What is an online scam?

An online scam is when a person, usually with a fake account through dating sites, social media such as facebook, skype, WhatsApp, or another way through the internet, attempting to extract money from you or gather/steal your personal data, such as passwords through a confidence trick.
Some dating sites work very hard to protect their members from scammers. However some scammers are very deceptive and manage to pass the fraud detection measures on dating sites or on social media such as facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others.
You should always act with caution when meeting people online through a dating site or social media and be aware the type of actions scammers may take to persuade you to send them money or extract your personal information such as scan of your passport and/or credit card, using some kind of excuse.
If, for any reason, you suspect somebody is trying to scam you, report it immediately to the Administrator or staff of the dating site and cease all contact with that person.
On facebook you can report it through this link:
Below are some typical examples of online scam techniques.

– The Travel Expense Scam

After communicating with a member, from overseas or another (part of the) country, they will suggest to meet face-to-face with you, however they just don’t have enough money to cover the cost and will ask you to help out by paying the whole or half the amount of the travel costs or hotel costs. Sometimes they will even suggest you meet mid-way to reduce the cost for each person.
Some scammers will even send you scanned examples of faked travel tickets to prove that they are supposedly genuine, however at the last minute an extra cost or emergency will occur. They will request you to pay this for them so they do not have to cancel the meeting.

– The Overseas Emergency Scam

One of the most popular ‘Nigerian’ scams. The scammer will create a fake identity and proceed to communicate with you to build trust. They may communicate with you for weeks or even for 1 or 2 months making you think you are getting to know him or her very well. All of a sudden you will get a message regarding an ’emergency’ overseas that has happened, all to often in Nigeria or another African country, however in the last years such scams came from Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Philippines. Emergencies can range from accidents, medical illness or robbery. You will be requested to send a single large sum or many small sums of money to assist. The scammer will have always been located in the country that the ’emergency’ happens.

– The visa (and travel tickets) scam

Another popular scam is the Visa Scam. Such scammers are mostly active through dating sites but also on social media such as facebook. They may communicate with you for weeks and making you think she or he likes you a lot and wants to meet with you in your country. The scammer will ask you to make a visa for come to your country and also they will ask money for the travel tickets. The favorite countries for scammers to get visa are: western European countries, such as Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries, USA, and also the middle east countries such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

– The 419 Scam

The ‘419 scam’ or advance fee fraud has been around for a long time. The scammer usually promises to share 10% of a vast fortune (usually millions of dollars or in other currency) with you, all they need is a fraction of the money to unlock the funds. They will request you send them this unlocking fee so they can transfer the funds to your account, before you transfer 90% on to another account.

– The marriage scam or sham

This is another popular scam or as how commonly knows ‘marriage sham’ or ‘fake marriage’.
A sham marriage or fake marriage is a marriage of convenience entered into purely for the purpose of gaining a benefit or other advantage arising from that status. While referred to as a “sham” or “fake” because of its motivation, the union itself is still legally valid if it conforms to the formal legal requirements for marriage in that country. Arranging or entering into such a marriage to deceive public officials is itself a separate violation of the law of some countries. In the United States, Canada and some European countries, sham marriage for purposes of immigration fraud is a felony.
After a period, a couple often divorces if the marriage is no longer useful.

– The dowry scam

This scam is mostly used by girls from Asian countries such as Thailand. We have a article on this site where you can read about Dowry scams here.