Friday, February 24, 2012

Lookin' For Love in All the Wrong Places

William Shakespeare once wrote, “Love and reason keep little company together” and that is what this article is about. Do you use online dating sites to find your soulmate?  Well, as they say, every rose as a thorn so pay attention before you get stuck.

The US Embassy in Russia received quite a few complaints concerning ongoing scams of lonely hearts. This is a quote directly from their website, “The U.S. Embassy receives reports almost every day of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by Internet correspondents professing love and romantic interest. Typically, the Russian correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or "visa costs." The anonymity of the Internet means that the U.S. citizen cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the correspondent. The U.S. Embassy has received many reports of citizens losing thousands of dollars through such scams. American citizens are advised never to send money to anyone they have not met in person.”

The way the scam works is a lonely guy will get hit upon by some gorgeous hottie. Unbeknownst to the lonely guy, the hottie is carrying on a relationship with many other people and probably isn’t gorgeous at all. And probably isn’t even a female. The scammers often merely copy and paste responses from a outline or script designed for maximum effect.

They are experts at getting you to fall in love with them because they know that love and reason simply don’t mix. Once they set the hook into your heart they start to reel you in. That’s where it gets really interesting. Signs of a dating scam include poor English skills and breathtakingly beautiful profile photos. The modus operandi is always the same: You will be asked for money one way or another.  They will often ask the victim to cash someone's check or money order for them. The scammer will even tell the victim to keep a portion of the proceeds as a sign of their affection. If you are lovesick enough to cash the check for them it would inevitably be found to be fraudulent and your bank would politely demand reimbursement.

Unless the victim is willing to risk life and limb to travel to Russia or Nigera to reclaim the money from the thugs, they are simply out of luck. Because of the embarrassment of this kind of crime, they generally go unreported.

The story varies somewhat with each Internet dating scam, but the intention remains the same: robbing the victim of their hard earned cash. If somebody asks you to wire them cash online - no matter what the reason, no matter how plausible or sad it sounds - don't.

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