Some people think you can do everything online these days.
With the popularity of online dating sites, it would seem that’s actually true.
But searching for love digitally is only another opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
The latest scam not only takes aim at your wallet; your heart is on the line as well.
Let me tell you all about these ruthless scams, and how to protect yourself against them.
Your feelings and emotions are some of the most private things about you.
Perhaps you wouldn’t classify them similarly to other sensitive information, like your address or date of birth, but in this digital age, both are of extreme value.
The reason scams are so successful when engineered technologically is because schemers can capitalize on two things: greed and fear.
In the old days, you could look someone in the eye when they asked for generosity or sympathy.
But now those eyes are hidden behind the enigmatic computer screens that so effectively conceal people’s true intentions.
It’s all too easy for a scam artist to draw information about you from an online profile, and even easier to manipulate you for their own gain.
You may think you’re talking to someone you know and trust, and the recipient of your messages could be another person entirely.
Although there’s not much to be done about the cloaking anonymity the Internet offers scam artists, there are ways to be aware of your vulnerabilities.
Scams we’re seeing more and more of are romance scams.
People will take advantage of your desire to find love over the Internet.
And it’s not just swindling you out of a free meal or promising to pay for the next movie ticket.
These online scammers impersonate someone of interest on a dating website and slowly but surely steal away what you hold dear.
They’ll often appeal to your generosity, or feelings towards them, in exchange for monetary favors.
Some of the most common personas are doctors traveling internationally, actively-deployed military personnel, and oil rig workers.
These phony occupations explain why your sweetheart can’t meet in person, and why they would need you to send money in certain situations.
Because you care about them and don’t wish them harm or discomfort, you’ll comply.
That’s where the emotional coercion becomes the most sickening.
They might ask you to buy a plane ticket or cover other travel expenses.
Or they’ll ask for money to pay for a surgery or another large medical expense.
Perhaps they have large gambling debts and feel threatened by their lenders.
No matter the plea, they all come with the same request: wire money.
If you purchase a plane ticket directly from the airline, they will likely express their discontent.
They don’t actually want the plane ticket; they want your money.
The other way they’ll demand payment is through reloadable cards or gift cards that can be used as they choose.
These types of payments are also difficult to track and almost impossible to reverse.
See what I’m getting at here?
These scam artists have no scruples and no regard for your feelings.
Keep your heart and your wallet under tight lock and key, especially when online.
Only then can you keep your interests (and your feelings) out of the wrong hands.