Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looking for love has become more complicated than ever, and scams on the internet continue to be a major risk for anyone involved in online dating or social networking.  These days, it can be nearly impossible to tell who you’re dealing with online.  Even as media and law enforcement work to inform internet users, internet criminals continue to develop new and hard to detect methods of stealing your money and your identity.  Experts say military scams are among the highest growing scam type targeting victims on online dating and social networking sites.

Recent research on romance scams revealed that one out of ten profiles on social networks and dating sites is a fake.  Investigators fear that that figure is even higher.  Even individuals who are not criminals exaggerate their identity, or even create false data to protect their identity.  In other cases, victims simply don’t realize the risk of sharing everything online for the world to see.  Criminals are increasingly targeting victims online with scams and much more serious crime.  Police departments around the country say many burglary, assault, rape and even homicide cases start with online research or stalking.  Criminals can get your information from Facebook and then find your address and image of your home on the internet.  The risk is high, and the violation of privacy is a major concern to international investigators who investigate these cases.

Military scams are a growing problem and a booming business for scammers.  Victims around the world trust people in the military, so by using the alias of a soldier, victims are more likely to take the bait and trust the criminal behind the scam. This can result in a higher “success” rates for the scammer who can be located anywhere in the world, such as Romania, Russia, Ukraine, West Africa, Philippines or Malaysia.  Countries like Nigeria and Ghana now have criminal accomplices working in Europe and developed countries like Canada.  Law enforcement is struggling to keep up.  Making matters worse, romance scam victims often learn there is little that can be done, and even when reporting to the FBI, Interpol or local police, agencies rarely investigate.

Dating background checks by professional investigation firms offer trusted solutions for internet users around the world, and more people are turning to reputable private investigators to verify their online contacts.  It is a form of insurance that can keep you safe, say investigators and fraud experts.  By having your online contact verified, you reduce your risk for romance scams, identity theft and more serious crime.  It can give you peace of mind and keep you safe.

Try to keep conversation through messages and emails on the social media sites and online dating sites, rather than using your own email.  Take your time and watch out for red flags.    If you meet Mr. or Ms. Perfect online, and he’s currently overseas in the military, be skeptical. 

Best of luck,

A Hathaway
© 2013 A Hathaway 

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