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Millions are lost to these scammers each year – and worse still, the crime may be underestimated, as victims are often too distraught to reveal the extent of their losses.
Spotting scammers is getting harder – but there are still ways to ensure you stay safe, Brooks says.
So if your profile hints at any of those, you’re more of a target. Q: I’m already in a relationship online – can I be sure it’s for real? Some of these fake relationships can last for years. Q: My lover sends me gifts – surely that means he’s for real? They’ll send gifts, and make users feel beautiful and cared for, and then it them with a test. That way dating sites detection systems have less chance of picking up on unusual lines of communication.
They’ll pan for gold among tens of thousands to find a few pieces of gold. If they’re a different person than on their profile photo, bail! If the person has a Facebook profile with 10 friends, well that’s a dead giveaway as well. For example, we know people don’t use the word ‘wire’ in regular dating communications. Report to the local police and ask to be referred to their cyber crimes unit. The problem is, most of these scams are cross-border and it becomes tough to coordinate jurisdiction.
Or do they make it clear that they have a great job, are very wealthy or charitable? Some romance scammers are trying to gain enough information about you to be able to steal your identity, it’s not all about getting you to send them money.One of the scenarios that romance scammers often use is that they’re stuck abroad on a business trip and don’t have access to their bank accounts.Scam victims frequently report being asked to send money internationally to pay for an alleged visa, only never to hear from them again.Often the person they thought they were talking to turn out to be using pictures of somebody else on their social media profiles, and are then dubbed a “catfish”.The catfishing from the original documentary started on Facebook, but you can also be catfished on dating apps like Tinder, in chatrooms or even through fake video chats on Skype.