Pay attention. When you start talking to someone on the internet, pay particular attention to the messages that they are sending. Are the messages answering the questions that you are asking or are they just generic messages that could be sent to anyone with just one minor change for each – the name? Prolific romance scam artists will generally use the same messages for everyone that they are trying to lure in as victims so if the messages are too general for your liking, back away as fast as you can. They are so generic that you can often find much of what they write by searching on Google. Even on profiles, the text can be copied and pasted from that found on other dating sites. Filipino women are usually a safer bet when online dating because they are very interested in white males.
1. Consider the language the person is using. Poor English can be a red flag signal for you to at least be more circumspect until you know more about this person. Many of the scam artists come from countries where English isn’t the first language and their command of it in writing is poor; bad grammar and spelling can be an indicator that the person may not be genuine. They also may get different forms of English mixed up. For example, would an American man write about having a great sense of ‘humour’ (with an extra ‘u’)? Would a British woman call her mother ‘my Mom’ instead of ‘my Mum’? And how many native English speakers would say ‘am John/Jane by name’ instead of ‘my name is John/Jane’? Or describe themselves as ‘God fearing?’ This isn’t to say that you won’t find love with someone who speaks another language. Of course, this “sign” is contextual, as many people can’t be bothered spelling properly and if you fall in love with someone from China, your Chinese may be as iffy as their English. It’s just one thing to be wary about.
Are messages/emails even addressed to you? If the scam is generic, even your name might get messed up in the general entrapment process. Look for the wrong name, misspellings of your name or other personal things that a person falling in love ought to get right, repetition and things that sound vague. Also be wary of anything that reads like a news or magazine story––it probably is
2. Take a look at the picture that the person is using on the profile. Does this person look too good to be true? This might just be the case – the easiest way to lure in victims is to make yourself seem as attractive as possible so if the lady or man that you are talking to is in their 40’s but the picture shows a person barely 25, alarm bells should most definitely be ringing!
Has the person given you a photo or is there one on the profile? If so, use a facial recognition/photo recognition search engine such as Google’s search by image or Tineye to see if it’s one of a kind or one of many. Scam artists often pinch photos of people to make up a persona and a little digging can quickly reveal this. Even when the image has been cropped to hide a logo, or edited using Photoshop (to change the face) the original image still shows up. Photos of models, porn stars, soldiers and politicians are widely used, but even stolen photos of ordinary people also end up being used. Google search by image is highly effective for identifying photos used by scammers, especially when using the Chrome browser as you can just right click on the image and select ‘Search Google for this image’.
3. See if the internet can verify that this person is real. Do an online search for the person. What returns do you get? Do the things you read match up with their claims? For example, does their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. account say what you expected?
If you are chatting with a John Smith or a Mary Brown, an online search will reveal many people. In this case, you’ll need to be more search specific, using other things this person has told you about his or her life, such as place of work/study, town of residence and sports/hobby interests, etc.You may be able to confirm where they live by using an online telephone directory or electoral register depending on what country they say they are from.
Be wary of people, especially men, who say they’re US military officers, especially if they use pictures of people in uniform on their profiles. Sometimes their photos are not of US officers at all – someone whose cap badge with a crown on it may be British, Australian or Canadian, but not American. And if they’re outside the US, where are they serving? European countries like Switzerland and Ireland are neutral, so it’s highly unlikely that serving US officers would be based there. Contact the Department of Defense, US military base or your nearest US Embassy.
Are they where they say they are? There are ways of being able to identify what country an email was sent from by tracing the IP address. For example, IP addresses beginning with ’41’ are in West Africa, a hotbed of scams. However, this may not be available, and in any case, they may tell you up front they are in that part of the world.
If they say they are in another country, treat with extreme caution anyone who is in West Africa. Scammers posing as men may say they are on business there, while those posing as women will say they are working in orphanages. Scammers in Nigeria or Ghana have started operating from other countries in the region, such as Benin, Togo or Senegal (although local people may also be involved) and have even got as far as Malaysia, from where they can target Singapore and Australia.
Learn about these countries and see how it matches what you’re being told about them. There is no civil war in Zimbabwe. Nor is there a refugee camp in Dakar, Senegal full of attractive young black women who have escaped from civil war in Liberia or Zimbabwe, least of all the daughters of deceased politicians who have left them million-dollar legacies in bank accounts in Europe. It’s a variation on the 419 scam. The woman in the photo doesn’t know you, let alone love you enough to give you a share of an inheritance in return for you paying legal fees by Western Union.
4. Forget about pursuing the relationship if you’re asked for money. The standard reason someone asks for money online from someone they don’t know is that they’re out to scam you. This should immediately cause you to be concerned about the genuineness of the other person.
Don’t get too involved in asking why the person wants the money. It’s bad enough that he or she has asked you without giving space for elaborate and ultimately false reasons for needing it. (The more elaborate the story, the faster you should run.) A simple “no” should suffice; if it’s meant to be, the budding relationship will survive your firm response! Filipino women are truly interested in finding real love, which is why they are usually safer when looking for online love.
Watch out for emails or messages that sound desperate, pleading and persistent in response to your unwillingness to send money. This isn’t love, it’s money hunger.
Just stay away if there are any signs of scams. Even if you manage to identify a scammer earlier rather than later, never confront them. Even if you’re baiting them for fun, however tempting it may be to expose them and ridicule them for being so unconvincing, all they will do is change their email account, their photos, and their profiles, and carry on as before, possibly with more success. Just cease communicating with them, block their emails, and don’t take their phone calls, just as you would a threatening or abusive ex-partner.
Share what information you have on a scammer, including photos used, email addresses, aliases, telephone numbers and text used in correspondence on websites exposing scammers. You may find the text has been used before, with a few changes, while photos of that person you thought you met on the dating site may have ‘scammer’ or ‘stolen’ superimposed.
Join www.filipino4u.com to read more information on the subject!