Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had pleaded guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites.While the case was remarkable for its magnitude, when it comes to so-called “romance scams,” it still represents just the tip of the iceberg.This makes it hard for the victim to do due diligence.The scammer might say that an immediate family member has a medical emergency and needs money for treatment, or that he has been wrongly arrested and needs help with bail money and legal support.They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love.Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money.The website Scamalytics maintains a blacklist of scammers who use false pictures. You might not be able to surface information like criminal records, but from their social media profiles, Linked In page, and other information you find, you should be able to get a sense of whether what they are telling you comports with the facts. For example, if a person you met online claims to run a business abroad, call the U. Choose a friend or someone from your church or community who is less emotionally invested than you are. And remember: If the request for funds is indeed a scam, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to ever recover the money.Shopping links are provided by e Bay Commerce Network and Amazon, which makes it easy to find the right product from a variety of online retailers.
To recognize and avoid romance scams, follow these tips. Copy the images your online correspondent has posted to his or her profile, then run them through a reverse-image search engine, such as Tin Eye or Google Images.We use 100% of these fees to fund our testing programs.Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims.The internet is the most widely used communication network ever constructed.It’s used by millions of humans and machines every second of every day.(The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can’t get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs Romance Scams, a watchdog site and online support group.