Dating scams are based on the principle of tricking the confidence and trust of someone with the goal of making a financial gain. The scammers show feigned romantic intentions to a victim in the interest of gaining his or her affection and then use the goodwill offered for committing fraudulent acts. These acts may include the following;
- Extracting money from the victim,
- Getting access to the victim’s credit cards, bank accounts, passports, e-mail accounts or national identification number
- Making the victims to commit financial frauds on behalf of him or her.
The Beginning and the End
Operators of dating scams steal images of attractive people and post profiles on the internet, asking intending persons to contact the profiled persons. The simple and ignorant victim exchanges with the scammer, with a view to establish a romantic relationship. Once the scammer becomes sure to have gained the confidence and trust of the victim, he or she starts extracting money from the victim. The scammer promises for visiting the victim’s place of residence and asks money for the air tickets. The romantic urges make the victim to pay money. However, an end comes to the dating scam, when the victim realizes his or her mistakes.
Feigned Reasons for Extracting Money
The operator of dating scams asks the victim money on various grounds, few of which as below
- For meeting expenses to get a passport to visit the victim’s country
- For meeting expenses for flying to the victim’s country. The reason indicated may be that the scammer is tired with living with step parents, husband or wife. The scammer may also indicate that he or she wants to live permanently with the victim after marrying him or her. The scammer may indicate that he or she needs to pay bribes to the immigration authorities
- That the scammer have gold bars, seized by the customs and money is required for paying taxes and that after releasing the gold bars, he or she may move to the victim’s native to live permanently with the victim
- That the scammer is held up in his country for failing to meet certain pressing debts or hospital expenses
- That money is required to meet urgent medical treatment of his parents and only after the treatment, he or she can move to the victim’s native
- Through an African dating sites, the operator of dating scams promises employment in a foreign country with lucrative remuneration and money is required for paying the registration fees
- In certain cases, the scammer is indirectly or directly employed by a dating website and gets a share from the usage fees paid by the victim.
Under such dating scams, the scammer tells the male victim that she needs to marry in order to get gold worth millions of dollars, left by his father, grandfather or uncle. She is not in a position to transfer the gold from her country because of her inability to pay the customs duty or marriage taxes.
The scammers are experts in playing with “emotional triggers”