June 15, 2013

Romance scams and dating scams on the internet seem to be taking over, and the Ukraine is a country with high risk.  In fact, most law enforcement and private investigators agree that the Ukraine is among the highest risk countries in the world for online relationships, even worse than Russia by most standards.  After all, there is big money to be made and criminals are looking to cash in on the profits.  Ukraine private investigators offer some useful information to lower your risk online, and also some easy steps you can take to avoid online dating scams.

According to international investigators based in Kiev, the first thing you should consider is that in internet relationships of any kind are risks that are hard to avoid.  You do not know the person in the real world, and it can be very difficult to determine and verify who is the real person behind the online profile.  Romance scammers around the world can be run by men or women, or even men posing as women.  In the case of Ukraine and Russia, they may be real people and beautiful women, but their intentions may be your pocket book, not moving to be with you.

Once scammers have got your attention, the next step is to gain your trust.  It doesn't take much to get your attention with good looks and great photos.  The rest is where the experienced con artists come in.  They target vulnerable people looking for love, and they know most people looking for love over the internet are people who are hoping for a change.  Ukraine scammers take their time building trust and convincing their victim that they are real and caring.  Once the trust is established, the criminal will move in to steal your money, your identity or even blackmail you.

International background check firms stress the importance of verifying first, rather than later when it is too late.  Use the following checklist to stay safe online when meeting people on social networks and online dating sites, and remember that no site is 100% safe or scam proof.

1) Never share too much information online or with someone you've never met
2) Keep personal data such as date of birth, employer, address, bank accounts private.
3) If something seems too good to be true, remember that is probably is!
4) If you think you have someone real, consult a professional for a background check.
5) Never send money to anyone you've never met or verified by a professional.

Romance scams cost the U.S. over $55M in 2012. Somehow we have to help people from being the next victim. If you know someone involved in online dating, inform them of the risk.

All the best,

S. Birch
© 2013 S. Birch

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