Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Consumer Report of Services Available

If you're new to the world of online or Internet dating, you're not alone. Millions of people are joining the long list of available match-making websites in the hope of finding someone special. The impressive growth in the number of online subscribers to such sites is not suprising, as many marriages and meaningful relationships are now being initiated via the Internet.

Along with the success stories, there are some dreadful losses and scams. Risks inherent in online dating include physical harm, financial fraud, scams and identity theft. The fact is, when someone is introduced via the Internet, it is nearly impossible to truly see who that person really is. Emails, beautiful photos, smooth phone conversations, and more, are often the real thing. The problem is knowing when this is actually fraud.

Relationship fraud indicates one of the members in the relationship has misrepresented him or herself, or has false intentions, and of course the most common false intention, is money. The most cautious of individuals dating online can be a victim of advance fee fraud. The scammers are convincing and are often professionial criminals with years of experience.

How do you know if you have the real thing? Know the warning signs. Beware of individuals falling in love too soon. Watch out for any money requests for emergencies, etc. Use extra caution when developing a relationship with an individual in a foreign country. Be skeptical. Move towards speaking on the phone before meeting in person. Never give personal financial information and last but not least, when meeting, do it in a safe and public place.

Be Safe, Get a Background Check

There are a few services that provide assistance to those who want to be cautious. In other words, these companies can confirm that yes, this person appears to be who he or she claims to be and there is no criminal record, etc. It is a smart move to verify his or her story. Below we list a few of our favorites options.

1. Wymoo International, specializes in background checks for online dating and Internet fraud in 100 countries. Based in the United States with offices around with world. Narrative reporting in 7 to 10 days. Offers full confidential investigations.

2. Owens Online, provides a variety of a la carte services for each of their 250 countries covered. Based in the United States and offers a verification service and data reporting for checking criminal, education and employment references.

3. Kroll, offers a wide array of services to assist clients around the world with fraud prevention and background screening. Based in the U.S. with offices in 19 countries. Employment, education and public records. Company advisory but supports individuals.

Prices of these services may vary depending on the country involved and the information needed. If the relationship is progressing, especially if international, the price of an early background check is often a prudent investment.

Best of luck,

A. Hathaway

Read more about warning signs of advance fee fraud at Wikipedia.
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Posted by the Investigators

This copyrighted article was written and published by the editor and site author, A. Hathaway, or other guest private investigator, expert or contributor as noted.