Year after year the number of men and women victimized with romance scams rises despite all the information in the media and on the internet regarding the risk. The U.S., Australia, the U.K. and Canada seem to be permanent targets of these scams, as Filipino crooks go after English speaking victims in the developed world, who have money and the possibility to be duped.
Reputable Philippines investigators continue to be overwhelmed with requests to verify and investigate Filipina chat mates, friends, potential business partners, and more. Now that people are aware of the risk, more are turning to professional private investigators to verify relationships, romantic relationships, and individuals and businesses found online. Background checks, local investigation and surveillance services allow clients to verify their new contact, screen the case for fraud, and then make an informed decision whether or not to proceed.
High levels of corruption and very ineffective law enforcement in the Philippines has allowed the crime to balloon out of control, and it is free for fall across most of the country. In most cyber cafes in any town or city, you can find scammers communicating with their victims. Often a scammer will have two or three victims sending money at the same time, and some even have multiple men visit and meet the family in any given year. Their target is your money.
It is true that some stories have a happy ending, and Western men can find true love in Southeast Asia, but sadly the percentage of men being conned is very high. The Philippines, like West Africa, is a poor region and scammers have found in fraud a way to make a living, and support their families. In some cases, they have no problem ruining the family or life of one person in a developed country, because they believe they have no other choice, or that the victim has enough money that it simply doesn’t matter. The fact is, romance scams are serious crime and can ruin a victim emotionally and financially, and scammers are among the worst of criminals. Poverty or no poverty, there is no excuse for their actions, and criminals should be prosecuted.
Philippines detectives warn internet users to be highly skeptical of any new contact in the Philippines. Never send money to anyone you have never met in person, period. Due to the high risk, law enforcement and investigators say a background check is strongly advised. If you are serious about a relationship and are considering marriage, don’t be a fool. Consider a more in depth investigation and even surveillance before marriage or sending money abroad.
In many cases, the hardest part of all this is that foreigner provides his so-called fiancés support and don’t learn the truth until it is too late and thousands of dollars have been lost.
All the best,
© 2012 S. Birch