They're perfect. In fact, they're someone you could see yourself spending the rest of your life with. A decent person with a good job or business in search of a good, honest partner to settle down with.
You or someone you know may be dating this person online right now. However, be warned. Things aren't what they appear to be. In reality, you're talking to a criminal sitting in a cyber cafe or on their bed with a well rehearsed script they’ve used many times before. They’re hunting through chat rooms, dating sites and social networking sites searching for victims, looking to cash in on romance. If you are over 40, recently divorced, a widow, elderly or disabled then all the better in his eye, and I fit that profile perfectly. Scammers are adept at psychological profiling and use any weakness they find to their advantage.
It's the newest evolution of the Nigerian advance fee (419) scam. Instead of sending spam letters that promise millions for your assistance, these scammers are targeting single men and women who are searching for love online.
They use psychological tricks to lure their victims in, use poetry and even gifts to get them under their spell, then once you are there, will try to reach for your wallet, all the time declaring their "undying love" for you. The scam may take the form of asking you to cash a check for them through your bank account because they are "out of the country" and unable to cash it themselves, or they may come right out and ask you to send money to help them out of a fabricated "financial difficulty" they claim to be experiencing. These are all lies used to try to make them easy money from an unsuspecting victim.
The sad truth is, for every real profile you see on the internet, there are numerous false ones pretending to be your perfect mate and using photographs stolen from modeling or social networking sites. The people in the photographs are as much victims as the people who get scammed for hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars. I was one of them. Internet romance scams and other related crimes are very real, and they are affecting -- even ruining -- lives throughout the world.
The best weapon against this crime is education. The more people that are educated in the ways the scams work, the harder it is for the scammers to make money and the more scammers that can be put out of business.
Let this series of conversations be part of your lesson …