Online Dating Scam and Scammers
What is Dating Scam?
Scam is an attempt to get money out of other members of online dating websites. Scammers are people who create fake profiles with aim to get in touch with other members and to get money out of them.
How does it work?
There are several ways how online dating scam and scammers work.
The most popular case is when create a nice-looking profile and to send messages to members from developed countries. At some moment of the correspondence scammer usually starts to talk about financial difficulties.
Sometimes scammers invent other reasons why they need financial aid. Usually scammers completely disappear right after they get the first payment.
How to understand that you are talking to a scammer?
Here are the typical signs that you should put your attention to:
- Profile picture looks very attractive, sometimes they are "hot" or look like photos of professional model
- Only 1 or 2 profiles pictures are uploaded
This is very difficult for scammer to get 10 or more pictures of the same person so they upload only a few pictures.
- English language is unnatural, with many typos, grammar mistakes. Sometimes it is too official, or "academic".
- After 2-3 emails it turns out that the person you are talking to is actually in another country and has financial difficulties of any kind
How to check if this is a scammer or not?
- Ask for a phone call or propose to use Live Video Chat
Most of scammers actually reside in developed countries - African countries (Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Togo, Sierra Leone, etc.) or CIS-countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus). Also since 2011 we noticed many fake profiles from Romania.
Even if they pretend to be from US, UK or Western Europe, they have very bad spoken English which can be easily discovered during a phone call or a live audio/video chat session. Please note that they can also rent US-based phone numbers and provide this number as a proof. Because of this, we recommend that you always make a phone call or enter live video chat in order to get more information about your peer.
- Ask for more photos
Scammers usually have someone else's pictures on they profiles, often downloaded from other websites. It will be difficult for them to find 10 more pictures of the same person.
- Google is your friend
When you receive an email from another person, use google to get more information. First of you, enter From: email address into the search box with quotes before and after. Example: "firstname.lastname@example.org".
Scammers usually use the same email addresses to email many potential victims and if one of them reports a scammer you can easily find his/her email address.
Secondly, copy any sentence of text and paste it into the search engine box. Again, use quotes.
The thing is that scammers do not speak English well. In order to get in tough with others scammers typically have a predefined set of email templates that they use for many other members. When someone detects that one is talking to a scammer and reports this on Anti-Scam discussion boards. Search engines then index this content and display it if any part of the text matches the search query.
For your safety
Never send money to other members for whatever reason!
Follow this rule: unless you meet him/her in person, never provide any financial aid!
Always have a phone call or live video chat session before meeting another person in real. Make sure this is a public place with many people around if this is your first date with a new person!