Online dating scams have become a worldwide issue. A study presented at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society in London found that people with strong romantic beliefs who idealize their romantic partners are most likely to fall victim to online dating scams. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State has posted an advisory warning Americans to “be alert to attempts at fraud by persons claiming to live outside of the U.S., professing friendship, romantic interest, and /or marriage intentions over the Internet.”
According to the State Department, the following red flags can be used to identify a potential romance scam:
- The scammer and the victim meet online – often through Internet dating or employment sites.
- The scammer asks for money to get out of a bad situation or to provide a service.
- Photographs that the scammer sends of “him/herself” show a very attractive person. The photo appears to have been taken at a professional modeling agency or photographic studio.
- The scammer has incredibly bad luck– often getting into car crashes, arrested, mugged, beaten, or hospitalized — usually all within the course of a couple of months. They often claim that their key family members (parents and siblings) are dead. Sometimes, the scammer claims to have an accompanying child overseas who is very sick or has been in an accident.
- The scammer claims to be a native-born American citizen, but uses poor grammar indicative of a non-native English speaker. Sometimes the scammer will use eloquent romantic language that is plagiarized from the Internet.
Many dating sites and online communities have turned to device identification leader iovation Inc. for help. iovation works with global dating websites and social networks to protect their members from behind the scenes by eliminating scammers before they’ve had a chance to case harm. iovation has already prevented more than 50 million online scams, spam, solicitations, fake profiles and phishing attacks in their attempt to make the Internet a safer place to do business and interact.