How do dating scams work?

Social interaction these days takes less place in public environments and access to online social media, including social networking and dating websites grew in importance over time. Human beings have social needs and want to be connected. Love and romance are complementing needs. When times have changed the quest for love and romance moved towards dating websites. These websites can be accessed from all around the world and do not only attract legitimate people looking for an emotional connection.

Dating scams appear in distinct ways. The most common and well known activities for dating scammers include the application of friendly loans for a short term and the requests for payment of specific expenses. Advanced romance scammers are physically present, where the online version of a dating scam often involves impersonation. The latter is often covered by investigative consumer programs online and show that victims are psychologically brainwashed and manipulated. Such stories reveal that romance scams are sophisticated pitches to find vulnerabilities and attack where possible. It also shows that when you get duped, you are not alone.

In general, dating scams contain emotional and psychological triggers that convince alleged partners to satisfy their opponent. Things start small but do not end. The reasons provided for financial gaps start plausible and turn out into unbelievable fairy tales. That is the moment the relationship gets under pressure and the conmen takes a distance. The victim is excluded from further communication and even blocked from telecommunication, and online and social media channels.

The international scope and nature of (online) romance scams enables global conmen to abuse people in other countries. Clawbacks and asset recovery is difficult for several reasons. Legal action is not easy either. Financial losses are often substantive and essential for the victims but the price of cross-border legal action against the wrongdoers who mostly spend their ill-gotten gains on personal and living expenses makes repayment nearly impossible, even where the court orders such repayment.