Looking for a true love in the internet is both scary and exciting. With the new technology, scammers are everywhere and anyone can take on a false identity.
Way back in the ‘90s, I tried online dating via a chat program called MIRC. That paved the way for me to meet my husband. Since then our relationship has become stronger and we have been blessed with two cute boys aged 15 and 13.
With my husband and kids
It wasn’t long before online dating became a popular way for netizens to meet, but this also resulted in lies, intrigues, and scams.
There are many legitimate free dating sites that allow members to establish online relationships. Often, these online friendships blossom into genuine long-term romance. An increasing number of people have found their partners through the internet. However, some ended up with scammers.
Sadly, these people have managed to take advantage of this trend to exploit others and further their own nefarious schemes. Many people around the world have been duped into sending money to Internet fraudsters posing as would-be girlfriends or boyfriends.
A typical Internet dating scam goes like this:
A person registers at an online dating service or free dating sites and creates a profile. The profile will include information and possibly a photograph of the person along with a way for interested parties to make contact.
In due course, a scammer contacts the person posing as someone interested in exploring a possible romantic relationship.
The victim responds and the pair begins corresponding regularly. They may soon bypass the dating service contact system and start communicating directly, usually via email.
Over time, the scammer will slowly earn the trust of the victim. The latter may discuss family, jobs, and other details to make the scammer appear like a real person who is genuinely interested in the victim. Photographs may be exchanged. However, the online identity assumed by the fraudster is likely to be nothing more than an invention. Photographs may not even show the real sender. The victim’s apparent love interest may look completely different to the person in the photograph and, in reality, may not even be the same gender.
After the scammer has established the illusion of a genuine and meaningful relationship, he will begin asking the victim for money.
If the victim complies and sends money, the latter will receive more such requests. With his judgement clouded by a burgeoning love for the scammer’s imaginary character, the victim may continue to send money.
Finally, the victim will come to realize that he has been duped, perhaps after waiting fruitlessly at the airport for a “lover” who will, of course, never arrive. Meanwhile, the scammer pockets the money and moves on to the next victim.
In many cases, the victim will not only lose money but will also be broken-hearted and thoroughly disillusioned. In general, scammers tend to prey on people who are lonely, shy, or isolated and, therefore, more vulnerable. These people make easy targets for those looking for online victims.