Your daughter met a person on the internet and is instantly in love but never met the person. What would you say?
Your sister tells you she never spoke to her online love on the phone or had a video. What would you say?
What if your widowed mother began dating a man who worked on an oil rig and he claims he is unable to video because the platform will explode? What would you say?
What if your best friend planned to send a thousand euros by Western Union to a stranger in Turkey or Nigeria? What would you say?
What if the man your sister met on Zoosk, POF or Match asked her ten thousand Swiss Francs because he is having legal issues in Turkey? What would you say?
Imagine your daughter dating a soldier she never met, and he tells her he needs her to pay the military so he can go on holiday. What would you say?
The man you met on a dating site works overseas, refuses to video and wants you to send him money. What would you say? Hopefully no.
A popular scam I have come across is The Introduction Scam. How the scam works is a person of the same sex will connect with you online, be it Facebook, Twitter, Words With Friends, Instagram or such. That person will become your new best friend; they will identify with you, share your problems, they might even lie and suggest you two have met in the past.
Your new best friend will have read your profile in detail, searched the net hunting information for you and will even build their social media to have a lot in common with you. They will friend your friends to create a social connection.
As time goes by, they will bring up the subject of dating and relationships. How hard it is to find a good man or online dating is scary. However, like a used car salesman, they have the perfect match for you. He will be either a widower, working an oil rig, in the military, an engineer overseas or an international businessman with a multi-million-dollar government contract. Your scammer friend will send photos of a loving father, handsome marine, the international man sitting in a Ferrari or on a yacht.
By the scammer friend introducing you and sharing a backstory your guard is down. The new man is a friend of a friend, so all is good, all appears safe. Wrong! You are being played by one scammer using two fake digital identities. You are at a significant disadvantage because the scammer knows everything about you. Your favorite flower, where you want to travel, your fears, dreams, what games you like to play and possibly your financial situation.
If you are socializing online keep to the forefront of thought that people you meet online are unidentified strangers who could hurt you. Posting on each other's Facebook Timeline is not a friendship, sending texts, hanging out in Google Hangouts or even sending photos is not a real friendship. It is an act of digital communications and nothing more. Therefore, if you have met people via a social site do not fall prey to the introductory romance scam, nor to any fraud.
One of the problematic aspects of the work I do is convincing clients that the person they have been communicating with is a fraud. In the client's mind, or heart they have established a relationship, and believe wholeheartedly that all is real. For clients, it is heartbreaking to accept that they invested time and emotions on a relationship that is fake. Even worse, many have lost thousands of dollars, euros, krona, and yen. There is nothing tangible on the internet; truth does not always exist, people can be false, even Wikipedia can be forged.
Stand a ground and create an online boundary when socializing online. Like the flame on your stove, you know it will burn if touched. Know the same about strangers online; they too can burn.
One word can protect you from losing thousands of dollars, euros, francs, whatever your currency might be. One word could be the word that keeps your life savings and heart from being broken. Deciding when to use the word NO, will determine if you become a victim of a Romeo or online dating scam.
As of this writing, within the past five days, less than ten clients have sent more than two-hundred-twenty thousand euros to romance scammers. Furthermore, each of them chased the money, after they made the first payment the scammer convinced them they needed a second payment to get their money back. If they said no to the first request, they would not have lost a cent, and if they said no to the second, there would not be a loss of life savings.
NO is simple and powerful, learn to use. If you are dating online, NO must be the word that stands guard and readied to defend you. There is nothing wrong with telling a person NO, even if they are allegedly in crisis. It is not your responsibility to be anothers' savior, especially with your money.
NO is the boundary word; it is the word the person on the other end of the SMS, Google Hangouts, Instagram or Tinder must hear from you. Saying NO does not start with a request for money but upon introduction.
Scammers are like fawning teens, they gush all over you, drowned you with emoji's, and I love you's. NO, no and more NO! You must take a moment and step out of your situation and realize that you recently met this unidentified individual. Let alone had limited phone conversation and probably no face-to-face video.
Victimization can happen to anybody; however, if you prepare yourself and create solid boundaries before you engage, you will be better protected. You must activate your NO and not allow yourself to be a victim.
Frank M. Ahearn educates victims on romance scams.
He is the author of the New York Times Best Seller How to Disappear.
Email Addresss: ID@Scam.Guru