Online dating and social media are booming industries, and more people are meeting and connecting online than ever before. Finding romance on the Internet is now socially acceptable and countless people have found their partner online on dating sites such as Match.com or social media like Facebook. There are literally thousands of sites designed to connect people and help you find what you’re looking for, whether it be to make new friendships or to find that special someone. What none of these sites offer, however, is an effective way to verify and screen all the users.
Professional private investigators warn that anyone can create an online profile, on nearly any website, and in most cases, there is no way to know if the profile and individual you’re communicating with is legitimate. Given the growing risk for fraud, it’s better to be safe than sorry and properly verify all new relationships. Criminals use fake profiles that are designed to be your perfect match, and even some online dating sites themselves are creating false profiles of people who don’t exist!
A recent study showed that at least 1 in 10 online dating profiles are fraudulent or fake. Investigators at Wymoo International estimate that at least 35% of all online dating and social media profiles combined are false, fraudulent or deceptive. Some of these profiles are created by websites to attract new users and paying subscribers, while others are created by criminals targeting victims. “By taking advantage of professional verification services, people can minimize most of their risk in new relationships begun online,” said John Wallace, Director of Background Checks.
Victims in the United States who reported the crimes lost over $50 million in 2014 alone, and Australians reported losses exceeding $25 million. Experts say these losses are only the tip of the iceberg, as most dating scam and fraud victims never report the crime to law enforcement agencies. No dating or social media site is immune from fraud, and criminals actively target victims who can suffer serious damages resulting from blackmail, identity theft, romance scams and fraud. Experts caution that only real and comprehensive dating background check investigations conducted by trained investigators can effectively minimize your risk when meeting people online or in person.
Anyone can create a profile, but to be safe, users need to know if the person is who he or she claims to be.
1. The odds are stacked against you in meeting your perfect match.
True love and great things do happen! You can meet your perfect match on a dating website or social media site. It can and does happen to people around the world every day! But, the number of scam victims worldwide, each year, is in the millions and climbing. If you’re contacting or communicating with multiple people on these websites, chances are, one of your contacts is a criminal.
2. The risk and consequences from romance scams are serious.
What’s the worst that can happen? The U.S. Embassies in Accra, Lagos, Moscow and Manila (and many others) can tell you, this is a serious threat and serious crime. Victims can have their identities stolen, be blackmailed or humiliated, and lose their life savings. In extreme cases, victims have even traveled to high risk countries to meet their online partner, and were abducted or murdered.
3. Yes, it can happen to you. It can happen to anyone online.
Experienced criminals and con artists can convince even the most skeptical and cautious of people. Investigators say scam victims have included attorneys, doctors, police officers and even high members of government. Scammers are patient and slowly gain your trust to steal your money.
4. No online dating or social media website is immune from fraud.
No matter how big the site, how many users and what the reputation, no match-making or social site on the Internet is 100% safe and secure. There is simply no way to properly verify all the users and subscribers. After all, professional investigation and verification is not their business. It is up to the consumer and website user to understand the risk and verify individuals.
5. Sleep easy at night, knowing your online contact is real.
Private investigators with experience in verifying online relationships say too many people get a background check investigation too late, once time and money have been invested in the relationship, and the damage is done. If someone has caught your attention, and you’re considering pursuing a relationship with the person, speak to a professional about how to lower your risk.
6. Real dating background check investigations are comprehensive.
A professional dating background check investigation is not just checking criminal records! A real dating background check should be conducted by a highly trained investigator who can verify all the information you know about your partner, to determine if the person is who he or she claims to be. Services are discreet and confidential. Investigations can cover birth records and identity verification, travel and passport records, employment and education verification, ID and document verification, public and media records, criminal, marriage and court records, fraud screening and more.
7. For international cases, there is a much higher risk for fraud.
Is the person you’re speaking with from another country? Is he or she currently traveling or working overseas? If so, you are at a much higher risk for fraud and scams. Wymoo® investigators warn that international background check investigations are more important than ever to minimize the risk from Internet criminals. Even if your contact claims to live down the street, he or she could be anywhere in the world. If you hear a high risk country mentioned, such as Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, Malaysia, Romania, Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria or South Africa, contact an investigator. Experts also caution that many criminals now operate from developing countries, so no matter where the person claims to be from, be safe and verify.
8. Increase your chances at finding real relationships with real people.
Verifying profiles and contacts you meet on the Internet is not a bad thing. It is a new reality and an important tool to keep you safe. Investigators can help you identify false profiles created by scammers, so you can stay focused on getting to know real people, to form real relationships. In some cases, the actual dating websites have been found creating fake profiles, making matters more complicated!
9. Even in relationships not begun online, getting the truth early is key.
Maybe you’ve met someone at work, school or church and you are interested in a serious relationship with this person. Don’t think because you’ve met him or her in person that you’re in the clear! Make sure the person you’re letting into your home does not have a criminal record or history of sex crimes, or any litigation or bankruptcy history, or that he or she is not married. Investigators can verify all these points and much more, including the individual’s employment, education and reputation.
10. Private investigators now offer services to help you stay safe.
In the early days of online dating, users had no idea who was real and how to verify. Now, with reputable companies such as Wymoo® International operating in over 100 countries, consumers have access to trained and professional investigators who can verify any person, anywhere at a fair price. Professional investigations are not always cheap, but the cost can be far less than the cost of being a victim of crime or fraud. In today’s high risk world, dating background checks are like a form of insurance, and it’s smart to be covered.
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