This is a contributed post.
Every year, thousands, if not millions of people log onto dating websites in the hope of finding love. For some, it’s a dream come true and leads to genuine relationships that stand the test of time. But for a growing minority, the relationships don't just end up breaking their hearts, they also destroy their finances too.
Romance scams are becoming more and more common as criminals realize that a great way to extract money from somebody is to first become their romantic partner.
It sounds pretty far-fetched: after all, why go to the effort of being in a relationship with someone, just to get their money? But according to the latest data on the subject is surprisingly common. Recent figures suggest that there are around 600 dating scams through online dating sites every quarter and that number is growing. What’s more, the average cost of a dating scam is running at more than $12,800, or about a year’s worth of disposable income for most working people.
Money is usually extracted through what seem on the surface to be legitimate reasons. A romantic partner might ask for things like travel expenses or say things like “I’ve lost my plane ticket. Would you mind covering the cost?” They might also say things like a family member is ill and they need money for treatment urgently. All of these examples are designed to get you to part with your money quickly without thinking. But you need to be wary, especially if you have just met somebody online.
According to Which magazine, more than one in four adults use a dating website at some point in their life, meaning that a vast swathe of the population is potentially at risk. But what can regular daters do to fight back?
The first thing to do is to make sure that you are properly educated on all the different kinds of scams out there. One of the most popular kinds of scams occurs when a person says that they can’t take off any more time from their employer to come and see you without purchasing additional annual leave. The scammer then asks the victim to pay, which can be as much as $300 a day. The victim then sends the money, and the scammer pockets all of it and never makes the trip to see them.
There are other scams too. One scam is when the fraudster tells the victim that they have some physical asset, be it gold, silver or something else valuable that is being held by customs officials. They inform the victim that they need to pay a release fee to customs officials for the items to be released before both the victim and the perpetrators can benefit, according to telegraph.co.uk.
The other way that daters can hit back is by using sites like WarrantCheckOnline.com. These sites check whether the person you want to date is who they say they are.
When dating online, it’s always best to remain vigilant and never part with any money before you know whether a person is genuine or not. Do not send international payments, even if the person seems genuine.