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In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.
He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.
If someone was expressing over-the-top love and passion within a couple weeks, you’d be worried.
Early on in a courting relationship, you’ll probably ask a lot of questions, even basic ones like “how tall are you? ” If the person you’re talking to is avoiding these basic questions, that should be a big red flag.
These methods give them better access to you and can help them gather additional information that they can use to con you.
Don’t fall for it: there’s nothing wrong with staying in touch via the dating site.
Scammers are good at being charming and saying all the right things—and they start it fast.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.
The most common reasons that they give for needing money are not being able to afford a passport, visa, other travel documents, or plane tickets (often to come see you); an emergency stay in the hospital that requires a huge sum of money; getting robbed while traveling; or not being able to access their money from abroad.
There’s a huge variety of reasons that you could get.
They might also say that they live near you, but that they’re away; they could be in another country on a trip or for work, but they’ll almost certainly be somewhere far away where you can’t meet them.
The photos used by scammers can also clue you in that something is off.