Here’s a fact that might interest you if you’ve ever met people online – a good one tenth of – that’s a whopping one out of every ten – dating profiles on major dating websites are fake.
It’s not simply a matter of fakers fudging their ages to seem younger or untruthful people trimming a few pounds off their bodies by entering false weights. There are thieves out there actively setting up fictitious dating profiles to try and steal money from people looking for love in all the wrong places.
In fact, the FBI says that at least $50 million or more has been stolen each year from people who fall victim to scams involving romance. Lawsuits are just beginning. Ashley Madison website is facing a lawsuit from a former employee who says she was hired to create 1,000 fake female profiles for the company in a period of just three weeks. Many people are asking how many online dating profiles are actually real? A model has also filed a $1.5 Billion lawsuit for fake profiles against Match.com. The suit alleges that dating sites such as Match.com use a large number of the fake profiles to attract paying customers.
A Canadian woman lost $1.3M in a Match.com scam, and she’s not alone. Nearly all private investigators agree, most victims never report the crime because they are ashamed or feel nothing can be done.
So how do you spot the fraudsters from the real people? Here are several tips:
#1 – Their photos look too perfect
If a person’s online dating profile looks as perfect and as sexy as a stock photography model’s photo, it probably is one they stole from another website. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and if you’re talking to someone who is super interested, and who looks like a model, this is a red flag.
Online scammers often steal photos from the internet, where there are billions to choose from, and the person in the photo has no idea that their image is being used. (See how to protect your privacy here to prevent your photos from being used) Images can be taken from anywhere on the internet, and can even use real information from real profiles on Facebook, Match.com or other websites.
The real unseen thief behind the profile is usually planning to steal your heart, trust and credit card number. But, be aware that crimes can be much worse, and lead to identity theft, extortion and blackmail, and much worse! Contact your Embassy in Accra or Lagos and ask what is the worst that can happen if you travel to meet a criminal conducting a romance scam. Abduction and even homicide can result.
#2 – They ask for too much information or money
If your online dating contact spends most of the time asking you questions about you and your life, but you know little about him or her, this is a major red flag and it’s time to be suspicious. If you ask more about your partner’s life and background, and you get very little information or details, or if the story seems to change or be inconsistent, there’s a good chance you’re communicating with a scammer.
If anyone asks you for money, for any reason, it’s best to cease all contact or consult a professional for a dating background check to verify the person before continuing in the relationship. An experienced investigator can verify all data, investigate for fraud, and determine if the subject is who he or she claims to be.
#3 – They are traveling or working overseas
While we’re living in an overpopulated world of globalization, connected by the internet, there is still a significant risk when dealing with people and companies in another country. If your Mr. or Ms. Perfect is from your home state or country, but is currently traveling or working overseas, it’s time to be extra cautious. Many internet criminals also operate in developing countries such as Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Malaysia, Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and so on, so be skeptical when dealing with these countries.
#4 – They insist to talk off the dating site
If you’ve just recently started chatting and emailing, and the person insists you communicate via your private email and outside the dating website, be cautious. This is often the first mistake in a series of bad decisions on letting the criminal into your life, personal data and computer. Revealing your full name, true photos, date of birth and email address to a criminal is a very bad idea, so use the safer communication on the dating website until you are more certain that the person you’re dealing with is to be trusted.
#5 – Listen to your instincts, and be skeptical
So you’ve been skeptical, you’ve done your research and you’ve been extra cautious. Everything seems to be going perfectly, and you’re seriously considering a real life relationship with this person you’ve met online. But, something just doesn’t feel right. This is a red flag and you need to pay attention to your gut instinct. Even if you don’t see any red flags, private investigators say internet criminals are good at what they do, and even the most skeptical can be a victim. Be smart and get a background check!
© 2014 Wymoo International