“That big investment gives victims a false sense that the relationship must be real.” Eventually a pitch for money comes.
Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences.
Experts say online daters are always wise to be skeptical regarding what someone they've met online, and not in the flesh, tells them.
Most dating websites—even ones that cost money—don't vet the people who sign up.
(It is estimated that only 15 percent of fraud victims report their losses to law enforcement, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can't get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs romancescams.org, a watchdog site and online support group.
According to the Consumer Reports 2016 Online Dating Survey of more than 114,000 subscribers, among the respondents who were considering online dating but were hesitant, 46 percent said they were concerned about being scammed. “Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims,” says Unit Chief David Farquhar from the Financial Crimes Section of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) who specializes in cyber-related crimes.
Remember, like most fraudulent schemes, scammers use whatever personal information you provide to quickly paint themselves as your perfect match.
According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.
In 2015, the last year for which data is available, consumers lost more than 0 million this way.
Scammers also ask victims to send money to help overcome a financial situation they claim to be experiencing.
These are all lies intended to take money from unsuspecting victims.