Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home ( Archived) (11)

Feb 19, 2014 12:12 AM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
tomcatwarne
tomcatwarnetomcatwarneOcean City, Plumouth, Devon, England UK377 Threads 8 Polls 24,690 Posts
Hundreds of people in the UK have lost more than £10,000 to the scam, which is becoming far more sophisticated with each passing year. Fake profiles made by criminals haunt EVERY dating site.

Rob WaughRob Waugh – Sun, Feb 16, 2014

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A heartbreaking new scam has become highly profitable of for gangs of cybercriminals - who ‘fake’ love affairs with people on dating sites, showering them with gifts and promises for years, before finally robbing them of thousands.

Hundreds of people in the UK have lost more than £10,000 to the scam, which is becoming far more sophisticated with each passing year. Fake profiles made by criminals haunt EVERY dating site - despite efforts to weed them out.

In Britain, £24.5 million is lost every year to such scams - and worse, that figure might be a serious underestimate, according to Mark Brook, Editor of OnlinePersonalsWatch.

Many victims are so ashamed and distraught that the perpetrator is never prosecuted. The criminals often live abroad, conducting thousands of online affairs at once until one ‘pays out’.

[What Facebook has found out about love]

In Britain, six million of us use dating sites - and criminals often target older single people, in hopes of more profit when they finally defraud their target. Last year, one British woman lost £800,000 to such a scam. The love affairs feel real - the criminals speak good English, often pretending to be ex-pats.

Like real love affairs, they grow over time - the criminals often target thousands of victims at once, messaging each in turn - and the criminals often send gifts or cards, before the scam enters its final phase.

For victims, the loss can be horrific - £8,750 per person on average in the UK in 2012. 16 per cent (457) of reported victims parted with £10,000 or more, with 49 people reporting to have lost more than £100,000 and one unfortunate victim losing a whopping £850,000 looking for love online.

If you’ve ‘known’ each other for months, are you safe?

"No. Scammers often do this full time - they'll pan for gold among tens of thousands to find a few potential victims. It usually takes a few months to build up to the 'I need money for a kidney operation or I'll die' type scam. People get scammed because they're in love, and really really want to believe its not all B.S.
There's actually a double-scam that can happen when people finally find out that they've been scammed. The scammer can come back and say, 'I am a scammer, but while I was working on scamming you, I really fell in love with you!' And on it goes, and its all really really sad and upsetting for both consumers, and for people who run (veritable) dating sites."
[Match.com is the dating site recommended by most singles]
Can you spot scammers by looking at their profiles?

"The line of communication is the give away. If they want you to get off the dating site asap, that's a sign. In general I recommend people chat for a short while, and then jump onto a video date.
That helps waste less time in general anyway. I don't think anyone should put more than half an hour of time into communication without doing a video or real life date."
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Feb 19, 2014 12:13 AM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
tomcatwarne
tomcatwarnetomcatwarneOcean City, Plumouth, Devon, England UK377 Threads 8 Polls 24,690 Posts
Are there details I should leave off my profile, in case I’m targeted?

"The religiously inclined are targeted, as they're more likely to take a leap of faith. Older women, because its tough to find a hot older gentleman. They play the odds, and they're looking for some sign of gullibility among people who are likely to have some savings. People who are generous, vulnerable, of-faith and fighting poor odds of finding a partner are ideal. So if your profile hints at any of those, you're more of a target. Get a friend to review it."

You meet on Match, but he’s insistent you chat via email or Skype

"It is the scammers job to get users off the site asap. They want to get into direct email or Skype or phone contact as soon as possible. That way dating sites’ detection systems have less chance of picking up on unusual lines of communication.
For example, we know people don't use the word 'wire' in regular dating communications. That's a red flag and is usually picked up by dating sites' auto-detection systems; the first line of defense. But the scammers know better than to use that word on dating sites now. Its constant cat-and-mouse."
[The ex factor: Should you ever stay friends with a former love?]
Cybercriminals will often conduct conversations with thousands of victims at once - and you can sometimes spot patterns?

"You can sometimes pick up phrases that criminals re-use, simply by using Google on their messages. But less so in the past few months. They get smarter and stronger each year. Most good dating sites have automated systems which root out scammers, using patterns of language - such as the word ‘wire’ for wire transfer of cash."
It’s not a word that usually comes up in normal relationships. That’s the single most obvious sign - being asked to open up your wallet after a few weeks of communication. The sites which I work for are watching, though - we know it’s super-critical to do an A1 job of nixing scams by kicking them off our sites before they get a chance to communicate with consumers."

Before making first contact, do some detective work
"There are certain kinds of profile that scammers do tend to use - ex-pats working abroad being one of them. If scammers have made it onto a dating site, its because the profile looks normal. If you’re about to make contact, it doesn’t hurt to look at other networks such as Facebook.
If the person has a Facebook profile with 10 friends, well that’s a dead giveaway as well. Who has just ten friends on Facebook? If you’re worried, insist on a Skype call. If the person you see is different from their profile, hang up immediately and sever all ties."
[The 5 most annoying Facebook habits]
What are the real ‘red alert’ warning signs?

"Scammers will take months to groom a target. They'll send gifts, and make users feel beautiful and cared for, and then hit them with a test. A small request to open up their wallets. The scams will be small at first. Then they're off to the races. My advice: don't send money to someone you've never met, and don't jump on a plane until you've verified the identity and existence of the person you're visiting. Ideally, take a friend."

How common are these sorts of scams?

"Every single dating site has to suppress and deal with fraud. But prosecutions don’t happen often enough. The problem is, most of these scams are international and it becomes tough to coordinate jurisdiction. It's exhausting, and most victims just want to put the entire event behind them. Even if they've been taken for tens of thousands of dollars."
[Office Flings - a no go zone?]
I am worried my ‘new romance’ might not be what it seems - what can I do?
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Feb 19, 2014 2:35 AM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
Glitch101
Glitch101Glitch101London, Greater London, England UK26 Threads 1,555 Posts
Don't think C.S. will appreciate this thread somehow.laugh

It's a global issue.
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Feb 24, 2014 7:40 PM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
magdolnabene
magdolnabenemagdolnabeneZalakomár, Western Transdanubia Hungary8 Posts
Recent panic from the Dating Sites in Hungary:
"The U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and he looking for wife".
I read the last few days, but this started about ago half a year the from websites comments on basis.
I have seen too many Causeless accusations also. There are people who want to sell books, operated a web site and there collect the "horror" stories that can sell their books. They live and thrive the of scandal. Started the whispering campaign the have itching ears for peoples.
Do not believe everything. comfort
Who in turn soups eat with Devil needs a long.
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Feb 24, 2014 7:50 PM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
magdolnabene
magdolnabenemagdolnabeneZalakomár, Western Transdanubia Hungary8 Posts
missed a word , the to last : spoon doh
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Feb 24, 2014 7:54 PM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
theD0CT0R
theD0CT0RtheD0CT0RLaunceston, Tasmania Australia23 Threads 1,268 Posts
One of the problems with these scammers is that they prey on the lonely and sometimes the desperate. Last year I was getting to know one of the scammers, who lives in the Philippines, and for the first time I came across one that got on cam. But knowing the reality of these scumbags, it has always made me wary of the dangers of sending money and so on. Three months later, they decided to to end the online relationship, which was a good thing, and I'm more wary of internet scams.
To those talking in chat or on cam, think with your head and not with your heart, because it's more than a 50-50 chance that they are sucking you in deeper.
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Feb 24, 2014 8:23 PM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
Ana13
Ana13Ana13Winchester, Hampshire, England UK4 Threads 202 Posts
theD0CT0R: One of the problems with these scammers is that they prey on the lonely and sometimes the desperate. Last year I was getting to know one of the scammers, who lives in the Philippines, and for the first time I came across one that got on cam. But knowing the reality of these scumbags, it has always made me wary of the dangers of sending money and so on. Three months later, they decided to to end the online relationship, which was a good thing, and I'm more wary of internet scams.
To those talking in chat or on cam, think with your head and not with your heart, because it's more than a 50-50 chance that they are sucking you in deeper.


Don't you think that many people on dating sites are lonely as you say? I'm convinced that scamming is now big business, not just a few Nigerians trying to make a few bob, and I read stories of men and women losing large sums of money much more regularly. There are hundreds of documentaries on youtube which show the ugly reality of scam artists, as well as the newspaper reports we read.

Just as disturbing though are fake profiles and those who play emotional games with people who truly believe they have made a romantic connection. I don't know why people take pleasure doing this but it certainly happens a lot. I watched a few episodes of an American series called Catfish and I was astounded how often people on dating sites had been duped.

I think the fake profiles and "players" are far more dangerous because money is not generally the ultimate reason they target and hurt people so they are more often successful, particularly as most online daters are much more savvy now in terms of scamming attempts.

I suspect these fakers do it because they are so unappealing in the real world for a whole host of reasons.
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Feb 24, 2014 8:33 PM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
Gimme a break.

Most people who fall for these con artists would also be separated from their money in real life.

There are warnings galore in this site, and others. If you choose to disregard these, plus your innate common sense and gut feeling, then you choose your destiny.
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Feb 24, 2014 8:38 PM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
Ana13
Ana13Ana13Winchester, Hampshire, England UK4 Threads 202 Posts
mollybaby: Gimme a break.

Most people who fall for these con artists would also be separated from their money in real life.

There are warnings galore in this site, and others. If you choose to disregard these, plus your innate common sense and gut feeling, then you choose your destiny.


Yes I agree which is why I said previously that the fake profiles and emotional con artists are far more dangerous and successful than scammers in their cruel games.
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Feb 25, 2014 6:32 AM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
Obstinance_Works
Obstinance_WorksObstinance_WorksManchester, Greater Manchester, England UK3 Threads 1 Polls 6,768 Posts
A fool and his money are soon parted...

Desperate loner would actually be more accurate than the word fool, but that's not the saying.
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Feb 25, 2014 6:45 AM CST Is your 'lover' for real? Picking the wrong online date could cost you your home
unlaoised
unlaoisedunlaoisedTwilight zone, Wicklow Ireland38 Threads 17,867 Posts
mollybaby: Gimme a break.

Most people who fall for these con artists would also be separated from their money in real life.

There are warnings galore in this site, and others. If you choose to disregard these, plus your innate common sense and gut feeling, then you choose your destiny.



Totally agree thumbs up
I've always said that romance scamming is huge business. If you're on the internet and more so, on a dating site...it's up to you to educate and protect yourself.
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