Not everyone on Internet dating sites is looking for love; some may be hoping to scam their next potential victim. There are typical ways in which online dating con artists and scammers work. Bells should go off if anyone overseas asks you for money — or offers to send you money. Instead of saying, ‘Send me money,’ what they say is, ‘I want to send you money.’” The amount can be quite large, and the con artist might ask for a portion of that money to be sent to him or her in order to send you money back.
“DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY TO ANYONE YOU MEET ON SINGLES DATING WORLD OR ANY OTHER DATING SITE ONLINE”
We have no tolerance for scammers who prey upon innocent and unsuspecting hardworking people.
Before you become a victim of online scams, here are a few tips that will show you how to spot a scammer.
Online dating scam artists use common ploys. They:
* Run scams from overseas. Be wary of people who claim to be American professionals traveling abroad.
* Have poor grammar and spelling. They may use instant messaging or TTY services for the deaf to help mask their broken English.
* Profess to be in love with you almost immediately.
* Plagiarize love letters or poetry to bewitch victims. Be wary if love letters don’t match a writer’s usual style — and use online searches to ferret out lifted phrases.
* Provide few concrete details about their lives or work.
* Send a fake photo. Scammers mask their identities by sending shots of strangers they pull off the Internet. Some use photos of models.
* String you along for weeks or months before asking you for money.
* Send flowers or candy if you seem lukewarm about the relationship. (These are often purchased with stolen credit cards.)
* Want to see you on a Webcam – even though their Webcam never seems to work. They want to make sure you’re not law enforcement – and to keep you from seeing them, since they aren’t going to look anything like the photo they sent.
* Concoct an emergency and ask you to wire money to them. (Wired money is as good as gone the minute it’s sent.)
* Ask you to wire them money so they can be with you.
* Ask you to handle checks or banking for them in the United States. The latter may draw you into being a middleman in a scam.
* Ask you to buy items in the United States, particularly electronics, and send them overseas. Many companies won’t ship to scam- beleaguered countries, so scammers might use you as an unwitting fence by directing you to forward property they’ve bought with stolen cards.
* Ask you for personal information or passwords that can get them into your online accounts.
* Try to victimize you all over again by pretending to be fellow victims of a dating scam or law enforcement officers pursuing dating scammers. Law enforcement agencies never ask victims for money or ask for sensitive personal information (like account and Social Security numbers) via e- mail.
If you lose money in an online dating scam, report it to:
* The Internet service provider and/or networking site the scammer used to contact you.
* IC3.gov – the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center, which refers complaints to state, federal and international law-enforcement agencies.
* Fraud.org – The National Consumer League’s Fraud Center, which collects complaints from Internet crime victims and makes them available to law enforcement agencies across the country.
* The U.S. Postal Inspection Service – If a scam artist asked you to distribute mail or postal money orders, file a complaint with this agency, the law enforcement arm of the post office.