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Looking for Love Online? Watch Out for Fake Profiles on Popular Dating Sites


Online dating is the subject of today’s Scambook news. Kevan talks about fraud on dating websites like xDating.com, SeniorsMeet.com, Christian Mingle, JDate, Match.com, Chemistry.com, eHarmony, Craigslist Personals, OK Cupid and more. Our users reported that some of these sites bait-and-switch you and you end up paying for a subscription membership. You may receive unauthorized credit card charges and have difficulty cancelling your account. But Kevan explains that the worst schemes are executed by criminals who create fake profiles. If you’re single and looking to meet that special someone online, be careful. The fraudsters might email you love letters, tell you stories about their fake job overseas, send you photos of their fake family and romance you until you agree to meet in person or even get married. Then, when it’s time to meet, something goes wrong and your soul mate needs you to wire money via Western Union or Money Gram. They promise to pay you back, but they’re lying about everything – including their love for you — and you’ll only get ripped off. Kevan tells us about Scambook members who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in online dating fraud, or even taken out a second mortgage to help their fake long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend. Finally, he offers safety tips about how to protect yourself and avoid the awful crooks who will break your heart and empty your bank account.

Here’s how this type of fraud works. You create a profile on an online dating site, and one day you receive a message from a guy or girl who seems really great. You start chatting, exchange pictures and tell each other about your families. According to Scambook members, fraudsters pulling this scheme usually claim to be divorced or widowed, often express devout religious beliefs and often say they have a child. By constructing this

Online dating can be a great way to meet new people, but stay safe! Watch out for someone who says they’ve fallen in love with you when you haven’t even met in person. Never give any personal information or send money to someone you don’t know in the real world.

well-rounded persona, they know their fake identity becomes easier to believe. Then, sooner or later, they wave the biggest red flag of all: they’re living or working overseas and they can’t meet you in person. Unfortunately, by this point, they’re also writing you love letters and maybe sending you romantic gifts. So when they propose that you both spend the rest of your lives together after their work contract ends, it’s easy to say yes. You may even make plans for a specific date to finally meet.

That’s when everything starts to unravel. Your long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend tells you that there’s a problem – their Visa expired, someone stole their Passport, their child has a medical emergency – and they need you to send money. It may be a relatively small amount, at first, and they assure you that they’ll pay you back as soon as they’re home in the United States. However, sending money only makes the situation worse. They give you excuses about why they never received it, and they need more. The cycle goes on forever! One Scambook member lost over $140,000 to someone who claimed to be a Norwegian working in Ghana. Another member was conned out of $300,000 by someone claiming to be an American in Nigeria, whose son was gravely ill. Both of these schemes played out over the course of several months or years. These cases may sound extreme, but sadly, they’re not uncommon.

Unfortunately, once you wire your money, you can’t get it back. These criminals often operate overseas, which makes it very difficult for the authorities to track them and bring them to justice.

The best way to protect yourself from this type of online dating fraud is to learn the warning signs. Online dating can be a great way to meet new people, but you need to stay safe. When you’re looking for love on the internet, follow these rules:

 

1. Never give your personal information or send money to someone you haven’t met in person.

It doesn’t matter how sincere they seem, or how much they say they love you. Even if they send you photos, you can’t be sure the person you’re talking to is really who they say they are. Be extra cautious of anyone who says they’ve fallen in love with you after one or two emails.

 

2. If your e-date refuses to meet you, they might be an e-dud.

It’s a huge warning sign if someone you meet online refuses to meet you, or if you make plans to meet but the other person keeps making excuses.

 

3. Stay local.

Most online dating sites will allow you to limit your matches to your city or region. You may still encounter some creeps if you date locally, but someone who lives nearby is less likely to be a foreign con artist posing as a widower. If you hit it off with someone who says they’re in the military or temporarily working in another country or another state, put the brakes on your conversation and tell them to email you again when they’re back home.

If you hit it off with someone you’ve met online, look them up on Scambook! Many fraudsters use the same fake profile to exploit multiple people.

4. Once you learn someone’s real name, look them up on Scambook and other sites.

Often, fraudsters use the same online persona on different dating sites to exploit multiple people. If they’ve used that name to take advantage of someone else in the past, you’ll find it our website. However, even if your online date isn’t on Scambook, you should still be very cautious – especially if this person shows any of the red flags we’ve mentioned. Remember rule #1 and don’t give them any personal information until you’ve had a chance to get to know them off-line.

 

5. If you do meet someone in person, use common sense.

Always meet someone for the first time in a busy public place, such as a restaurant or a city plaza. Provide your own transportation to and from the date, including enough cash to cover cab fare in case you have an extra drink. It’s also a good idea to tell a friend where you’re going, who you’re meeting and when you expect to return.

When in doubt, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to get help from your friends and family.

Stay tuned to Scambook news for more great information and tips to protect yourself. Next week, Kevan covers more online dating disasters and gives you the exclusive Scambook scoop on xDating.

Watch our follow-up video on online dating fraud: Online Dating Alert: Warning About Singles Sites Like xDating That Make You Pay Before You Can Message Their Members

 

See Also

Online Dating Scams Trending Up
Online Dating Scams: Women Over 50 Most Likely to be Victims
How to Date Online and Avoid Scams on Valentine’s Day 2013

 

GOT A COMPLAINT? CLICK HERE TO REPORT IT TO SCAMBOOK!

Image Sources
matureladiesonline.com, umbrella-eqal.s3.amazonaws.com

Got a complaint? Report it to Scambook!

Author:

Miranda Perry is the staff writer for Scambook.com, where she blogs about consumer issues, fraud and cyber security. She hopes to inspire readers to think critically about the world around them and take action to improve their lives.

Comments

  1. Gary Fischer

    Your article on dating websites update they also create bogus profiles and and email you to keep u as a paying member then once u cancel u cancel u never hear from anyone again or if u do they say if u want to chat u need to be a member

    Reply
  2. ruby dolores witham

    I would love to know if Andrew Reece, Malaysia, has been caught. He owes money to me and i need it badly. Please reply.
    He said he lived in Beverly Hills — he stole someone’s identity there;
    he says he is in Malaysia.
    I need the money he owes me. If I sue him, would it help? Or take him into small claims court?

    Reply
    1. Miranda Post author

      Hi Ruby, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that this individual has wronged you. If you haven’t already done so, please use the Scambook search tool to investigate this person: http://www.scambook.com/search Try searching for this person’s name as well as his/her email address(es), screen name(s) or any other aliases connected to this person’s identity.

      Whether or not this individual has already been reported by other Scambook members, please submit your own complaint report with the following form: https://www.scambook.com/report/submit Include as much information and evidence as you can, including copies of emails, pictures of text messages, receipts, etc. The Scambook investigative team will do their best to help you.

      Reply
  3. Kenny Adekoya

    Would it be possible to find out whether this person’s name is one of the numerous online dating sites, for scamming innocent woman. His names are AUDREY TOOTA GOODSON and TIMOTHY ROBERTS [[personal information removed]] U S A.

    Reply
  4. Marcela

    Speaking of online dating sites,I exchanged emails with a Ralph Willey too who said he lives in the USA and suddenly went on a business trip to Malaysia and then wanted me to send him money as he had lost all his valuables in unknown circumstances to me. It was when it rang a bell to me, as per his responses I think this is a woman with a man’s fake name operating maybe from Africa.

    Reply
  5. Bernadette Gray

    Harrison Dolan, aka Harry Dolan, Paul Dolan Harrison Paul Dolan, Jeff Smith Beachmaninlove, and many many more online names, hey he was even a General Colines. He has over $200,000 of my money supposedly brokering gold for me! He is in Ghana and still contacts me to torture me. He even came to the US and purposely visiited cities all around me and tortured the daylights out of me telling me that he has my money and is ready to pay me back. Yeah== right! Beware, the FBI, doesent care, neither your local FBI nor Washington DC. Your local police dont care either and when you report a false profile to the magazine, all they tell you how sorry they are and they can’t screen and weed them “all” out! Bottom line== its up to YOU because this world is a cruel place and we are on our own. No one will care when I am on the street or you either, and here is another tidbit–Harry Dolan is not his real name either. I feel like i have just been punched in the stomach when I wake up every single morning. I am 67 yrs old and hope I dont live much longer because now I just cant afford it. The previous comments like “I wonder if so and so has been caught” I can tell you, no one is looking for them. BEWARE the world stinks. Any man who can take an older woman for everything she has, and hear her cry and beg to him and have no feeling is nothing but an animal and even they show compassion for suffering. Harry, may you roast on the devil’s BBQ!

    Reply
  6. janelle brown

    i like to complain as im very upset this guy he used his name greg williams and now he on scam book as David231 SBID i like to say imeet him on interpals friendship sight i was looking for friend not dating and i meet greg williams i became friends then he told me he dying with cancer and his wife and parents are dead and he wanted me to adopt his daughter lucy as he had nobody so he lawyer rang me and told me to send 1200 and she shall arive to me in australia in brisbane airport i got very supsious and said no i have no money to do that since then i reported him on this site to tell pple what he doing to warn them and now he on here saying hobril bad stuff bout me an dputiing my details up and sayin gi scan him for 4000 and turning every thing aroun don me i so upset and carnt belive these hartless hobril pple and how thye live with them selves and his lies are so bad and disgusting as i dont scam pple i honest person hapily maried and have kids and he say and lie about pics he have of me how distgusting when i dont give out pics to any one i want this man stopped and off this site with his lies i have all his scams on my email to prove my story and i here all these other story s here it so sad how these pple get away from this i want his lies about me removed from this site as i havnt done anything wronge he is hurting me cuz i caught him out and reported him plz do something

    Reply
  7. barbara vann

    I just wanted to let you know that I understand how you feel, especially the part about waking up in the morning feeling like you have been punched in the stomach. I am a recent victim of an online dating scam by someone calling himself Thomas Greving, who said he was a Norwegian widower, working on an oil rig, ran out of money, I sent him some, then needed money for airfare back to the states. He gave me an address in Fairfax VA and what was supposedly his SSN. I did some research and found the real Thomas Greving. I have since contacted him and he is pursuing charges of identity theft. however, I’m pretty sure the guy is in London (or at least that’s where I wired the money) and all I have is a cell phone number. I don’t think it will be possible to find him. The whole thing has made me physically sick–I can’t eat. I am horrified that I got myself into this situation. I really believed I had found a great guy. By the way, I am 60, and apparently fit the prototype for the typical victim. Anyway, just wanted to know you are not alone.

    Reply
  8. Bernadette Gray

    I have it on good authority that Harriso Dolan aka, Gener Colines, beachmaninlove, Mark Grunt, Dave Goodwell, and the list goes on, was apprehended 5 wks ago at Accra Airport in Ghana just after he left the USA with more of my money. I have been corresponding via e-mail with Inspector, Paul T Quay, (also his lawyer) regarding Harrison and my funds all his scams. Harrison has no one willing to step forth and claim to know him to bail him out which has to be done in person in Ghana. No one who doesnt have to go there should ever set foot in that country, I was asked and said NO. Harrison was sobbing the last time I spoke with him and feared he would not survive the ordeal. I told him that we reap what we sew. Even though he took away my entire financial future (I am 67) I still feel sorry for him. He will stand trial there on three charges and be extradicted to his native country (unknown to me) for trial there. That my friends is the latest on him.

    Reply
  9. Caesar

    Good article, I was thinking of seniorpeoplemeet.com but I am going to pass since reading the scam postings elsewhere. I will say POF which is free was no issue but not much success either. Lavalife worked the best, I met some nice ladies and a few were keepers but you have to meet a lot of losers to find a good one. Lavalife was $30 / month and no issues with the cancel. Yahoo was not as successful as Lavalife but again no issue opting out. Advice to all, I keep one credit card just for internet purchases. If I ever have an issue with an auto renewal or false charges it’s cancelled and I open a new account. You might get burned $100 but at least you can move forward and I’ve spent lot’s of $100 nights on dates with people I never saw again, it’s all part of the cost of dating and you just have to write it off as a bad date. One of these days I will meet the right person.

    Reply
  10. cathy

    this guy name henry thomas i dont know if that was his real name.he sent me a message on my facebook accnt and thats where our conversation started..he told me he was going to malaysia for his bussiness trip and when he got there he called me ans said his wallet got stollen and he want me to send him a money cos he dont have no money to spend,,so here i am being nice person i sent all in all over 5000 dollars to him through western union…how can i repoet this man i want my money back so bad>>>

    Reply
  11. Kelvin

    Hi,My friend submitted a complaint to scambook regarding a con artist who post as a US military on a dating site by the name of Brian D Wubbena. She lost 4,300 AUD to send him the amount for his flight to visit her and promised to marry her.He is on a lot of dating site with pictures of a military man.Money was send to United Kingdom with the following address [[PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]] United Kingdom. His mobile no +[[PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]]. I just wish he get caught and my friend can get her money back.Can someone get back to me with this complaint as it was submiitted as unanimous.Hope he gets caught and suffer.My friend is vulnerable and fall into his prey.My friend wants her money back.

    Reply
  12. Becky Woods

    I have been scammed out of $37,000 by the name of Steven Lewis Walters. Does this name sound famiiar with anyone. I met him on Christian Mingle. I was a widow of 2 years, and he said he was a widowed of 5 years. He said he was a Contractor from Mandeville, Louisanna. Several weeks later he had to go to Malaysia to build a Library. He asked me to marry him. I agreed. Long story, I was scammed, please warn everyone of this man. He said he was a Christian, we prayed together every night, and shared scripture. I know we are not suppose to judge others, but this man is evil and will take you for everything. I fell for his sob stories. He was well off he said, and his daughters Lauren & Kathy went to College in Paris. Thank you for your website!

    Reply
  13. Aila (Brazil)

    It’s really sad the way people try to deceive One another.My profile on Christian dating Free site was a disaster,I always tell the truth but in just One week I found 3 fakes profiles.I can see when they aren’t honest in some point.Thank You to bring This matter to clarify This subject to everyone.

    Reply

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