It is well known by law enforcement and even many internet users that countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Russia, Ukraine and the Philippines are risky countries for online dating. Some people receive requests from dating prospects from these places and basically ignore them. Some others give them benefit of the doubt. Although the location is really a first red flag, though, scammers tend to target people from any countries these days. With IP address hiding software and proxy servers, a criminal from West Africa or the Philippines may claim and appear to be from the U.S.
Online dating would be simpler if dating sites like Match.com, Cupid.com or e-Harmony, and Facebook would screen their users, but, that is not their business. There is just no way such sites can properly vet all their users. It isn’t their business and it is outside their area of expertise. Besides, it would mean significant charges for subscribers who might not be willing to pay.
Not all people joining dating websites are criminals of course, but unfortunately, romance scammers are a growing threat and have infiltrate most dating and social networking sites. They can have large numbers of fake accounts in these sites and they are targeting you. They want your information to be used against you for identity theft, extortion or a romance scam. Romance scammers are not always individuals. In some cases, they are criminal groups.
Dating sites say it is virtually impossible to screen all their users, because of the amount of subscriptions they get. Skeptics argue they should find a way to protect their subscribers. Users on the other hand, should be more aware and less naïve. It seems that when the love bug bites, people ignore the risk and throw caution to the wind. A happy ending is not always the outcome, as scam victims can face serious repercussions, such as financial loss and heartache.
Romance scammers approach their victims knowing they are vulnerable and open to meet anyone and take advantage of the anonymity that the internet provides. Law enforcement and privacy experts say be careful what you share online, and consider a comprehensive dating background check by a reputable private investigation company to be safe and verify your partner.
Love does not fall from trees, much less over the internet. Users should be skeptical until proving that special someone is who they claim to be. If you want to be safe, join online dating and social networking sites knowing the risk and protect your private data. Know that sharing on the internet is now always the smart thing to do. Be safe consult a professional for advice.
All the best,
S. Birch© 2012 S. Birch