Dating scams are on the rise, despite the countless warnings on TV and the internet. It seems the more we read and the more we think we are prepared, the more criminals come up with new ways to find victims, and make the internet a more dangerous place. Even for those who don’t use online dating websites, experts say dating scams can affect anyone on the internet on any social network or online dating website, or any website where people are interacting or emailing.
Victims and professional international investigators report that dating scams are growing increasingly complex. Among the most common are now military scams where criminals portray themselves as members of the U.S. or British military. Major sites like Match.com and Facebook are also seeing a rise in scam cases, despite their active effort to warn users about the risk of meeting people online. Many scammers prefer Facebook because it is free and there are so many potential victims on the network. Often victims don’t expect to be targeted on Facebook, so this also gives criminal a slight advantage when conducting romance scams there.
For those internet savvy users who like to verify companies and people you meet on the internet, the task is getting more and more difficult. Internet criminals now commonly steal or use real identities to conduct their fraud, so when victims try to verify, everything checks out. This works well because of the loss of privacy on the internet. For example, if your profile is on Facebook or any other place on the internet, criminals can search Google to possibly learn about your job, your age, your address (even photos of your home on Google Maps), and so on. Websites that post bio information on employees are great resources for criminals. Using publicly available information on the interet, criminals ensure their victims that they are real, and trustworthy.
Everyone who has a public profile on the internet is susceptible to having their information stolen. The more information you provide or share online, the more pictures of moments you publish, the more of target you become for identity theft, internet crime, romance scams, and more. In many real world crimes such as rape, assault, robbery, etc, criminals first research their target online to learn more about their home, activities, etc. Be sure, dating scams are real crimes.
The fun days of sharing your information and photographs with family and friends… and friend of friends… are long gone. A recent report published by Glamour Magazine alerting women to fall for military scams, claims that ONE out of TEN profiles in social media are falsified.
Investigators insist that if you are starting an internet relationship, you should consider a complete background check investigation to verify the information and subject’s identity.
All the best,
© 2012 S. Birch