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Romance Scams Still a Threat in Online Dating

Posted On   date11/01/2012

Romance Scams Still a Threat in Online Dating

Despite the increased awareness by consumers, and much talk by corporate CEO’s and the media about the need for background check investigations, online dating sites have yet to implement any verification service or professional background check services for their members. Company spokespersons say match making websites and online dating companies lack the expertise and resources to verify all members. Security experts and private investigators agree.  Match.com alone claims to have over 20 million members.

Online dating and the internet in general is connecting people from all over the world. It’s not uncommon for members of Match.com, eHarmony and Facebook to “meet” someone and build a relationship online with subscribers in other countries. Such is the impact on romance from globalization. With more people meeting online from all over the world comes an increased risk for fraud, romance scams, identity theft and more. Investigators say it’s not always easy to verify and investigate someone who lives in your same town or state. When your new potential mate is on the other side of the world, it gets quite complicated.

Law enforcement and reputable international private investigators say that there remains a misconception about the nature of a true background check investigation. Checking criminal records is not a background check, and certainly not an investigation. When conducted property, a dating background check investigation might include 1) employment and education verification, 2) document or passport verification, 3) travel records and fraud screening, 4) criminal and civil records, including marriage, and 5) address verification and identity check. The evidence from the investigation should determine if the individual is who he or she claims to be.

Consumers and subscribers to online dating and social networking sites need to know that for background checks on individuals outside the U.S., it’s essential to hire a firm with professional investigators on the ground where you need them. In most cases, there simply is no other way to gather the evidence. If you’re in a relationship with someone in France, for example, you will need a private investigator or investigation company with investigators in Paris.  Verifying from abroad won’t produce results, and isn’t worth a dime.

The FBI receives a significant number of complaints on a daily basis regarding romance scams.  There is no question the threat is widespread and growing. Popular online dating sites number well into the hundreds, and it is a booming business. Internet criminals so far have stayed one step ahead of law enforcement and dating sites. To lower your risk online, be cautious about providing personal data, and never send money to person or company who is not verified. Be safe and get a professional dating background check if you suspect possible fraud, or if you’re considering a serious relationship with someone in a foreign country.

Be safe and verify,

C. Wright
© 2012 Wymoo International

International Private Investigators

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