Every year millions of people from all over the world visit online dating websites every year hoping to find love, friendship or a soul mate.
FidelityCheckOnline wants to warn everybody that criminals use dating sites as well, but they will not be helping people look for love they want to turn innocent, lonely people’s dreams into cash by scamming them out of their money.
These scam artists trawl dating sites, chat rooms and social media sites looking for signs of vulnerable victims looking for romance. They usually claim they are from the US, Canada, Europe or Australia and are travelling or working abroad.
In reality they may be living somewhere like West Africa or Eastern Europe and although everybody is at risk they like to target women 40+ who are separated, single or divorced. They also target the disabled and elderly who might be easily confused or suffering early stage Alzheimer’s.
Here’s how the romance scam works.
The victim is contacted online by someone who appears interested in them and wants to know more about them. They will already have an attractive profile in place that demonstrates them to be normal, intelligent and have interests similar to their chosen victim. Over the following weeks or months the relationship continues and intimacy builds, you form a connection, if not love a friendship.
This person may even send gifts or flowers as a surprise or for the victims birthday…. this process is known as grooming. The purpose of the grooming is because at some stage they will be asking for emergency has happened a small amount medical bills, maybe they are stuck somewhere and need money for a ticket.
The examples are limitless; the common feature is that you get asked for money, then some more and then some more and you never get it back. They may also ask you to cash cheques/checks, receive or pay for parcels etc.
So what has actually happened? You were targeted by fraudsters, scam artists, thieves, all the information they sent was false, the photos and personal information about them stolen from other people on the internet, maybe previous victims. The person you liked, loved and you thought in a relationship with never really existed!
Wherever you are in this world or if you, or somebody you know, is, or could be the victim of a romance scam please informs the appropriate authorities. Look out for family, friends and neighbours, especially if they are elderly or easily confused. If you think they could be the victim of a scam, actively intervene or tell somebody in authority, people who are being conned by an expert are often the last to know.