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International Relationships and How to Verify Them

Posted On   date26/03/2014

International Relationships and How to Verify Them

Did you ever feel jealous or surprised when at the high school or college reunion party you found out that your geeky friend is now married to an exotic Colombian or Russian beauty?  What about an old friend who made it rich by importing or exporting his products to other countries?  How can it be that so many people are finding romance and profitable business ventures overseas?  How can they do it, and how do they verify these people they meet on the other side of the world or in another continent?

The fact is that the Internet has definitely changed the way people socialize, find love and do business.  People meet online, date online, find jobs and investments online, connect with other professionals online, and so on.  While it does make life easy, it makes verifying individuals, companies and contacts much more difficult.  It’s easy to hide behind a profile or website, and scammers take full advantage of this.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and funded by eHarmony suggests that between 2005 and 2012 one in three Americans who got married met their spouse online. Now, the most interesting fact the study reveals is that marriages of people who meet online are more satisfying and less likely to end in divorce than those that begin in traditional, offline venues.  The evidence is far from conclusive!  There is no clear reason why this might happen, although some suggest that meeting online creates a physical barrier that actually helps people get to know each other better.

In other words, for those personal relationships that start online and that don’t end in fraud, scam or identity theft (a huge number), there truly is a chance for something positive.  The same potential pitfalls exist for those online doing foreign hiring, international investing.  Due diligence is essential.

But wait, getting to know each other better sometimes means that criminals have a better chance to gain your trust and find out valuable information about you. After all, it takes only a few minutes a day to establish a “trustworthy” relationship. So you do have to pay a lot of attention to romance scam warning signs and the evolution of your relationship, especially if your date is from a high risk country.  For those who start business relationships online, it’s important to watch our for large upfront payments, requests for personal for private company data, and any “opportunities” that require you to act now.  Smart investments and relationships should not be rushed.  Take your time to learn more and gather the facts.

One of the ways people using Facebook, Match.com, Linkedin, Monster.com, and other social sites or even investment websites often get burned is by information and data theft.  Many scam and fraud victims state the subject never asked for money, so they had no way to know it was a scam.  Remember, your information and data is valuable, so you should work hard to protect it.  Data about your company or even your personal life can be used against you for identity theft or even blackmail, or to hack into your accounts.  Be very skeptical of anyone you meet online, and pay more attention on protecting your privacy online.

If it is a personal relationship, there are options available out there to make sure you are dating a legitimate person. Start by questioning everything this individual tells you. Is he or she always in some kind of trouble? Does the person ask you a lot of questions but tells you very little?  Has she asked for money or help with a serious situation? If these ring a bell, then it´s time to  get a dating background check.

The Internet offers you the possibility of finding new and exciting relationships, both business and personal.  But, remember any international relationship is inherently more risky, especially if begun online.  The risk for fraud and scams is high, so it’s important to protect your data, stay skeptical, and consult with a professional investigator before making any trip overseas or sending money for investment.

C. Wright
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