Stolen images[ edit ] Falsified passport used in an actual internet romance scam. The deception can be obvious to observers — for example, the photo on this passport does not comply with regulations for size or pose — but these signs are often ignored by willing victims. This is often known as catfishing. This might be for requests for gas money or bus and airplane tickets to travel to visit the victim, medical expenses, education expenses etc. There is usually the promise that the fictitious character will one day join the victim in the victim's country.
The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money. Victims can be highly traumatized by this and are often very embarrassed and ashamed when they learn they have become a victim of a scam and that the romance was a farce. In some cases, online dating services are themselves engaged in misrepresentation , displaying profiles which have been fabricated, which use personal information from users who have not agreed to be depicted on the site  or by presenting outdated or out-of-region profiles as current and local.
Internet[ edit ] Scammers post profiles on dating websites ,  social accounts, classified sites and even forums to groom new victims.
Upon finding victims, scammers lure them to more private means of communication, such as providing an e-mail address to allow for fraud to occur. The scammer says their boss paid them in postal money orders. The scammer wants the victim to cash the money orders, and then wire money to the scammer. The forged money orders leave the banks to incur debts against the victims. These are particularly common at African dating sites. The scammers also like to entice victims to perform sexual acts on webcam.
They then record their victims, play back the recorded images or videos to them and then extort money to prevent them from sending the recordings to friends, family, employers, often discovered via social media sites such as Facebook , Twitter etc. The scheme usually involves accomplices, such as an interpreter and a taxi driver, all of which must be paid by the victim at an inflated price.
The victim leaves just as alone but poorer at the end of the trip. The merchandise is returned to the vendors, the pro-dater and the various accomplices take in their respective cut of the take. As the pro-dater is eager to date again, the next date is immediately set up with the next wealthy foreigner. The young woman will contact a victim and tell them of their plight of not being able to remove the gold from their country due to being unable to pay the duty or marriage taxes.
The woman will be unable to inherit the fortune until she gets married, the marriage being a prequiste of the father, uncle or grandfather's will. The scammer keeps the victim believing that they are sincere, until they are able to build up enough rapport to ask for thousands of dollars to help bring the gold into the victim's country.
The scammer will offer to fly to the victim's country to prove that they are a real person. The victim will send money for the flight.
However, when the victim goes to meet the scammer they never show up. The victim contacts the scammer to ask what happened. The scammer will provide an excuse such as not being able to get an exit visa, or illness of themselves or a family member.
Scammers are very adept at knowing how to "play" their victims - sending love poems, sex games in emails, building up a "loving relationship" with many promises of "one day we will be married". Often photos of unknown African actresses will be used to lure the victim into believing they are talking to that person.
Victims may be invited to travel to the scammer's country; in some cases the victims arrive with asked-for gift money for family members or bribes for corrupt officials, and then they are beaten and robbed or murdered.
Scammers prefer to use the images, names and profiles of soldiers as this usually inspires confidence, trust and admiration in their female victims. They tell their victims that they are lonely, supporting an orphanage with their own money, needing financial assistance because they can't access their own money in a combat zone, etc.
The money is always sent to a third party to be collected for the scammer. Sometimes the third party is real, sometimes fictitious. Funds sent by Western Union and MoneyGram do not have to be claimed by anyone showing identification if the sender sends money using a secret pass phrase and response, and can be picked up anywhere in the world.
Some scammers may also use Bitcoin as an alternative payment method. Per their results, sensitive and less emotionally intelligent people are more likely to be vulnerable to online dating scams. The scammer first grooms a victim by expressing love for them before outlining their desperate circumstances.
They then attempt to request money from the victim. Our study focused on why some individuals are more likely to become the victims of these scams than others. The site provides info about current scams, warning signs and staying safe. The pair met their unsuspecting victims through lonely hearts ads.