When love becomes a nightmare: online dating scams
The growth of online dating has led to an explosion of catfishing and the combination of lust, infatuation or love means that innocent people can get manipulated or exploited. These relationships can go on for years and often end in tragic emotional or financial consequences for the victims.
Catfishers can be driven by anything from loneliness to obsession or revenge. They can be motivated by the desire to live vicariously through a fake persona, to extort money from a victim, to make mischief or any of other intentions.
Tips for avoiding online dating scams
Other sinister cases can involve sexual predators or stalkers who use this online anonymity to get close to their victims. There are several truly bizarre examples out there, like the girl who was catfished twice by another girl who posed as two different men.
Your date looks like a supermodel Online dating scams usually start with an attractive person initiating contact through social media or dating sites. A common theme is that catfishers use picture of models, actors or a member of the beautiful people club. Most catfish scams will use an attractive profile picture to keep the victim hooked and to make them want the fictional person to be real.
Self-confidence is one thing but alarm bells should go off if a model suddenly contacts you to ask for a date. However, imposters often claim to have shared interests to ensure that they have a topic of conversation.
They can either pick a personality type that they think will appeal to their mark or choose to mirror the person they are trying to ensnare. Maybe your new online date does is just as obsessed as you are with snooker, s manga, French poetry and freestyle climbing.
The average Facebook user has friends so people who only have a handful of friends may be fake. If they never post pictures of themselves in social situations or with friends, it can also be a bit fishy.
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Real people tend to be tagged in group photos or pictured at social occasions, with comments from friends. If all of their pictures are modelling shots with no engagement from friends, there could be a problem.
They come on strong If someone starts declaring their undying love for you after a couple of weeks, it could be a that they may be trying to catfish you. They may also try and get you off a dating site and into the realm of texts, instant messages or as soon as possible.
A common trend in catfishing is for the imposter to rush things and try to get very serious very quickly. Texts, messages or even phone calls are all very well but a video conversation seems to be a pretty simple thing to arrange.
'are you real?' — inside an online dating scam
People who are scammed generally report that the other person made constant excuses to avoid going on camera. However, fraudsters will naturally try and cultivate long distance relationships because it means they have an excuse not to meet with their target.
Catfishers often claim to be a soldier who has been posted overseas, someone whose work sees them travel a lot or any other of professions that make it difficult to meet in person. Another typical example is for a fraudster to arrange to meet up with their target on several occasions and then to cancel at the last moment. The ask for money.
Some cases of catfishing involve people leading a victim on for personal reasons, with no attempt to extort money from them. While this can still be a devastating experience, being manipulated by a stranger can only be exasperated when they also take money from you.
Online dating can be an obvious target for fraud, with criminals exploiting the combination of emotion, trust and wishful thinking in the worst possible way. Common ruses involve asking for money to visit the target of the scam, giving victims a tale of woe about a medical emergency or serious illness, or some other convoluted financial difficulties that require a sudden injection of cash.
Their life sounds like a soap opera A common theme that reoccurs with catfishing cases is for imposters to create fantastical stories that involve illness, family tragedies or major accidents that conveniently help to postpone a face-to-face meeting.
While online dating is a perfectly legitimate way to meet people, make sure the object of your affection checks out! Will blaring music really damage your ears? Internet Security Centre. Free Trials.
Online Scams. Security Center Online Scams Tell-tale s your online date may be an online fraud.
The ask for money Some cases of catfishing involve people leading a victim on for personal reasons, with no attempt to extort money from them. Follow us for all the latest news, tips and updates.