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Dating Scams Online – Are You A Victim of Romance?

How mean can someone get? Take advantage of someone’s emotion and vulnerability. There are many dating scams online that make me mad and sad to read or listen to. I want to share this in the hope that the next person who reads this will recognize a scam and get out.

Unexpected Romance

Recently, a friend of mine was scammed through romance. She met her dream man through a dating website. She innocently got involved and was enamored by this new-found man. She has not met the guy yet only chatting through the phone but he somehow wooed her in a way that no one has ever done before. Everything that came out of his mouth was perfect.

She called me and said I am getting married. My jaw dropped. Wow!!! At first, I was excited for her. She found someone a perfect person for her but then I started to ask questions. “Do I know this man?” I asked. “No. Yet we are like soul mates.” She replied. “It is crazy but I have not been with him yet only over the phone.”

She knows the guy for only 3 weeks and only through the phone how can she want to marry him already? She continued to share with me that he lives in a small town in Florida south of Orlando somewhere we are not familiar with. Currently, he is in Canada finalizing a project, getting ready to sell his business, and retiring. He is an engineer and an entrepreneur. He sounded rich. He said that they are soul mates from the first conversation they had together. He is in love with her and commits to her 100%. “I will treat you like a queen.” He said. He sent her 2 dozen red roses.

Is It Too Good To Be True?

rose and macaron

He also said that he is a 6 feet tall Chinese man. He was adopted by a Norwegian couple when he was little, hence the Norwegian accent. He mentioned that his wife died because of brain cancer and that his college daughter was also diagnosed with stage 2 brain cancer. He had his daughter contacted my friend as well. They both claimed that my friend is the perfect person they have been looking for all this time and they are soul mates.

Now, there are two people confirming the soul mate thing. My friend started to believe this man. Her barrier slowly lowered. They were on the phone constantly texting and talking. He even called midnight or 1am. He texted her pictures of himself and a picture of him and his daughter. They seemed harmless. From the pictures, they looked honest and kind. They still have not seen each other or met face to face yet only through photos.

I asked if he is a US citizen since he is from Norway. My friend was not sure. She said he mentioned that he has a home in New York and has a driver’s license. A driver’s license does not mean that he is a US citizen. My head started to fill in with more questions. With the Corona pandemic, how can he be traveling so freely and easily? Why does the daughter look healthy in the photo when she was diagnosed with stage 2 brain cancer? More inconsistency got my attention.

Breaking the Bubble

popping a bubble

I didn’t want to break my friend’s bubble of happiness by bringing all of my questions. I was obsessed. I decided to look up online with the keywords “father and daughter scams”. There were not many results.

What came up most was dating scams. She mentioned that she met him on a dating site. I started to follow those links and found the following articles, news, and YouTube video. Those articles seemed to match my friend’s scenario:

The stories from the victims sounded so familiar to my friend’s. I couldn’t believe it. Now, it was up to me to share the information I found whether it is true or not. It is up to her to control the situation. I went back and forth in my head if I should tell her or not. Part of me was thinking that she is a smart and responsible woman. She would know if it is good or bad. But then how can you tell when you are in love and totally blinded to everything around you. I decided that I would regret it if I do not tell her. She may believe or not believe me. She may hate me for it but I think it is better than her losing money or lost herself in the process. I told her and also sent articles and videos to review.

She told me that she believed me and she did find inconsistencies in his stories. She can’t believe that someone who would put in such an effort and go to the lengthy process to con someone like her. He used and manipulated her emotions to develop trust and control. I know it devastated her and put more bitterness in her mind regarding people in general.

I do believe there are good and bad people. Only a few that are really bad but the bad ones seem to stick in our minds much longer and deeper than all the good ones. Sigh… It will take time to heal.

What Are The Signs? How Do You Know?

It was all a dream

Here are a few things you can do or signs to be aware of if you have been scammed:

  • If you have pictures from the scammer, you can use those pictures to do a search online. Visit https://images.google.com. Click the camera icon, upload your image, and then select it to search. Google will search to see if the photo exists anywhere else in the database. Scammers generally use someone else pictures instead of their own. Check your results to see if the person you are talking to is the same person you found on the internet.
  • Ask if that person is willing to meet with you online using Zoom, Skype, or any available video software that you are familiar with.  If they say “no”, that is a sign. The scammers often use an image of another person who they find online so will find ways not to meet in a video conference.
  • When they ask for money, that is a sign. Do not send or wire money to anyone internationally. If you are not sure, talk to your friends or family members.
  • This is a hard one, share your experiences with a friend or two. Sometimes they can see beyond what you can see. When we are in love or emotionally invested in someone, it is hard to see beyond. We only want to see what we want to see. Do not let your pride be in the way.
  • Listen and be aware of the inconsistencies in the stories and ask questions
  • Another possible sign is that scammers often travel internationally and they are usually wealthy.

Here are 6 red flags for online dating scams posted by CBS News ==> https://www.cbsnews.com/news/6-red-flags-of-a-romance-scam/

Conclusion

teddy bear on train track

In general, when you are in a relationship and in love, you are on cloud 9. I know how that feels. Sometimes it feels wrong but you would talk yourself out of it. You will find excuses or reasons to justify your actions. Your logic sometimes goes out the window. You want so bad to make it work no matter what it takes.

The scammers know. They are very clever and manipulative. They understand the psychology and take advantage of that vulnerable moment. Scammers are excellent listeners. They hone into what you like through your conversations. They also find all your personal information through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. It is important, try to keep personal information at a minimum on social media.

If you are a victim of a scam, you are not alone. You can find support. Here are a few online support programs:

Keep busy to help distract yourself. Perhaps look into making money online. Here are a few avenues to make money online:

In my opinion, being an affiliate marketer yields the most money depending on how dedicated you are in making money. Please keep moving forward.

Have you ever been scammed before? I love to hear from you. Feel free to leave me your thoughts below.

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