Online dating fraudsters are like wolves under the full moon in a hot summer night, and won’t hesitate to go after a victim once they’ve detected one. Awareness is your best ally when you have decided to join the lonely hearts club, looking for love over the internet. Russia just happens to be one of the highest risk countries in the world, say experts, so buyer beware.
As the web evolves, scammers seem to have more sources where to get and steal from victims. Dating websites like Match.com or Cupid.com, eHarmony and countless others are a booming business. There are no dating websites for every niche and country. For many foreigners, the idea of a beautiful Russian bride is worth the risk. Many beautiful and honest Russian do in fact use these services looking for an honest man. But, more and more criminals are in the mix. It pays to be skeptical.
Thanks to Skype and the easy access to internet phone lines as well as pre-paid cell phones, romance scammers in general find it easier to contact their victims, and they are harder to trace. Internet criminals can now get a real name, address and phone number and date of birth – a real identity – from the internet quickly and easily from one of the dozens of websites that profit from violating your privacy, such as MyLife, Intelius, Peoplefinder, Spokeo and others. These sites gather your private information, publish it without your authorization, and sell it to the world. Criminals find this especially useful, and use it to conduct their online romance scams against you.
So, the scammers can use a real identity and slowly build your trust. How do you know if this person is real? The answer is, you don’t. Romance scams alone have cost the U.K. and the U.S billions of dollars since the internet dating industry went main stream in 2000. Even as more consumers and subscribers to dating and social networking sites become more educated and aware of the risks, the criminals continue to evolve.
Russia and Ukraine are among the masters in internet scams. Russia private investigators want to raise awareness of men in Western and developed countries. One main thing to keep in mind when looking for love over the internet is if it is too good to be true… well, chances are… it is. And also, apply some common sense and be cautious about revealing too much personal data. Never send money to anyone in Russia or the Ukraine who hasn’t been verified by a professional private investigator or firm with investigators on the ground in Moscow or Kiev.
Once you think you have found that perfect someone, be safe and verify. Be skeptical and take your time. Get a professional Russia background check and if everything checks out, consider a visit to Russia to get to know her better. Don’t keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best. Be smart and think of verification services as an insurance policy. It’s good to be covered.
Best of luck,
© 2012 A Hathaway