Online dating scams and fraud are almost as old as Internet dating itself. Often called a Sweetheart Swindle this is often a long, drawn out process in which the con artist develops a relationship, and eventually convinces the victim to send money. The scammer often meets the victim in chat rooms or via online dating sites. Their object is not to get into their hearts, but get into their wallets. They will try to earn someone's affections and trust so that they can persuade him/her to send money. The requests for money can either be a one time event or repeated over an extended period of time. The details of the scammers' stories will vary with each case. The scenario commonly revolves around a tragedy having befallen the scammer, and he/she desperately needs money. After spending time communicating and building a relationship with the victim, the scammer will ask for help in the form of money. Most online dating services have a hard time dealing with scammers, outside of issuing warnings to their users to be alert for anyone you've never met asking for money.
Some potential indicators you may be dealing with a dating scam:
* The online sweetie says, "I love you" almost immediately.
* The person asks for money, to cash a check or money order.
* The person claims to be a U.S. citizen who is abroad, well off, or a person of importance.
* The person claims to be a contractor and needs help with a business deal.
* The person claims to need money for a parent's "operation in the hospital".
* The person will have a photo that is most attractive posted on the website, but won't be so willing to send you any other photos, there is always a problem with that. The photo is to get you attracted to him/her to begin the interest in building the relationship. Most likely, that is not a real photo of the scammer.