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Bonny Albo

Internet Dating Scams

By January 21, 2008

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For the past fifteen years I've used the internet as a means to meet people for friendship or a date, depending on my relationship status at the time. I started with Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), moved to forums and chat rooms, and then eventually online dating sites and social networking applications. Needless to say, I've run across my fair share of scams during that time, but haven't fallen prey to one yet. Knock on wood.

Yet every single day I receive an email from one source or another telling me about someone who has lost thousands of dollars in an internet dating scam. Whether its a press release extolling the virtues of a site that does background checks, a news piece warning the public or someone asking for advice, I get get just as upset each time. Like the 65-year-old woman in Brisbane who was duped out of $60,000 and forced to declare bankruptcy because she was targeted by not one, but two Nigerian internet dating scams. Even a former flame of mine was targeted by a Russian dating agency, who eventually figured out it was an internet dating scam, but not before he shared some very personal information with the "lady", first.

These kinds of stories infuriate me for several reasons:

  • The more that internet dating scams occur and/or are talked about, the more the singles are leery to meet anyone online, much less create a profile at an online dating site;
  • People who are net savvy are being taken in by these scams as well as newbies to online dating, although perhaps not with the same frequency;
  • Many of the people targeted by these internet dating scams don't report them because of fear, shame or guilt.

I'd personally love to stamp out all internet dating scams if I could, but the only way I know how is to inform people of what a scam looks like and what kinds of questions to ask yourself before getting involved with someone online. That's why I've written an article about it (How To Avoid Internet Dating Scams).

For those of you who meet people online, how have you avoided internet dating scams? Or, if you've had the unfortunate circumstance of knowing first hand what an internet dating scam is, what did you do? What were the signs, if any, that it was a scam? And if you've been scammed, please share add your story to this database, so that others can use this information so they don't get scammed, too.

Comments
January 23, 2008 at 4:28 pm
(1) Chris says:

Thank you for posting these important warnings. African scammers seem to target Christian dating sites in particular. Fortunately, by upholding a few basic guidelines you can make your dating experience scam-less. Most important rule? Never ever send money. On our Christian singles site you can read more safety guidelines we drafted.

January 21, 2008 at 10:11 pm
(2) filipina bride says:

thank you so much for the info. its really a help for us who are interested finding someone online..

January 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm
(3) James and Claire says:

Based in the uk, we run a free dating site and get a shocking number of scam profiles created each day which become ever more realistic. Fortunately we’re small enough to check each profile by hand to make sure the person is genuine.

We use google to search for the username used, we trace route the ip address of everyone who joins and just generally have a good read of what they’ve written! We pray for the day that these is an easier way to police this, it’s such a shame people have to try and spoil things.

January 22, 2008 at 7:10 pm
(4) James and Claire says:

For those interested, our website address is singleletsmingle.co.uk

We go a long way to protect our uk members…

January 28, 2008 at 6:12 am
(5) tc says:

this is not neverland, run by peter
pan. most sites are all bunco.
matchmaker sites, out to con a fast
buck off people’s gullibility and
loneliness. if its too good to be
true, it probably is. it would be great if the world was totally benevolent. it has a lotta malevolence.
the world before 1995 was much different. virtually yours, tc.

October 23, 2008 at 8:30 am
(6) willem says:

Hey Chris, I found Funky Fish also very interesting.

October 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm
(7) Christophe says:

Thanks for your imput on Internet Dating Scams. I wish we could just get rid of them for good, but unfortunately, they will always be out there. I’ve just seen to many guys fall victim to these “Russian dating” scams.

Lets educate the public and send these scammers packing!

February 21, 2009 at 12:11 am
(8) Laura says:

My daughter’s father committed suicide because of these scammers. While he obviously had a mental illness, he was so desperate to find love that he sent money not once, but many times, to four different ‘people’. I knew of once he had been scammed but did not think he’d let it happen again. He was that desperate. And this was an intelligent man. This is a man who never paid a credit card late, and a year later has sent about $50,000 to a series of four scammers. How can we stop this?????

March 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm
(9) sharon says:

I have just been a victim of a scam merchant, i followed all the guidelines, got lots of personal photos, spoke to him on the phone, he sounded american, his writing was good, researched what he told me, he sounded so genuine, could find nothing that would give me cause for concern, it was only by chance that going on to a scam website i found the photos with another name going back 2 years ago. I certainly wont be going on another dating site. These people are good at what they do

September 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm
(10) Mike says:

Chris

Please don’t try to further your movement with opinionated claims. I have also been hit with these scammers, and do NOT claim to you brand of “Christian”. These criminals should be prosecuted in the regular courts.

March 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm
(11) catherine says:

Today i was called by a lady who found my number by chance, we got chatting and realised we had been scammed by a man calling himself Ashely jefferson, Email, ashleyjefferson@hotmail.com also ashleyjeff66@gmail.com met him on Uniform dating, will ask you to send money to his FRIEND a Daniel o chucks in Nigeria……please please be warned, the lady i spoke to has sent him thousands of pounds and believe me he is a very good con artist. will say he is a sgt in the 9th marine corps currently serving in Afghanistan and has a son called joshua aged 6 years old and he is divorced!!!! I’m trying to get this information out to as many site as i can, as i did go on them looking for his name, when i didn’t find it i started to believe his lies, so i just want no more women to fall for this guy….if it’s to good to be true, then it’s a con!!!!

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