At the recent iDate convention in Las Vegas, during a round of speed networking (Think: speed dating for business networking) I found myself sitting across the table from an executive from a fascinating company called Scamalytics. This innovative company combs through dating websites looking for fake profiles, tell-tale content or suspicious behavior that might indicate a scammer, or worse, a scamming syndicate. I know. It sounds like the mafia for the love lorn. But far from preventing just run-of-the-mill broken hearts, Scamalytics is protecting people from broken bank accounts, or even saving their lives. For with the heart soon follows the wallet. Innocent users have been bilked of tens of thousands of dollars and using sextortion blackmail, have even contributed to humiliation that has led to suicide. This stuff is no joke. So, in no particular order, here are the top online dating scams:
419 Scam – This is the classic romance scam where someone is lured into an email and phone relationship that becomes very strong and personal. Then the scammer undergoes one major crisis after another and they defraud the victim many times with financial bail out schemes, all with the false promise, “If I can just get through this problem, then we can be together.”
Cam-Girl Fraud – Young women with their own websites that make money from webcam nude exhibitions pull customers off online dating sites to give them a show and get paid. These women give the impression to men that there are no good women on dating sites.
Sextortion – This is often run by an organized ring. The scammer chats with a victim online, makes them fall in love, and then gets them to engage in sexually explicit acts via web cam. The video is then used to blackmail the victim by asking them to send money or it will be posted on the internet.
Worse of all, scammers are hacking into University networks and look credible by having a campus email address. According to Scamalytics, the top schools sued by scammers are:
1. Boston University
2. Utah State University
3. Rutgers University
4. University of Waterloo
How can you protect yourself from these scams? Know your attachment style that may make you vulnerable to falling in love with someone who could hurt you. To learn more, try my Psychology of Human Mating workshop.
DR. WENDY WALSH IS AVAILABLE FOR TELEPHONE RELATIONSHIP COACHING. TO SCHEDULE, PLEASE CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE THE BOX ON THE LEFT. SHE’LL PERSONALLY RESPOND.
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