Romance scams is the most common form of scam involving users of social networking and online dating sites, which usually come disguised as a friendly or innocent contact, and even the most skeptical can fall victim or become targets. Of course, regions of the world like West Africa, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and others lead the way in originating scam cases, but the business is profitable. Criminals now operate or have accomplices operating in the U.K. and the U.S., so it is no longer a developing country threat. Romance scams can and do originate from just about everywhere, and if you use online dating, caution and background checks are advised. In the U.K., consumers are increasingly relying on professional background check firms to verify their online partners, and avoid the risk from romance scams and internet fraud.
Romance scammers trap their victims with proven credible stories and slowly gain your trust. Once that’s attained they set the trap and eventually, the victim will usually fall for it. Most victims say the scammer never asked for money, so they didn’t understand how it could be a risk? Caution: Many criminals many never ask for your money directly, but slowly gather information about you which can be used to steal your identity or even blackmail you down the road. The threat is real and yes, even in the U.K., scammers are operating and targeting other U.K. citizens online.
Money requests come usually in the form of an emergency that can’t wait or a settlement, an inheritance or the arrival of your loved one – to purchase their flight ticket or pay for passport or visa or a custom permission, investment, loan, etc. Advance fee fraud affects millions of British nationals year after year and basically no person, company or organization is 100% immune.
Online dating sites such as Match.com, eHarmony, Facebook and countless others have no effective way to screen their millions of users and subscribers for possible fraud.
Private investigators operating in the U.K. have reported notable increase in the demand for professional dating background checks by reputable private investigation firms. As clients want to be sure they're not going to be the next victim, many are playing it safe and verifying their online partner. Experts say it’s a wise insurance policy to have in today’s high risk world.
It is important that if you are considering getting involved in an online relationship you should check the person in the early beginning of the relationship, rather than to wait when it is too late and nothing can be done. When romance scams come from Nigeria, Ghana, the Philippines, Russia, the Ukraine or Colombia, losses are nearly impossible to recover. Verify first, and then decide if the relationship is right for you. Protect your private information, and stay skeptical!
Best of luck,
© 2012 A Hathaway