Yesterday we looked at the growing phenomenon of online dating scams that are cheating unsuspecting and vulnerable people out of millions of dollars across the globe. While we noted that online dating’s move to the mainstream is likely the main cause in the growing number of scams out there, another long-term trend is also partly responsible: Globalization.
Anyone reading the news today can become discouraged with the number of crises and conflicts in the world. Today’s news of conflicts, while terrible in their own right, can also provide scammers with fodder for their next ploy.
The BBC reported on the latest example of such a scam yesterday. A woman from England was duped by a man she met through an online dating service into what she thought was assisting his “Syrian sheikh” buddy import valuables legally into the country. The elaborate scam involved the woman paying thousands in fake tax bills and custom fees. After the woman realized she had been scammed, it was too late. While the police were able to trace the money back to a location elsewhere in England, the culprit and money were long since gone.
As the victim in the story remarked, vulnerable people are especially susceptible to this type of scam, particularly when dealing with skillful con artists who can rip news from the headlines to help support and validate their schemes.
While this particular story may seem far-fetched, we would argue that this type of scam could potentially befall anyone, not just the especially vulnerable or naïve. When you make a connection with a potential mate, online and off, judgment can become clouded, particularly in matters of money. That’s why we encourage verifying the legitimacy of a potential date early on, before you feel emotional attachment.
BeenVerified makes it easy to take the first step in building trust online with a potential partner with our extensive, affordable and accessible background check service.