Online Dating Websites: Am I Being Scammed?
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Online dating websites have become an increasingly popular tool for scammers to con vulnerable women out of thousands of pounds. The fraudsters pull on women’s heart strings and often gradually groom them, earning their trust and eventually taking their money.
How do Online Dating Scams Work
Scammers target single women on dating websites who are looking for love and companionship. They often talk to multiple women at one time to increase the number of people they can con in a short space of time. Why do they do it? Because it’s easy to target vulnerable women, earn their trust and take their bank details or persuade them to send money over by posing as “their lover”.
Some women trust dating websites as they’re renowned as reliable and legitimate ways to meet new people online. This is however, not the case as it can be incredibly easy for a scammer to create a fake account on a dating website and although it will be removed in time, it might not be immediate.
How to Spot an Online Dating Scam
There are many ways to spot an online dating scam, however for women who aren’t internet savvy the tell-tale signs may not be easy to spot. There have been a few common aspects of online dating which have been identified as alarm bells for a scam these include:
Little or no reference to the dater’s name
Online scammers often use the same text to send to each potential victim of their scam, this means they often use little or no instances of the person’s name. The writing rarely asks open ended questions either as this requires more work for the fraudster.
One of the major tell-tale signs of a scammer is that they seem to have an elaborate background. They usually tell their victims that they have had a devastating past, often referring to a difficult childhood to earn their trust and sympathy. If a person on a dating’s site story seems too far-fetched it probably is a scam.
Getting Women Away from the Site
Scammers often try to divert their pray away from the dating website, this is because their account will usually be rejected and terminated once the website realises the subscriber is not legitimate. The fraudster may suggest moving conversation to Hotmail or Yahoo email addresses as no personal information is required to set up accounts, this enables them to create multiple fake email addresses with utmost ease.
After grooming the woman and tricking her into believing she has found a new potential partner, the scammer may then start to request personal information. This may be gradual; they may request addresses and birthdates separately before moving on to request bank details. Some scammers may directly ask the woman for money to be sent by a wire transfer (one of the least secure methods of money transfers). They may claim to need the money for a flight so they can visit the woman, promising to repay once they meet. This is never the case however, and once the money has been transferred the scammer usually disappears off the face of the Earth.
Dating scams have become incredibly popular recently as fraudsters prey on vulnerable women and abuse their trusting nature. Anyone who encounters or suspects an attempted scam should report it to the dating website to help to reduce the number of women falling victim to the malicious crimes.