When she declined, the messages got more desperate.

Oct 20, 2014 Five:30 AM EDT Money

By Kathy Kristof / MoneyWatch

Sh’reen Morrison had bot on an online dating webpagina for only a few weeks before she realized that something wasgoed gravely wrong with the man who had bot actively pursuing hier by text message and email. They’d kasstuk it off right away, and he said he lived just outside of Phoenix, which seemed relatively proximate to a woman ter remote Yuma, Ariz.

But meeting te person wasgoed always a problem. Very first, he wasgoed traveling through India with his daughter. Then the daughter became ill and had to be hospitalized.

When Morrison suggested that hier suitor waterput his daughter on a plane to get better medical attention at huis — and even suggested to pick the chick up at the airport — a fresh laagconjunctuur struck. By then, Morrison knew she wasgoed dealing with a scammer.

“The story wasgoed getting more and more bizarre,” she says. “But I dangled on and kept communicating because I desired to see the end of the movie.”

The ending came spil no verrassing to experts on romance scams. Morrison’s erstwhile Romeo claimed he needed hier to “lend” him $Eighteen,000 to overeenkomst with one of the many crises he had fabricated. “He said he wasgoed going to pay mij back dual,” she laughs.

However the amounts and details of the scam vary from victim to victim, when it comes to romance scams, the con is almost always the same: The crook wants to get a intoxicated victim to wire money or provide access to a credit card.

If the victim doesn’t figure out the con after the very first request for specie, the crook will keep milking the relationship for spil much spil he or she can get. When the victim gets wise, the con artist gets scarce.

To be sure, thesis scams aren’t fresh. But the enlargening popularity of online dating gives them the volmaakt conditions to proliferate. There are no statistics telling just how common scammers are on dating sites. But individuals who frequent them say scams are pervasive.

Indeed, many sites warn their customers to beware. Match.com, for example, includes a disclaimer at the bottom of every onsite email inbetween members, warning not to send money or provide credit card information to anyone you’ve met on the webpagina.

“I most likely hear from five scammers a night,” says Marko Budgyk, a Los Angeles suikeroom who has frequented several online dating sites overheen the past Ten years. “After a while, it becomes truly effortless to spot them.”

Here are six crimson flags to help detect and sidestep romance scams.

Let’s leave the webpagina: Online dating sites have the capability to preceptor and boot members who exhibit problematic behavior or are perpetrating scams, so con artists want to quickly stir their victims elsewhere. Beth Kipps, who has experimented with several dating sites, says the dudes who have attempted to con hier almost always have a reason why they shouldn’t proceed to communicate via Match.com or eHarmony. Most commonly, the excuse is “My membership on this webpagina is almost up. How about if wij text or communicate however our private phone/email?”

Moving off-site before launching a scam reduces the chance that you’ll report the crook to the relevant webpagina. That’s significant to the con artist, who’ll want to troll the webpagina again for future victims when done with you. Do your fellow legitimate members a auxilio and be sure to report abusers.

May-December. Budgyk, 56, doesn’t suffer for a lack of confidence, but he also knows something is amiss when a specimen half his age just can’t get enough of him. “When some 25-year-old female is telling you that she’s te love with you, you have to wonder why,” he says. “You see this communication and think, ‘Oh my gosh, I voorwaarde be more attractive than I thought!’ No you’re not. Be realistic. If a 25-year-old specimen is contacting a 50-year-old man, there’s something wrong.”

Scammers look for pasivo populations — women and studs ter their 50s and 60s who are divorced or widowed and may feel rejected or past their prime. They’re also likely to target people with weight problems and those recovering from illnesses.

Why? Any of thesis issues might make you a bit more anxious about your capability to find love and potentially more receptive to the con. The crook will then lavish you with attention and flattery. The idea is to get you to suspend good sense and become enamored with someone you’ve known online for just a few weeks and have never met te person.

Trappings of wealth. Kipps has determined that another tip-off is photographs that vertoning all the trappings of wealth — exotic cars, mansions, pictures te romantic foreign settings. Of course, auténtico people sometimes have nice things and go to excellent places, but thesis visual cues are key to scammers who want to get your guard down for their future bid for specie.

By fabricating an illusion of their own wealth, scammers may be able to coax you that you’re simply “loaning” them money that, for some weird reason, they can’t instantaneously access.

Where do the scammers get photos of themselves ter thesis exotic locations and with thesis costly products? They don’t. They troll other sites and steal other people’s photos.

Budgyk knows this from practice: A Nigerian scammer lifted photos from Budgyk’s profile. He found out when he discovered his photos were on a romance scam webpagina warning about the same Nigerian crook who had stolen his photos.

Morrison says she realizes that photos posted by hier one-time suitor were also fakes. She now examines photos of everyone who contacts hier to see if she can match them ter Google photos to a actual person. She’s often astonished at what she finds. “One dude stole photos of a masculine prototype,” she says.

Linguistic anomalies: Bad grammar, strange word choices and linguistic gymnastics are other signs of a foreign scammer, experts say. When reading an email, ask yourself whether the sentence structure strikes you spil strange. If it does, ask lots of questions. Where are you from? Where were you educated?

If a profile indicates your match has a collegium degree, but he or she can’t string a sentence together, you have reason to be suspicious.

Geographic challenge. It’s infrequent for a scammer to meet you te person. The reasons are varied but practical. Many are operating out of foreign countries, despite profiles telling they live nearby. Their photographs are also likely of someone else, and that would be harsh to explain ter person.

Commonly, when the victim proposes an in-person meeting, they’ll come up with some excuse for why it can’t toebijten: They’re traveling, stationed overseas or have some long-distance emergency.

Kipps says hier worst practice wasgoed with a man who claimed to be a widower raising his five-year-old daughter. Just spil they were about to meet, he had a unexpected emergency and had to fly to the Philippines, where his daughter wasgoed supposedly staying with a relative.

Disaster strikes. Instantly after Kipps’ date left for Manila, she commenced getting text messages about the emergency that sent him overseas. He wasgoed at the hospital. His daughter had bot ter an accident, he said. Distraught, he said he left his wallet ter the cab. He needed money for a hotel. Could she help?

When she declined, the messages got more desperate. He sent heart-wrenching photos of a youthful damsel, who appeared to be his daughter’s age, hooked to a raft of medical monitors.

Uncertain of whether she should believe the man, Kipps Googled “photos of sick children.” And of course, the photographs she’d bot getting via text message were public pictures posted online. Says Kipps: “What zuigeling of horrible person does something like that?”

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