Do you think you are being scammed on a dating site? These issues have always been around since the beginning of the internet, but we have noticed recently that they are becoming more prevalent. Scammers have learnt that there can be big money in preying on lonely people, and hacking away at their vulnerabilities. As private investigators we are well versed in these scams having investigated many over the years.
One of the most common methods of getting started on this scam is for the scammer to join a dating site with an attractive photo and heart-felt profile blurb, knowing that there are single lonely people to take advantage of. Typically they will contact a massive number of potential victims as soon as they join the site, then along with that initial contact give out an email address (always against the rules of the dating site) then within hours have the profile removed. This is long enough to contact hundreds of people and leave an email address.
Vulnerable victims will then contact the scammer directly by email outside of the dating site. These guys are very well practised, and spend a lot of time on the initial setup. They target both men and women but let’s use the example of a vulnerable female for the sake of this article.
The female target now has the email address for what she things is a potential suitor. If she makes contact with the scammer then half the work is done already. Almost always the scammer plays the part of a well-educated engineer (or other professional) who admits to not having many friends, typically works or has recently worked on overseas construction projects, and has a child from a previous marriage. Often the scammer has had a family drama like the death of a parent or spouse as part of their initial setup. They will rarely be a resident of the country you live in.
Then there is the two key things that grab a victim. The first is that the scammer ALWAYS has lovely things to say, almost poetic things. They gush about how beautiful the victim is, and how cleverly they write and how funny they are. The second part of the trap is that the photograph of the suitor is a handsome or attractive man with a nice smile. This is all that they need to reel in a victim.
Initial contact is via email, and then in most cases the victim will want to talk to her potential suitor. These scammers are more than happy to oblige. They will call you from a telephone number in your country. The conversation will be lovely and all about you, telling you how lovely your voice sounds, and quoting poetry at you. They will limit the conversation though as they will have some pressing business to attend to or have limited telephone service on the work-site they are on. The voice of the scammer is always of a ‘worldly’ accent. Not English, or Australian or anything in particular – easily explained by all of the countries the suitor has lived in and the well-traveled lifestyle they have lead.
So now you think you have a real person who is interested in a relationship with you. The trap is set.
The speed of which the scam accelerates is really up to the victim. These scammers have all sorts of scenarios they work by and can easily adjust their script to suit most circumstances. The reason for needing money varies but invariable relates to someone being sick, or the suitor in some sort of legal trouble in a corrupt country, and they need your financial assistance to help pay off bribes to police. Often the first amount requested is not high so you don’t really have much to lose……
Eventually you will want to meet them, but it will never happen. You will be told that they are on the way, and you may even go and buy a new pair of shoes and a new top – but you won’t need them. There will be some sort of drama fall upon them and they won’t be able to make it to the arranged meeting. Never.
Most of our clients accept what we have found. On a few occasions we have had clients that were so shocked that they had been scammed, that they wanted to investigate further and try to identify the actual person they had been talking to all this time (one client had an 18 month relationship with a man she had never met – just a photo, emails, and conversations). On more than one occasion we were able to trace the scammers to a city in Nigeria – that’s right, the Nigerian scams are real indeed! You aren’t dealing with a single individual – you are up against an organised team who carry out this deceit all day every day.
If you think you need a licensed private investigator to assist with a dating scam you may have gotten yourself involved in, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.