Many people, users of online dating sites, have lost their money to fraudsters whom they considered to be their friends or love. Internet swindlers attempt to persuade their victims to send money to them. Requests from “sick” people, lotteries, visa assistance, offers of immigration, online dating services ‒ these are the most widespread schemes used by the scammers. They wander around the Internet in the search of victims, and spend months forming close relationships. As soon as they realize that the victim trusts them, they turn to them with requests for money under the pretext of different false situations.
Never be in a hurry to honor the request.
There are certain signs indicating that you may be dealing with a scammer. So, in order not to become a victim answer the following questions:
• Have you ever met your friend in person or do you know him or her only online?
• Is your “date” unusually attractive in the photographs he or she provided you with? Do they look as if they were taken by a professional photographer in a photo studio?
• Do you have a copy of your friend’s passport or any other document? If yes, you can check its validity. Just connect with the corresponding US Embassy.
• Your friend is having bad luck. Does it seem incredible? Scammers usually get into car accidents, are beaten, hospitalized, mugged or arrested and there is no one who could help them. They may have small children who are ill.
• Have you sent money to your friend for travel expenses (visas, tickets, etc.)? Do they linger out the departure and cite it by some unexpected reason?
• Does your friend mention BTA (Basic Travel Allowance)? You should know that such a thing does not exist.
• Does your friend say that he or she was born in the US, but his or her spelling and grammar are poor? It may mean that the person is not a native speaker of English.
Dating and Marriage Scams.
Numerous reports come to the US Embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv from American citizens saying that they have been victims of this or that internet fraud. Each of these people has forwarded money to an agency or a person that promised to arrange a visit of a young woman to the United States with the purpose of marriage. There are a lot of such agencies and they usually function under different addresses and names.
The Embassy recommends US citizens to abstain from sending money to any of the agencies or individuals who offer these services. In case of such scams the victim will hardly recover his money. For this reason even for an honest woman it will be problematic to get a visa and to meet you in the USA.
You can learn everything about different types of visas and how to obtain them on the website of the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy site. For more information go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
What should you undertake in case you have a suspicion that you are being victimized?
Never send money. It is unlikely to be recovered. Immediately stop any communication. Never try to recover the money on your own. Contact the police if there is any threat.
Immediately inform about the matter:
• the Internet Crime Complaint Center;
• the local police;
• the administrators of the site through which the scammer acted.