Men in the western world seem to be getting more aware of the risks involved in online dating due to the increasing amount of information available online, where victims and Russia private investigators have played a leading role in letting people know about the rising risk of romance scams.
Russia, the Ukraine, the U.K. and Spain are the among the European countries that have seen a significant increase in internet based crime, romance scams, marriage fraud and other forms of advance fee fraud. These cases affect individuals around the world, primarily in countries such as Canada, the U.S. and Australia, and the scams usually target English speakers. This growing type of fraud and crime takes in millions of dollars every year, and law enforcement agencies such as Interpol and the FBI have yet to develop an adequate system or technique to prevent and identify these online criminals.
According to an investigation conducted by Forrester Research Inc., a technology and market research company, online dating is now the third largest producer of revenue among all paid content sites, generating more than 950 million USD every year, a figure that they point out will increase 10% by 2013. Romance scams has been around for centuries, but the internet has helped such con artists to gain easy access to false identities, aliases and stolen profiles from public records and online dating and social networking websites, such as Match.com and Facebook. These people are professional criminals that know the emotional strings to pull to make you fall for them, and their one target is your money.
How to tell when are you at risk? Of course following your gut instinct is vital. If you detect information that seems false, or if the situation seems too good to be true, it’s a major red flag. Be very skeptical of requests for money, accidents, inheritances, emergencies, international romances that require some form of assistance with a visa or passport, request for assistance with airfare or education, etc. Scammers will often claim to be in an accident or in a desperate situation involving themselves or family. The key is to never provide payment or personal data to anyone via the internet who has not been verified. If you feel there is a potential for a real relationship, and your partner is overseas, consider contacting a professional private investigator to verify the individual, to make sure you know who you’re dealing with.
Russians are known for their beauty, but often times there is a criminal behind the beautiful photos. Some criminal operations are run by men, and may be connected to organized crime in Moscow. Russia background checks are advised and strongly advised given the high degree of risk in Eastern Europe. When dating online or using social networking sites, be skeptical. When in doubt, contact a reputable private investigation firm or international background check company. Such confidential services can lower the risk for fraud, give you peace of mind, and let you focus on the relationship.
Best of luck,
© 2011 A. Hathaway.