Relationships can bring joy and love, but online dating and sweetheart scams can cause problems for romance seekers. Sweetheart scammers are con artists who prey on lonely people by pretending to fall in love with them in order to win their trust and steal their money.
While sweetheart scams can happen face-to-face, they often take place online. Scammers frequently create fake identities on dating websites and social media like Match, SeniorPeopleMeet, ChristianMingle, and Facebook. Some scammers create phony dating websites to get your credit card and other private information.
Online dating has helped many people find relationships, but not all online dating websites and users are legitimate. Dating websites come in various costs and approaches. Remember that dating services are businesses deed to make money, not matches.
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Experts discount claims that dating sites are scientifically proven to help you find the right partner. Some online dating sites are working to become safer by running criminal background checks on prospective members, but precautions remain necessary. Although many victims of online dating and sweetheart scams are hesitant to come forward, we strongly encourage people to report these scams.
s of a sweetheart scam: The recent death of a spouse or some other tragic event can attract sweetheart scammers.
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The scammer will often claim to be a U. The scammer will ask to move the conversation to or text message instead of communicating via the dating or social networking site. The scammer may wait months before asking for money.
The con artist convinces the victim that they are in a deep and committed relationship during a painstaking grooming period that can last many months. Sweetheart scammers often use one of these reasons for needing your money: Airline tickets or travel documents to come to the United States Bribes that must be paid before they can leave the country Communication costs like a phone bill or Internet access School tuition, so they can graduate and come to the U.
S, continue the relationship in person, and get married.
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Victims of sweetheart scams feel that they are in a committed relationship and want to believe that the scammer is telling the truth. But if they send money, more excuses and requests for money will inevitably follow.
Victims may experience profound grief at the loss of the relationship once they accept that it was a scam. The lost money, often thousands of dollars, adds insult to injury. The victim may also feel too embarrassed to tell anyone what has happened.
Victims may become targets for another wave of scams.
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The sweetheart may confess to planning the scam but then claim to have actually fallen in love with the victim during the process. The scammer then asks for money to help escape a bind so they can finally be together.
Other variations of the sweetheart scam: The scammer sends the victim money orders to cash and wire the money back, but the money orders are later found to be counterfeit, making the victim responsible for the lost funds. Sweetheart scammers sometimes ask their victims to make online purchases for them or to forward a package to another country.
The victims then serve as mules to complete illegal schemes. Online Dating Online dating has helped many people find relationships, but not all online dating websites and users are legitimate. To avoid online dating scams: Take your time.
Select your online dating service carefully, and ask for recommendations from trusted friends. Do your research.
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Learn how your online dating site operates. Remember that your dating site should have a physical address, phoneand address. Get a copy of your contract, and know the terms.
Read the fine print to avoid unexpected charges, and know how to unsubscribe from the dating site. Under North Carolina lawyou can cancel your contract within three days of ing it if you notify the company in writing. Protect your profile.
Make sure the dating site you choose promises not to sell your data to third parties or advertisers. Know what happens to your profile when you stop using the service.
Share your information carefully. Avoid sharing personal information—especially your address or s—with anyone online.
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Keep your guard up. Avoid anyone who says they can only communicate with you online; asks you to outside of an online dating site; or claims that they are wealthy, foreign citizens. We Can Help Although many victims of online dating and sweetheart scams are hesitant to come forward, we strongly encourage people to report these scams.