Online dating scams, also described variably as online romance scams, girlfriend scams, etc, have become increasingly common. People looking to have fun and entertainment by way of online dating are taken for a ride and are made to lose financially and emotionally. To report a scammer across various platforms will improve the chances of creating awareness of these types of scams, though little can be done to restore a reputation that is damaged. To report a scammer, the following advice can be used:
#1 Do a little research to report a scammer
Getting as much information as possible about the scammer will yield positive results. Though the victim reports a scammer to cyber cells and law enforcers, conducting a little research individually on the scammers is worthwhile. In most cases, surfing through online reporting web sites might give information on notorious scammers who strike repeatedly. It is also useful if specific research is done on the dating scam as regards to:
- Any details in the conversation records that could disclose location of the scammer
- IP address of the computers from which mails or chats were sent
- Probing on the phone numbers and addresses used to complete the scam
- Searching online scam lists which display a lot of information on seasoned scammers, including their photographs
#2 Contact payment gateways for cancellation of money wired
If the confidence trick of the con artist comes to light immediately after wiring money, the victim can attempt to:
- Report a scammer to the payment gateway used, and try to stop the transfer before it is credited to the beneficiary
- Report to the fraud protection department of payment gateways like Western Union or MoneyGram, if the scam has already occurred, in order to report a scammer
- Extract full details of the wire made, in order to proceed with criminal investigation.
#3 File formal complaint with Police
As in the case of other internet scams, the victims need to report a scammer to the Police. By providing all essential details, a complaint is filed and a Police report is issued. Other legal bodies that are specialized in handling internet crimes should be approached.
#4 Spread news about the scammer on all social groups
Social media groups and anti-scam groups come to the rescue of victims. To report a scammer on these groups will make sense because there is a network of victims who come online to share their experiences.
- Sites like Scamwatch, Big Scammers, Internet Victim Resource center and Stop Scammers are some online resources which provide information on existing scammers and their patterns of operation
- As a cautionary step, victims who report a scammer, must stop all contacts with the scammer. Their calls, emails, chats and must be stopped and blacklisted. It is also prudent to take printouts and prepare a hard copy of all vital exchanges of information relating to the dating scam.
- Besides efforts to report a scammer under dating frauds, the victim must take all measures to protect himself from incidents of identity theft as well.