Nigeria, using false persona’s conning over $300,000 out of their victims in the space of just a few short months.
Their scam premise was that they pose as US or British businessmen. Once a relationship has been built through an online dating site, they then have to take a business trip to Nigeria, where everything “apparently” goes wrong. This is when they start pleading their online dating partners for money. Trouble is, by then, their partners have already fallen in love with them and so send the cash out willingly, totally unbeknownst to them that these scammers have been in Nigeria all along!
So what can we do to protect ourselves against these online dating scams? Well, here are five quick tips to help ensure you don’t get caught out. Invariably, these scams are mainly men scamming women, but of course, it happens both ways, so this advice is for everyone!
- Ask for and expect webcam conversations. It’s one thing to upload a photo of an attractive person on the internet, but they aren’t going to be able to pull that off over a webcam. Webcams only cost a few dollars these days, so if you’re getting excuses on why they can’t webcam with you, you should be taking a big step back.
- If they are claiming to hold certain positions at work or a certain level of education, ask them questions about their profession. They should be able to give you decent discussion and answer basic questions without needing to quote, “get back to you on that”.
- Keep a lookout for basic grammatical and spelling errors which could indicate that the spammer is not writing in their native language. Again, it can be an indication of their level of education.
- Take a good look at the emails that you are receiving. Do they appear to be too general in nature, with perhaps only a small personalised introduction and do they have a disjointed feel where they don’t naturally progress from the previous email?
- There are various resources available on the internet to help you “snoop” into the life of your partner to ensure they are who they say they are. You may feel that this is being too intrusive, but love is the most intrusive tool!
Love is based on trust and honesty, and it is your trustfulness that these online dating scam artists are preying upon. They see your ability to love as your greatest weakness. So, by following the above advice, you can help to protect yourself and ensure that your life and your money are kept safe.