Valentine’s Day is here again and many single people, and a few others besides, may be tempted to look for love on online dating sites or through social networks.
What they find, however, may be something completely different – financial ruin.
Scam artists and identity thieves learned how to create fake profiles soon after these types of sites first appeared. They are experts at appearing to be the person their victim has always been looking for. They prey on their victim’s insecurities and desires, making them feel like they have met their perfect partner.
Your Perfect Valentine
The guys behind these scams (and it often is men, even if you think that you are conversing with a woman) will appear to have the exact same likes and dislikes as you and so they will seem to be your perfect Valentine.
Often they will simply agree with anything that you say – they can easily create a sense of empathy and build strong rapport in this manner. By appearing to be someone special, with whom you feel extremely comfortable, the bad guys can maneuver you into exactly the position they want you in.
Next, the sting.
Once the bad guys have manipulated you to the point that you are hooked they will likely suggest that you meet up with them for real. But of course it isn’t as simple as that.
As the time for the meeting approaches they will suddenly develop some form of crisis, meaning they cannot afford to travel. At this point they will then ask for money – for a plane ticket, or perhaps another issue, such as a sick relative who needs urgent medical attention.
If they have done what they set out to do then they will have put you in a position where you will do almost anything to ensure that the meeting still goes ahead. With little time to think you may just be foolish enough to wire them the money they say they need in order to fix this ‘crisis’.
Unfortunately, many thousands of people fall for these types of scams each and every year.
Make sure you aren’t the next one and have a happy Valentine’s Day.