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Romance/Dating Scam

What is a Romance/Dating Scam?

Scammers are on dating sites, and social networks setting up fake profiles. Scammers will pose under the disguise of beautiful pictures as either male or female claiming to be from Delhi/U.S/U.K etc. The scammer weaves a story of a successful business person working over seas, having no family; they present themselves as a thoughtful, caring and loving individual who is looking for their soul mate. The scammers are good at what they do; they ask lots of questions of the victim regarding what they want in their lives.

Dating and romance scams try to lower your defences by appealing to your romantic or compassionate side. You might be approached by someone who claims they are terribly poor or have a very sick family member and are in the depths of despair (often these scammers claim to be from Russia or Eastern Europe). After they have sent you a few messages, and may be even a glamorous photo, you will be asked (directly or more subtly) to send them money to help their situation.

How The Scams Work?

The scammer then takes the information and turns it into a dream that becomes a reality to the victim. They use words we all like to hear to woo our hearts so they can burn our souls. They use psychology to hold you in their spell. Once they have established a relationship then the scamming begins. In all cases the plea for Financial assistance is the key to the scam. This can be for assistance in cashing a check that they are unable to cash themselves and also asking for financial assistance to help them out of a difficulty they are having. They have landed in a hotel and now cannot pay the bill so the hotel is holding all their papers so they cannot leave. They are desperate to come to you but need your help with the money to manage that. They were mugged and are in the hospital and need you to pay their hospital bill as they are being held hostage until it is paid.

When you're in possession of these checks in your possession is a felony. When you go to the bank to cash it, you may find yourself leaving the bank in handcuffs. Or, the bank may cash it, telling you it will take a few days to clear. Finally they tell you it is clear and the money is now in your account so you go to the bank, remove the money and wire it Western Union to your love. Now a few more days go by and the bank calls you and tells you that check was no good after all and they want their money back. Now what do you do. You have already sent it to your love. Well the bank must be paid back. Either the bank will agree to work with you on it and let you pay it back in payments, or they will have you arrested and you will have to face charges.

Another twist on these romance scams is the scammer will ask for your address. They will then send you flowers, Teddy bears and candy or something of your choice, just to make sure you gave them the correct address. Now the scam starts in earnest. He/she will tell you he/she has ordered some things and the company will not ship to their address so he/she needs to have the items shipped to you and you have to ship them back.

What to Do?

If you have any such items in your possession, you need to take them to the police department and file a general complaint. Take the number from that complaint and contact the party that send the items to you and give them the number, the address and phone number of the police station where their items may be found.

If you are interested in dating an online partner, you need to verify the partner carefully before you being the relationship. If the partner is based overseas, then make sure to call them and verify the phone number and address of the place given by the partner.

The best thing to do when you find you have been scammed is to block the scammer in your email, delete him from your address book, remove him from your instant messenger and put him on the ignore list in the instant messenger.