How To Avoid Getting Scammed While Internet Dating

online dating Nov 21, 2023
 

Wham, scam, thank you man!

Let me just say one thing before we get into the nitty-gritty of online internet scamming.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, GIVE ANYBODY YOU MET ON A DATING SITE ANY MONEY, EVER!

That way, you will never lose any money. It really is that simple.

Well, you’d think so, wouldn’t you?

Let me go back. Way back. I used to have an AOL account, which produced the USP of having a lot of chat facilities. This was way before internet dating took a hold, but you could undoubtedly interact with strangers with consummate ease on AOL.

During one such interaction with someone I was chatting to in a chat room, someone messaged me directly. I can’t remember the name now, it was such a long time ago. But usually, on AOL in those days, your chat name was also your email address. So mine was something like [email protected] – apologies to anyone who may now have that name.

But I started getting emails, supposedly from a lady in Russia, not Moscow, but from outside Moscow, who sent three very tasteful photos of herself and sent me long emails telling me about herself and her life in Russia and describing in great detail how she worked as a second grade teacher.

She was 27 and said that she could not find love in Russia and she was looking for a nice man from Europe or the USA.

I began to notice that the emails looked a little too ‘copy and paste’ for my liking. They sounded like rehearsed sales pitches, not over pushy, but definitely sales pitches.

Pretty soon, the emails got into the business of saying how she had begun to develop feelings for me based on my wonderful emails and my pictures.
I was definitely suspicious from a very early stage, even though, at that point, there had been no well-known TV documentaries about love scammers.
Earlier in the book, I talked about being a psychological voyeur. I will go along with situations just to see what it reveals to me. I was highly interested to see what this scam was going to be.

So it got to the point where, oh, let’s call her Iryna, had showed a direct and strong interest in coming to the UK to visit the man she had amazingly fallen in love with.

That was me, by the way.

She was going to get a return ticket and come over to see me. Was it OK if she stayed at my place?
So, I knew that this would turn out one of two ways. Either a beautiful Russian teacher was going to be coming to visit for two weeks, OR I was going to discover what the scam actually was.
I was happy with either result, to be fair, so I sat back, stroked the cat on my lap, and said to myself; And now we wait...

It got to the day before my Russian teacher friend was supposed to be flying over to the UK. She was getting the bus to Moscow and would get a flight in the morning.

OK, so here it comes.

She was at the airport in Moscow – oh no, her tickets were not valid! There had been a problem of some sort, and she could not afford to buy tickets. Please, oh please, if you really want to see me, could you send money for new tickets.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, GIVE ANYBODY YOU MET ON A DATING SITE ANY MONEY, EVER!

I could do this on Western Union, sending money abroad easily. I’d never even heard of Western Union. I decided to play the scam just a little further. I suggested that the best way to buy the tickets would be for me actually to buy them from the UK in her name.

I don’t recall the excuse, but clearly, that was never going to be good enough.

Who knows who it actually was, but you see the seeds of dating app scamming here?

Appeal to a man’s desire for a beautiful woman from an exotic-sounding place and build up the illusion of a relationship. Always have good excuses for why you can’t talk or video and then make sure you have the money shot, whatever that might be, which plays on their emotions, their desperate hope that maybe, just maybe this whole thing might be real.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, GIVE ANYBODY YOU MET ON A DATING SITE ANY MONEY, EVER!

For me, therefore, since that day, scammers have never been a problem. If I smell a scam, I either wait to see what it is or delete and report immediately.
I have to say, there are some scams which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It’s obvious that at some point, scammers have been employing dodgy psychologists to tell them which buttons to press, to make the victim press the button for them.

The modern equivalent of the scam described above can be found very easily across almost every dating platform. You might get a message or request of some sort from an attractive person. You think, Mmm, a Rightswiper. But they only ever have one photo. Their profile is minimalistic, to say the least, and they always ask you for your email immediately. Then you are like the fly in the spider’s web. You can get out, sure, but the best thing is never to get in there in the first place. Report the person immediately and say you think they are a scammer. If they’re genuine, the site will realize that.
These days, it should, in theory, be easier to spot a scammer, because of the ready availability of instant video apps.

If you are dubious about someone asking for your email address, then ask to have a video chat first. The scammer probably isn’t even the same sex that they are saying they are.

And some will even try to get round this. A man I interviewed said he tried that tactic, and the scammer did indeed show their video. But he said it seemed to be just a loop, and there was no audio. The ‘lady’ apologised and explained that in her poor country, Wifi was not very good and it could not produce audio and video at the same time.

He realised that basically he was just being shown a video of a female at a computer on a loop for about 4 seconds, with no sound.

Wham, scam, thank you man!

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, GIVE ANYBODY YOU MET ON A DATING SITE ANY MONEY, EVER!

You need to remember something else; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
This is useful to remember in all aspects of life. I remember once attending an international conference of smoking cessation therapists, and my buddy and I decided to play 9 holes of extremely bad golf.
There was another guy there from Canada who asked if he could tag along.

He very casually introduced the idea of business and was gushing about some opportunity he had just come across which was going to make him $40,000 in two years, and all he had to put up was $40,000.
We listened to him out of politeness, but after the sales pitch, my buddy and I just looked at each other and said: if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

Sometimes you need to take a reality check with dating sites. If a marvelously beautiful younger woman is coming on to you saying she likes older men and is virtually in love with you already, it’s clearly nonsense.

But the scams are getting ever more sophisticated.
A man called Peter told me of a scam he had very nearly fallen for, and the next day discovered that someone he knew actually had fallen for it.

He’d been chatting to a lovely-looking lady who seemed to be of Japanese descent. According to the geo-locator of the dating app, she appeared to be only 50km away (31 miles).

However, ‘she’ explained that she was going back to New York soon after visiting her mother.

After some chat, they swapped numbers and took it on to Whatsapp. The lady claimed to be a cake maker and showed him some pictures of some delicious cakes. She offered to make some for his daughter’s birthday, which was coming up.

She didn’t want to talk on the phone because she was shy but did send a couple of audio messages saying ‘Hi’. They could have come from anywhere.
She sent him photos and a video of her playing a golf shot.

She said she was going shopping in Manhattan and sent him some pictures of her bags of expensive brands and some perfume which must have cost about $500.

Peter obviously was now wondering how a lady who made cakes could afford such items. She must have been making a lot of extremely expensive cakes.
He brought this up in a humorous way and slowly she began to tell him of another source of income she had, an online store!

Tell me more!

It seemed to be some kind of generic store where you could buy practically anything. As an investor, you sent in an amount of money, maybe $10,000 and the stock worth this amount would be assigned to you. You chose the products you wanted to sell, and the store would be automatically set up for you, and you sold for a large profit.

Of course, this sensible man wanted to know more, and the lady showed him reports of her day’s trading, and it seemed that she was making amazing amounts of money. He wanted to know more. She explained that he could have an online store also, it was absolutely free to set one up.

Absolutely free? Why, that sounds amazing.

Do it soon, though, was the advice, because in two weeks they were going to charge $20,000 just to sign up.

Peter knew there was a scam somewhere, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was.
He pushed the lady a few more times, insisting she showed him bank accounts live on a Facetime and when he mentioned the word ‘scammer’ she was off.

He’d put 2 and 2 together and made 4.

The clever, subtle approach. The initial signals of innocent, humble normality. Then the subtle upgrades to an aspirational lifestyle until...the money shot!

A friend of his was not so lucky.

Peter discovered that the same scam had pulled in an old buddy, but he had been caught.

He signed up with the online store, which he checked out on a search engine and it all seemed OK (later discovering that the name of the store was very similar to a real one) and he went all in with $500.

The trade report came through, and he’d sold about $350 worth of sports gear.

This is great!

He put in another $1,000, and the sales kept beeping through.

$5,000, $10,000, $50,000.

He couldn’t get enough.

Finally, when he reached an account balance of $250,000 thanks to all his amazing sales, BOOM, he wanted to take some money out to buy a nice present for his daughter. She would be delighted, and he couldn’t wait to tell her about the amazing profits he was making.

Unfortunately, the reality was so much different.

There was no response from the site, no bank transfer back, no stock, his money had been stolen.
In all, he had lost in excess of $100,000 of his life savings.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, GIVE ANYBODY YOU MET ON A DATING SITE ANY MONEY, EVER!

It had seemed OK, he wasn’t actually giving money to a woman he’d met on a dating website. No, indeed, it was probably a man in some far-flung country.

It’s not for us to criticize victims of scams. But we should learn from their mistakes.

Scammers will tug at your emotions – they will tell you their baby is sick and they have no money to take them to hospital. With the greatest of respect to people in that situation, the last thing they will do is try to find a partner on a dating app.

One final word.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, GIVE ANYBODY YOU MET ON A DATING SITE ANY MONEY, EVER!

Are You Ready?

So many people get worn out by the nonsense of internet dating, complaining that "all the men on dating sites are only after one thing" or "women don't give nice guys a chance." Unbeknownst to them, their approach is unwittingly crafting the outcomes they so vehemently despise. RightSwiper teaches you to change that for good. 

Become A RightSwiper VIP