If you are looking for love using the online dating and social services, BEWARE! The cybercriminal, posing as your Romeo or Juliet, may in fact be in it for the money.
According the to Federal Trade Commission, scammers, using fake and very convincing profiles, will often use these services to lure those seeking companionship to send them money. This is accomplished by gaining the trust of the online love interest by using the mystique of the internet and getting into the psyche of the person. Let’s face it, when we’re in love, we are gullible and will believe anything.
Typically a warning sign is simply this: If the communication with an online love interest turns toward the subject of “MONEY”, then BEWARE.
What the FTC says to look out for…
- If the online lover wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal e-mail or IM accounts, then BEWARE. The intent here is to manipulate you further in a more private and personal cyber setting.
- In the online lover claims instant feelings of love, then BEWARE.
- If the online lover claims to be from the United States but currently overseas, then BEWARE.
- If the online lover claims to be planning to visit, but is unable to do so because of a tragic event, then BEWARE.
- If the online lover starts asking for money to pay for travel, visas or other travel documents, medication, a child or other relative’s hospital bills, recovery from a temporary financial setback, or expenses while a big business deal comes through, then BEWARE.
These scammers will work it as long as it takes. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for these criminal cyber lovers to have more than one person on the hook at a time. So, BEWARE of that online Romeo or Juliet and in the event the urgency for MONEY crops up, cut the relationship off and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.