In most girlfriend scams, the crook will spend plenty of time – Weeks, or even months – Trying to create a legitimate romantic relationship with the victim of their choice through text messaging, emails, phone calls, before they make that big move to ask for your cash. A lot of these scammers aren’t even based in the US – They come from many different parts of the globe, which makes it so much easier to talk to an individual online and pick the right target.

Frauds and girlfriend scams are increasingly common in the world of online dating, and their victims can lose up to a total of one million dollars per year. Several experts have estimated that at least 1 out of 10 online profiles on the average dating site do not come from real people, but a scammer. The numbers can reach a staggering amount in real life, since plenty of them don’t file reports because of embarrassment or trauma.

These girlfriend scams aren’t really a new thing, but the number of scammers and victims just keep on rising every year. From April 2013 up to March 2014, there have been a total of 2,037 cases of online dating scams acquired by UK-based anti-fraud agency Action Fraud, and 651 of them happened during the summer.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, impostor scams always happen in places where a stable Internet connection is available. A lot of these scams occur in Eastern European countries and Russia, as well as in African countries like Ghana and Nigeria. It’s also common in places where there’s a huge number of West African immigrants or expats, such as the UK and Malaysia.

Danger Signs of An Impending Girlfriend Scams

  1. A romance scammer will express their strong, romantic emotions towards their victim within weeks after first meeting them. Eventually, they will ask their victim to take the conversation away from the dating site, into somewhere more private, such as the victim’s email address. These scammers will claim to have come from a westernized country, like the US or Australia, but they are currently travelling or working in another country.
  2. Once they have built enough trust with their victim, the scammer will ask them for cash, gifts, or worse, their banking details or credit card number. They might also ask the victim to send them some pictures, preferably wearing lingerie or any form of intimate clothing.
  3. If the victim is able to find photos of their supposed online date under several names, then it’s highly possible that they’re dealing with a scammer. And if their date’s online profile disappears a couple of days after they have met, then they need to take this as another hint of a possible scam.
  4. An online scammer is only interested in their victims’ cash if they end up professing romantic feelings towards them right away. After they have managed to gain their victims’ trust, these girlfriend scams will fabricate this highly-elaborate lie and ask for their cash, gifts, money, or worse, their credit card details.