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Gay Online Dating Sites Targeted By Scammers

Posted On   date31/03/2014

Gay Online Dating Sites Targeted By Scammers

Same sex relationships continue to be a taboo for many people around the world, even though in today’s world it is easier to openly speak about gay rights in many countries.  There’s still a long road ahead in certain countries.  The controversy generated in Russia regarding anti-gay laws is the perfect example. The debate about gay rights is alive and well, and it has been a top discussion in political circles.  While different groups are debating publicly over their different points of view, many gay individuals try to live on a low profile, invisible from judgment.  This low profile has perhaps led to the sharp increase in reported gay scam cases in recent years, and scammers are actively targeting gay internet users.

Online dating represents for a big portion of the gay community a unique space, where nobody will discriminate them, where they can meet friends and potential partners with the same interests and lifestyle.  The Internet gives them an opportunity to live another life with some level of anonymity, one where they can be authentic. And this is certainly great! However, gay online dating and gay social networking has its downside.  Gay dating scams are up over 100% compared to 2012 levels.

Online dating scammers have been polishing their techniques. The increasing trend on romance scams is now to focus on specific targets, people who have a certain lifestyle or beliefs that define them. Knowing in advance that there is an important topic in someone´s life, something that is linked to his or her deepest emotional or spiritual self, is like finding the perfect shortcut to a person´s heart. And this is gold for scammers. It means that there is one thing –a very important one – that they “share” and that makes them “understand each other”. One thing that in practical terms helps fraudsters build the trust they need in order to start requesting for money or personal data.  There is probably nothing more convincing than the understanding from someone who is like-minded. This is the reason why gay dating sites and religion based dating sites are becoming fertile grounds for fraudsters and criminals targeting victims online.

There are certainly some things important to consider. First of all, gay people are usually very open minded, willing to experience new things. When it comes to scamming, this is a vulnerability. Why? Because due to their own experience with discrimination they don´t ask questions. Online dating requires sometimes to be a little skeptical, to ask continuously and if necessary to verify facts with a dating background check. Being naïve is not the same as being polite or tolerant, and these concepts are often confused.

Investigators also say it’s very important to know that even if you don’t use Match.com, Facebook or other similar sites, doesn’t mean you can’t be a victim of a romance scam.  Internet scammers are getting more and more creative and good at what they do.  If you are online and have an email account, it’s possible you would be a victim.  No site is 100% immune from fraud, and new contacts should be verified.

Being skeptical an getting a background check is about more than just preventing a broken heart.  Being skeptical and getting a professional verification service can save your life.   It´s about questioning if this person is really honest and who he or she claims to be.  Never travel to a foreign country to meet someone you’ve met online, without first having a real background check investigation conducted by a reputable private investigation company.  There are too many stories of abduction, blackmail and even murder.

Last year a Russian neo-nazi group targeted male gay teens on social networks and programmed a date with them, just to bully and torture them proclaiming justice. For international investigators, the biggest problem is that the secrecy in which many of these encounters happen prevents victims from taking safety measures. Most of the time, a background check before agreeing to meet would have been enough to uncover evidence of fraud and to avoid the risk and harm from ever happening.

How many times have you thought “that would never happen to me”? Most victims thought the same. So get informed and consult a professional private investigator when you need to verify an international relationship.  Be safe.  Verify your potential partner first, and then decide.

C. Wright
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