Friday, April 20, 2012

In these days of economic struggle, people look for new ways to find financial freedom and love to lessen the heavy burden. Most people believe that to look for love online is safer than to go out there and reach it in bars, movie theaters or just by getting out. Truth is, the internet offers more risk than looking for love the old fashion way. Scams and fraud are widespread.

Romance scams have cost victims millions of dollars since the online dating has gone mainstream. According to the division of Cyber Forensics at Scotland Yard over 55 million pounds were lost last year because of online dating frauds. But how can you avoid being a victim of dating scams? It takes some experience and awareness to spot a scammer. First thing should be to avoid any email, IM or Skype call from someone you don’t know, but if you are looking for love, you might be open to a request if you have posted a profile on, Facebook or similar site letting others know you’re available and looking. Among the honest folks, criminals too are looking.

Russian brides contact you by email and usually add a link to their profile’s hot pictures, pulling your strings of desire. When in Facebook or dating sites, emails of successful and handsome men and gorgeous women go in to your inbox. Once you have let them in, they tell you about their lives and gain your trust. Usually play the victim out of a failed marriage or have widowed and have children to look after. They are successful business people that happen to be related to the oil industry and end up always traveling to Nigeria, Ghana, the U.K., Malaysia or the Philippines. They’ve come on hard times and they need your help? Sound familiar? Scammers often share a common profile and once you’ve encountered one scammer, it can be good experience to avoid the next.

Experts says be aware that no site is immune from fraud. Even popular sites like Facebook, eHarmony, and ChristianSingles have no way of screening their members. You are out there with everyone, the good and the bad. Be careful about sharing private information online that could later be used against you. And NEVER send money to anyone overseas you haven’t met or had verified by a reputation private investigator. Dating background checks are effective and strongly recommended for any relationship begun online. Be safe and skeptical.

Even as consumers become more aware of the risks, criminals are also getting more sophisticated. Anyone can be a victim. Internet criminals don’t always ask directly for your money. They may just slowly gather information from you until they have enough to steal your identity, and drain your bank account. Victims can be left devastated, emotionally and financially. It’s a serious crime and romance scams are increasing worldwide. It’s up to you to be safe and verify.

Best of luck,

A Hathaway
 © 2012 A Hathaway

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