Are you entangled in love with a person online but still yet to meet in person? Then you could be a victim of a romance scammer. These lowlives are great at faking their online identity and storytelling.
Scammers pretend to be hard-working average Joe’s. They invent fantasy lives and slow make you feel a part of it, making you feel a sense of companionship to them. Over time, the scammer slowly and instead gently introduces you to a personal issue they face, sometimes mentioned as an emergency. Thousands of people fall prey to this fake drama each year and gladly put up cash for them. In 2019, romance scams resulted in more than $200 million in the US. Romance scams result in higher losses than other scams.
If you are currently chatting to someone online and yet to meet them, you may now have shivers up your back. Read on, and we’ll show you the tricks of the trade to work out if they are a scammer, what to do, and finally, how to get revenge!
Lies, lies, and lies! – Initial steps of a scam
We all have to understand that all these scammers start by lying about their location. Every time an online romance scammer is questioned about their location, the answer is mostly a location far from the residing place of the victim. There is a pattern that these scammers follow. For instance, if you are from the United States and meet someone virtually through dating websites. If that someone claims to be currently residing somewhere other than the United States, it is always best to stop any communications with them. Secondly, when you quiz them about their workplace, you would be surprised by the answers from these fraudsters. Some of the significant lies about their workplace are:
- “Hey! I work in an oil rig company.”
- “ Serving the country is my pride. And, I am proud to be in the military!”
- “ Helping people puts a smile on my face! I am a doctor with an international organization.”
Yes, these answers might sound enticing. But, once you start getting into the details, many of these lowlives will begin panicking and give themselves up!
Building up the romance – A scammers stronghold
A romance scammer will express intense feelings for you in a short amount of time and will advise that you move the engagement away from the dating websites and into a more personal channel, such as calls and e-mails.
Scammers will be ready to do anything to increase your interest and earn your trust. This includes showering you with kind words, providing ‘private information,’ and even mailing you presents. Scammers take several months to establish what appears to be a lovey-dovey steady relationship. They will exceed your expectations by booking flights to your destinations. However, they will never turn up in person!
The “it is an emergency” excuses – The midpoint of a romance scam
In most cases, romance scammers will ask you for money due to their financial crisis. For example, a scammer would inform you prior about their mom or dad being completely sick. As you continue having conversations with them, they tell you that the ill mom or dad needs immediate surgery. Being kind and thinking that your “partner” really needs money would help them out immediately.
Another perfect excuse to take money from you is telling you that they are visiting and need cash due to a financial crisis.
Unnoticed middleman service – Additional favors for the scammer
Romance scammers are professional con artists who can indirectly make you the middleman for their unlawful acts. In some cases, these scammers not only want your hard-earned money but your help in their other illegal activities. For example, the scammer would ask you to receive something precious from them, like a large amount of money or gold. After receiving it, romance scammers will ask you to deliver the goods to someone else.
This is a common practice to cover up their criminal activities. Moreover, they might even ask you to cover the shipping and other taxes. We should always understand that if someone sends us valuable products and asks us to transfer them to some other person, the process is mostly illegal.
The sudden twist! – The climax of a romance scam
Once a romance scammer knows that you have fallen prey to their fake affection, they take the conversation to the next level. They start asking you for money, valuable gifts, and even credit card information directly or subtly. If you fall prey to the scammer’s words, you would probably think that you need to provide what they ask, merely thinking that you are doing it for the love of your life.
It is reported that the scammers even ask for intimate pictures of you in some cases. These romance scammers either use it for their personal needs or sell it to adult websites for a good amount of money. Either way, sharing something online, especially intimate pictures, should be avoided at all costs.
Ultimately, you would be surprised by the sudden twist after providing everything they ask. When scammers receive everything from you, they immediately delete their profiles and block you from all the platforms you can contact them.
Path to bankruptcy – End cards!
Once you start sending money or gift cards to scammers, they will never use the word “Enough”. They will use their ‘superhuman’ brain to come up with different situations that can melt your heart and ultimately make you send them more money.
Never encourage any suspicious behavior online. Let us tell you the different ways that can be helpful for you to avoid any such scams and outsmart a romance scammer!
11 practical ways to outsmart a romance scammer
How much is too much?
Romance scammers will closely inspect your profile. They gather public data and use it against you. They prepare themselves to understand your likings. For example, if you like country music, a romance scammer will run detailed research on country music and understand every nuke and corner. They make every effort to appear flawlessly in harmony with you to gain your trust. This is only one of the many methods they practice to attempt a scam.
You may avoid this by not disclosing too much private data to the general public. For instance, avoid disclosing your location, contact information, or favorite memories. If you are on a dating website, only include a couple of your likings in your profile. Save the rest for your romantic first date!
Mark your territory
If your romance began on a dating website, the golden rule is to continue communicating through the site’s communication systems. Follow the practice until you can meet in person. Only agree to meet after you can ensure that the individual is worthy of your commitment. Many romance scammers may attempt to ask you to have a private chat that hides their fake location and identity. Someone who is sincerely seeking love online should have no problem conversing using the messaging service provided by their dating website.
The virtual addict
If someone is intensely interested in an online relationship, this is a warning sign that they are a romance scammer. These folks will put up a fantastic drama about their “original” identity and routine. They’ll try the scam of the century once you’ve taken the bait.
Anyone who really is into finding a partner would most probably be willing to meet in person. Never fall for someone who asks you to be their “virtual” partner.
Love at first sight!
If someone is too hasty to confess their love, they may try to scam you. For many careless victims, the problem is that everything looks natural to them, and they think that a person is really going to be their partner for life. That is why you must be self-disciplined and push yourself to slow things down, no matter how enticing it may seem.
Professional romance scammers are impatient, and if you don’t follow their plan, they will quickly move to find another victim.
Who are you, actually?
Romance scammers will never agree to video chat if they steal someone else’s image or their whole identity. This is an evident proof of action that indicates that they are not who they claim to be. People who take someone else’s identity will often avoid video chat because they need to maintain their online character.
You will get constant lame excuses if you insist on having a video call. ‘My camera is not working,’ ‘the signal is weak here,’ and ‘I’m currently traveling’ are some of the most common excuses by romance scammers. The explanations won’t end, and if they are using a fake account, you will never be able to video chat with them.
Show me the money!
Romance scammers are merely con artists with a catchy sentence or two. Beyond the flirty chats, their primary purpose is to get their victim to transfer money or send gift cards to an anonymous account. Be aware that the way of asking money might be compelling and sophisticated, generally involving an emergency that touches your heart. You have the right to say “No” if you sense a feeling of getting scammed. You just need to be cautious in safeguarding your hard-earned income from fraudulent hands. According to a survey, almost 33.8% of scams occur through bank transfers. Moreover, other payment methods include Google Play gift cards, Stream cards, iTunes, and other platforms.
Background check is mandatory
When we buy a new product from the grocery store, we read the ingredients and the ‘date of manufacture’ before buying it. The exact process applies when you find a partner online. Browse through their pictures, find out their family members, ask around if someone knows them, and even don’t hesitate to check their other social handles.
If you see it from the other side, this is the same process a romance scammer uses to identify their victims. So, why don’t you use it towards them for a change?
Reverse image process
Your romantic partner is quite likely to grab your attention with a profile photo of a beautiful, pleasant, and seemingly trustworthy individual. A brief Google reverse image search or a reverse image search at our website scamsearch.io, can reveal to you whether they are legit. If the pictures are stolen from another social media account, their plan will be revealed in a matter of seconds.
Most of the images that these romance scammers steal are from social media. If you are not convinced with the reverse image search, feel free to search their name on other social media websites. Maybe, you would find out the real person is a 40-year older man living across the street!
My money, my rules!
Financial information should be avoided for a more extended period of the relationship. For example, it is natural to discuss where you exercise or your favorite hangout place in a ’growing’ romance. People who are dating may talk about purchasing their favorite products, such as a new stick blender or organizing a vacation.
However, even minor details such as how much you earn each hour, your incentive, or how much money you have in your savings account should not be disclosed. If the person you’re speaking with is interested to learn about this information, it might be a romance scam.
Sorry, but I’m overseas
The fact that they are from your region and must reside abroad, for the time being, is a typical lie in romance scams. Their motivations for relocating to another place may differ. Some scammers will claim that they are doing it to care for a loved one.
Another excuse to escape from questions is that they bring out the sudden ‘soldier’ in them and tell you that they serve in the military.
Send me a selfie!
If something doesn’t feel right, or if you want to be sure someone is who they say they are, ask them for an exact image. For example, a photograph of them doing the infamous kissing emoji or trying to balance a spoon on their nose.
Most individuals don’t have images of themselves performing those activities on social networks. So it is doubtful that the person behind the romance scam would be able to execute it.
So, what are we left with?
Romantic scams are expected to grow more popular. As the majority of us spend more time online presently, it is proving to be a boon to romance scammers. However, there is no need to become prey. If you had read all the 11 outsmarting ways, you could save not only your money but also your valuable time. Maybe you could help someone else before they get scammed! Sometimes, it is also helpful to contact friends and talk to them about the people you meet online. Tell your friend the online gossips and ask their opinion. Also, make sure to inform the cyber authorities if you find a romance scammer online. According to research, more than 60% of victims are women, and people in the 55-65 age group fall prey to romance scams that happen online. So, you need to be careful while you are online and using social or dating sites to kill your boredom or find the love of your life.
If you found this article useful, you may want to try out our scamsearch website, which helps you determine if you’re talking to a scammer or not.
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