Avoid Love Scam Like a Guru

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So you met someone via a dating site or a social network. Maybe it was a chat room or a video game. You have exchanged pictures and talked on the phone, became close and started to think you were meant to be together. But they live in another country and cannot travel to you because of expenses. Maybe they just need money for medical purposes or to escape a cruel family. This is how the scam begins.

What is really happening?

The truth is, there’s a good chance that your newly found lover is simply another scam artist pulling on your emotional strings. Not only will there not be a happy ending or hugs at the airport, you are likely going to lose money and, in some cases, faith in mankind.

Social networks have increased the number of scammers and the ways they can prey on victims. There are those that focus on lonely people, that can easily be manipulated into believing love and friendship is real, only to take their money.

39-year-old service representative, Cindy Dawson, fell in love with a man, supposedly from Nigeria, named Simon Peters. They met on a dating site. She stated “we began talking over the phone, and he said his father was living in Bolingbrook, Illinois. That wasn’t very far away.”

They exchanged photos, including pictures of her children, and talked on the phone. “I remember him saying how much he cared for me. I had fallen in love with him,” she says holding back tears.

love scam illustrated

Image credit: Luci Gutierrez

It will get worse

Before long, Peters began requesting money, starting with smaller amounts to get food. He would request Western Union transfers each time to the name of “Adelwale Mazu”, stating he didn’t have the correct documentation to use his name. Dawson said that it only progressed into larger amounts. “I had also sent money for airline tickets from Nigeria to here, but he never showed at the airport.”

Peters, using the excuse of law informant not allowing him to board the plane, kept on with the scam. Following this, he requested money to attend school. Then he got stuck in London. “Everyone began saying he was scamming me, but I just did not want to consider it, until my 12-year-old daughter said I needed to stop sending money, that he would never come,” tells Dawson.

It wasn’t until she read about similar scams that she realized Peters’ photos were stock images. That person had gotten over $15,000 from her and was a con artist. “Not only was I angry, but I felt dumb,” said Dawson.

Avoiding it

It is nearly impossible to be over-paranoid online. While social networks and dating sites can be a great way to meet new people, if someone you have never met starts asking for money, simply end the conversation.

[Featured image credit: solar22 / Shutterstock]

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