The world evolves so fast and so do online scams and romance scams. Criminals have developed more complex ways to trap victims through Facebook, Match.com, e-Harmony, Blossoms.com and others. Despite increased media coverage and government efforts, romance scams and internet fraud remains high, and the Philippines is a high risk country.
A con artist spends time gaining their victims' trust. The goal of course is to steal your money or even your identity. Fakes profiles, false websites, pre- recorded videos and even stolen identities can be used to convince victims that the person is real. Skype numbers with area code numbers from the U.S. or U.K. are also often used to convince clients the scammer is honest. Scams have become so elaborate that even the most skeptical people can be fooled. Philippines PI and private detective services are increasingly in demand to mitigate risk for global clients.
These days when virtual life online can be a virtual lie, romance scammers in the Philippines are something more than just a poor girl trying to make a living. Experienced criminals are now running the scams as well, as there is big money to be made. Sad but true. The Philippines is a very poor country in which most people do not have access to full education and career development. Of course there are honest people online in the Philippines who are seeking real relationships and who don't care about money. Unfortunately, these are the minority of the cases.
Don't be a victim of romance scam. Verify the person of your interest first. Keeping your fingers crossed and hoping for the best can be a costly mistake. In countries like the Philippines, meeting someone in person is your safest bet, and even then there is a good amount of risk of scam and infidelity. Be skeptical and watch out for red flags such as money request, emergencies, situations that are too good to be true, and so on. Don't send money to someone you've never met, and contact a reliable private investigation firm to minimize your risk with new contacts.
Romance scams are a serious crime, and the number of victims worldwide is rising, not falling. Victims can be left in utter ruin, financially and emotionally. Some scammers may never even ask for money, but instead steal your identity, blackmail you, or install a virus on your computer to steal your passwords to access your accounts. Conduct a Philippines investigation and be safe.
All the best,
© 2012 S. Birch