A romantic scam is one where two people meet through a website of internet dating, where the victim never physically meets the scammer, but ends up losing money, becoming the victim of identity theft or in the worst case, he/she is arrested for money laundering, fraud or shipping illegal goods.

How does a romantic scam work?

The scammer opens many fake accounts on multiple online dating sites. The photos of these profiles are very attractive people which are never real but stolen from other photo hosting sites of people who never know that their photos are being used to scam people.

Fraudsters often claim that they belong to the country where their victim lives, but say they are abroad for work.

At first, they are very interested in the life of the victim and ask many questions. With that information, the scammer invents the perfect couple and tells the victim all he/she wants to hear.

Because the relationship has been established, it is when monetary scam begins. They will always find a reason to ask for money or favors.

Chances are that you are talking with more than one person. Fraudsters work in groups of about six people.

Scamming people is their full time job and when a shift is over, another group of six people takes place.

It is for this reason that sometimes it seems to remember what you told them and is also the reason why they always reply to messages almost immediately.

Scammers can be women or men of thirteen years onwards, meaning you can be talking to a 13 while you think you are talking with a woman of 30 years.

How do they ask for money?

There are many ways to raise money, but the most documented are as follows;

The Hotel

They say they are staying at a hotel and cannot pay for any reason and the hotel has the passport and they cannot leave. They ask for money to pay the hotel and retrieve their papers.

The Hospital

They sat they were assaulted and beaten on the street and are in the hospital, but as the robber took all, they have no way to pay and the hospital will not let them leave until the bill is settled.

Visit

They want to visit the victim but have no money to go. This type of excuse has many variations; sometimes they say they did not leave the country because they failed to pay a departure fee and ask for more money. Others simply say they had a family emergency and could not leave. The excuses are many, but they never get to visit the virtual boyfriend/girlfriend.

If you truly believe that your partner is in trouble in a foreign country, the best solution in all circumstances is to call the embassy of their home country and ask for help. This will prevent fraud as the embassy is able to really support you.

Important – Don’t keep contacting scammer!

Do not try to seek revenge. They are professionals with contacts in criminal networks and may even harm you or your family.

There are cases of victims that confront them and the answer is always the same, ‘Yes, it all started as a scam, but in the process I really fell in love with you.’ Scammers do not try to continue the same story, but the change is still a lie.

The best thing you can do for your sake and the sake of your family is to cut all contacts. They will try to contact you many times, but after a while you put on the list of ‘do not call’.

Nobody says it is easy, you obviously have a broken heart, but always remember that scammers are professionals and your feelings are not important to them.

When starting an internet relationship, always be careful. Remember that the anonymity provided by the internet serves as a blanket for many acts that people would not do face to face.

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