A well known television channel has reported about a popular online dating service who has huge membership. Hundreds of them have fallen for romance scams and lost millions of dollars.
One victim is Shelly Cook. She said her bad time started in January when she met "John" online. They became too friendly in couple of weeks and he started sending her gifts. Meanwhile, Shelly was also taking care of her sick father while she was having an online affair with John.
“While I was chatting with him online, my father had a sever heart attack which he did not bear and succumb to death. I cursed John for bringing this bad omen in my life.” Shelly said.
“When John came to know the situation, he took advantage of the situation. He asked about my Security Code Number, bank information and he seemed to be in knowing of my financial information, which gave the doubt of him being “scammer” She added.
Shelly said she wanted to warn people who are using online dating service in search of their soulmates. “Be cautious while meeting people online and never disclose your financial secrets to people.” She warned others.
Experts believe that online romance scams are growing exponentially. It is advisable to get registered with only reputed online dating services only so that the risk of getting fake profiles will be minimal. A book called “Cyber Love’s Illusions”, was recently published. There are reports of people being prosecuted and some of them are serving terms in jails.
The online romance scams group is gearing up to expose the scammers. According to online moderator expert, Smith Kaiser, you can track these scammers in different ways. “You can trace them by their IP addresses, their fake photographs, poor English, they will not answer you but ask many questions to you, they will misguide you by giving false contact information etc. etc.”
Shelly said the scammers would find potential targets on dating sites and then take them to some other private sites where they have already laid the traps. Any information you put in those sites will be automatically recorded by these scammers, even the passwords.”
“That’s how the scammers work. They try their best that they should not be caught in anyway since they project themselves as they are not taking information from users forcefully but only users who visit their sites are sharing information on their sites willingly.” Kaiser added.
According to Kaiser, even police won’t be able to help online daters from such scams unless they have concrete proof to nab them. Its upto the daters to take precautions by avoiding scammers’ sites and sharing any financial information with them to safeguard themselves.