Romance scams are very real and many fall victim unknowingly until it’s too late.
also known as love cheats and online dating fraudsters, romance scams are often the focus of television documentaries.
These unscrupulous love rats are desperate to get hold of your cash and assets, and not the love you can offer.
The video below is a classic example of a romance scam.
However, avoiding fraudsters is possible; watching out for these nine signs will help you to avoid romance scams on online dating websites and social media like Facebook and Instagram.
1. The Flawless Photograph.
Scammers from under-developed countries find it difficult to create photos depicting suitably ‘Western’ environments and people.
Consequently, they trawl online resources, pulling up too-perfect glossy images from photo stock and modeling agencies.
The resulting photos look too immaculate to be true.
They show handsome, square-jawed males and mind-blowingly gorgeous females.
All of whom are immaculately attired with athletic, toned bodies.
Often, the fraudster shows only a single photograph because obtaining more shots of the same model is difficult.
Look out for tell-tale single images and indications that a watermark is present or has been removed; fraudsters rarely produce perfectly-edited pictures.
Depending on their level of sophistication and whether they are working alone or in an organized criminal gang, a fraudster might lack the software or skills to manipulate photographs.
To check out the source of a photo, right-click on an image and select ‘search for this image on Google’.
If it’s appeared elsewhere online, this search should show where it was stolen from.
There are also many apps and software packages that can check photo origins.
2. They Seem Too Good To Be True.
If the man/woman writing to you seems too good to be true, they probably are.
Does the photo or profile indicate they are decades younger than you?
That they are influential, wealthy, comes from a royal background or enjoys celebrity status?
Do they give themselves a grand title?
Add an unlikely string of qualifications to their name, or claim they have bravery or honor medals?
In all these cases, the person depicted is almost certainly not the one writing to you.
The image and wording were chosen for their ability to con and entice the gullible and lonely, and the scammer is trying to engineer a story to lure you in.
Most people on dating sites seek someone to whom they’re evenly matched.
This means that genuine people writing to you will fall into certain categories based on your own age, lifestyle, interests, country of origin, region, etc.
People who seem way outside ‘the norm’ should present a red flag.
3. They Claim To Be High Ranking Military Officials
Many of these scammers have stolen military personnel pictures and use them for their romance scams.
Often they will claim to be from the state you live in but is deployed overseas, like Afghanistan, Kuwait or some other middle eastern country.
I personally know a lady who was newly widowed and someone friended her on Facebook.
He claimed to be a Colonel in the army and even sent her pictures.
They communicated for a while and he was on his way to meet her but something happened that he needed money, and she sent it to him!
Needless to say, she never heard from him again.
She was lucky, most don’t stop at a few hundred dollars.
Don’t ever accept friend requests from people you don’t know or don’t have mutual friends with. Never!
4. They’re Not Readily Available To Meet You In Person
These fraudsters will keep your communication dragged out in emails or even sometimes phone calls, and will not video chat.
They will claim to be traveling or have a job as an engineer in some distant country.
There is a family situation that they need to take care of and are unable to meet or talk with you at the moment.
There will always be a situation that is very convincing but will promise that they will be available to talk or meet soon.
Meanwhile, they will be trying to build a relationship bond with you.
5. Their English usage is odd or inconsistent.
If a person’s profile seems eloquent but the quality of emails are poor by comparison, the profile wording has probably been stolen from someone else and copied, while the person writing to you is far less educated.
Out-of-place wording and peculiar, old-fashioned idioms are signs the writer doesn’t have English as his first language.
They are writing in a way they see in movies or read in books.
In short, the quality and style of their writing don’t match who they claim to be.
If the writer calls you ‘dear’, ‘madam’ or proclaims you to be their esteemed friend, they’re more than likely romance scammers.
If you suspect the person might be a scammer try typing some of the writer’s letters into a Google search, as you may find the same letter has been reproduced many times in different guises and is being used by con artists all over the world.
Many websites specialize in exposing online fraudsters by sharing such information.
6. They Appear To Be Selfless Or A Humanitarian
First off, they will have many things in common with you and will appear to be self-sacrificing.
If you are a widow, they will also be widowed in their status.
If you’re a single parent, they are also, but you can be for certain that they have a young daughter they are caring for single-handedly.
Or, they are a doctor who is volunteering their time helping other people in third world countries.
These scammers will come up with all kinds of charitable positions they are involved in.
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7. They Claim They’ve Fallen In Love With You.
Scammers prey on the vulnerable by feigning a swift and deep romantic bond.
Not known for their patience, the fraudster wants to get to the point very quickly, and the point of writing to you is to con you into handing over your cash and assets.
With no time or inclination to woo you for real, the con-artist wastes no time in proclaiming his undying love and eternal loyalty, sometimes even in the first email!
There is a book called, The Art Of Seduction, that I highly recommend you read to become aware of how con-artists are able to manipulate and seduce their prey.
Here’s the thing, their letters will become intimate and show a deep desire to be with you in person, within record time.
In most cases, they’ll want to hear you say ‘I love you’ or make a sign towards moving to be with them, inside the first month of corresponding.
They need to be sure you’ll fall for their lines, so if it takes much longer than that, they’ll move to their next victim.
So be sure to be aware and look for this as nobody falls in love that quickly, especially with someone they haven’t met yet!
8. They Will Immediately Ask To Communicate Off-Site
These scammers have somehow snuck their way into the dating site and are eager to find a victim and whisk them off the platform before they are detected.
They will immediately ask you to communicate using different software or ask you for your personal email address.
Be very careful about this, do not give out personal information to someone whom you haven’t met in person.
They may even suggest another app to use then ask you to send more pictures through this new app. You can be sure they will steal your pictures to use on their next victim.
If you follow what I have written in How to Write An Attractive Online Dating Profile, you will have ample enough photos for them to look at. No need to send more.
9. They Suffer A Lot Of Personal Disasters.
In romance scams, the fraudster is usually the victim of a disproportionate amount of bad luck.
They are diagnosed with cancer one day, while the next their home catches fire.
Of course, they are also on their way to see you when they are robbed, leaving them heartbroken and without any funds to travel to you.
They are so much in love with you, that their last meager savings were spent on that stolen ticket.
Now, the only way of meeting them is if you travel there or send them replacement cash.
You’ll even need to fund new suitcases and their travel clothes.
Not only that but they had a little money put aside to help their dying grandmother fulfill her final wish of a decent burial; They don’t suppose you would lend them the cash until their insurance payout comes?
They will inherit their grandmother’s vast estate, so they’ll soon pay you back tenfold.
That’s if you can find them, behind their veil of smoke and mirrors.
Of course, you should never send money, tickets or valuable gifts to prospective dates, or discuss your financial situation with someone you don’t know in person.
It does not matter if you’re not well off, Your meager salary and small house may seem palatial to someone from a developing country.
Lifetime sob stories from strangers are a dime a dozen, and no doubt you’ll already have a few of your own.
Don’t go and fall for someone else’s, only to get stung in the process.
Why Do Romance Scams Work?
First and foremost, they work because real emotions are involved. These con-artists are so convincing that they are able to draw you into what seems a deep loving relationship.
They are very good at exploiting and manipulating your emotions.
Also, they work because most people they are able to con are either lonely, desperate for love or have low self-esteem.
These people want to find love so bad that they overlook waving red flags and even sometimes, willing to settle for less.
They want the relationship to work to the point that they are willing to do anything.
Or, they are so blinded that they ignore the warning signs and are in denial.
Other Romance Scams To Be Aware Of:
There are other romance scams you can get ensnared into if you are not aware and careful.
For A Visa To Live In The US
Have you ever watched 90 Day Fiance on TLC?
It is a tv documentary that follows couples where one is an American and the other is from a developing country and they have 90 days to wed so they can apply for their K-1 visa.
Some seem to be really in love while others get you so angry because it’s so obvious the American is getting hoodwinked by their “Fiance” into just getting the opportunity to live in the US.
In most of these cases, there is a huge age gap between the two.
Usually, they meet on an international dating website or they are on vacation where they meet this person.
While watching this show you feel so sorry for them but then again, you think, “How stupid can they be!”
Everyone else is aware but them!
These are people who lure someone into an online relationship using other peoples pictures and pretend to be them.
Many times they can even be living in the same city or state that you reside in.
The warning signs are similar to the 9 mentioned above but often with a different motive.
Usually, it’s because it was meant to be harmless or a prank but they end up really liking you and they just don’t know how to stop.
They are lonely themselves with low self-esteem and they don’t think you would have a relationship with them otherwise.
Romance Scams Conclusion:
Always be aware and look for these signs:
- Flawless photos.
- Too good to be true.
- They are high ranking military officials.
- Keeps avoiding meeting in person or even video chat.
- Their usage of English is odd or inconsistent.
- Overly states how selfless and charitable they are.
- Claiming to have fallen in love with you quickly.
- They want to communicate off-site immediately.
- Too many personal disasters, one after the other.
Please don’t be stupid and gullible.
These people will seem so loving and you may even feel a deep connection with them.
Remember, they are very good at the art of seduction!
The number one thing to always remember, do not ever, for any reason, send someone you have never met in person money. Period!
Having said all the above, online romance scams are still relatively uncommon and if you know the signs you can avoid them altogether.
Online dating can open your horizons and broaden your choices but you have to be smart.
This can still be a safe and fun way of meeting a potential partner if you are careful and make good sound choices.
Note: Read, POF Review- 6 Reason It’s The Best Dating Website For You, in this post, I show you how to take yourself off the dating shopping shelf which will reduce your chances of being spotted by scammers.
Or even try the new Facebook Dating App, their features reduce the risk of scammers getting to you.
The existence of professional con artists should not deter you from finding the love you want.
Scams exist in all walks of life, but they draw more media attention when they occur during attempts to find love.
Online dating scams simply make good magazine articles and television programs but beware, they can happen to you so please be careful!
Be sure to exercise caution and take your time checking people out before getting too involved, and you might eventually find your perfect life partner.
There’s no rush; move slowly, and anyone not interested for all the right reasons will fall by the wayside.
And now that you know what to be aware of, you are ready to embark on your quest for love. Be sure to read other posts here on Date To Luv that will help you in your search.
Have you experienced an online romance scam?
What other signs have you learned that is most likely to be a scammer?
Answers in the comments below.