Online Dating Cons and Scams, PairedLife

Online Dating Cons and Scams, PairedLife

Marcy has researched and written about relationships, domestic issues, dating, and con-artists for more than a decade.

How to spot con artists

Online dating has some risks!

His picture looks like he’s a nice fellow, and he’s so lovely. She’s indeed youthful and sexy, and she said she desired to meet you.

How could he be a gigolo?

How could she be so deceptive?

While many couples meet, date and even marry through online sites, not all online encounters lead to wedded bliss, and some can lead to financial or emotional disaster.

Sadly, these con artists don’t wear signs telling you to beware and run the other direction. They are fairly good at appearing fair and guiltless, and utterly skilled in conning people out of their money, their virtue and their dignity.

Here are some common tricks used by professional scammers, and ways to avoid getting into their traps.

Online dating sites are prime hunting grounds for predators

How to spot predators

The written profiles of online scam artists on dating sites have gotten much trickier to spot in the past several years. The poor writing and bad spelling so common a few years ago is less often as evident, profiles can be expertly written these days. The best way to spot con artists through their profiles is to scrutinize the content. Here are some things to witness for:

Dudes targeting women: It’s not unusual for these fellows to claim to be widowed, and frequently they will claim to have one youthful child (a son about eight years old seems to be common, for some reason, but it can be any age). They can also claim they’re caring for an elderly parent.

Often, either in the profile or in one of the very first messages they’ll send, they’ll mention they are ‘working’ in a foreign country. Be advised, the ‘son’ or elderly parent doesn’t exist, and neither does Mr. Splendid Man. The con artist mentions the fake son or other relative to lay the groundwork for conning you out of money. More on that in a bit.

The rest of the profile can be written fairly excellently – the reason is, they have cut and pasted paragraphs from real profiles and these are used to build the ‘fake’ profiles. Some less polished con artists are still fresh at the game, and you may still see profiles in cracked English and poorly written (not just bad spelling by a real person), which can be a very strong indicator of a problem.

Does the profile specifically say they are an American Citizen? This very likely means it’s a con artist. The reason is, real American Citizens don’t go around identifying themselves that way. That is an abnormal statement, and therefore, a crimson flag.

Sometimes con artists will mess up by listing hobbies (if the online dating site has places to list them) that aren’t normal for dudes, such as knitting, crafts, etc. In latest years, the con artists have figured out this can peak people off, so it happens less often now.

Women targeting dudes: Female con artists who target fellows can show up very enticing if they claim to be from another country – the more exotic, the better.

Unlike scammers who target women, these con artists will infrequently claim to have children, it is not as attractive to masculine victims as it might be with female victims to connect with someone who has children. However, they will often be living with an elderly parent or other fragile relative. Again, this sets up the screenplay for needing money.

Often, the ‘youthful woman’ will claim to be ending her education, or to have a petite business or otherwise sound industrious and somewhat educated.

As with the con artists targeting women, these scammers can frequently have well-written profiles rather than the violated language of a few years ago. But since they may already claim to live in another country, poor language isn’t always a problem.

Many Internet scammers use fake profile photos and descriptions

If it seems too good to be true, it very likely is.

Online scam artists capitalize on tugging at your heart and appearing normal in every way. A few years ago, they used to be effortless to spot, because there usually wasn’t a photo and the profile was often poorly written, in cracked English. In latest years, this is no longer the case, which means potential victims are even more vulnerable than before.

The photo looks amazing: Many con artists who troll dating sites now use photos that are almost too good to be true, or look slightly ‘off’ for some reason.

Boys targeting women: Con artists targeting women will often post model-perfect photos on the profile page. The man looks like he could be in magazine ads, beautiful, viral, posed just right – like a professional head shot for a portfolio, which it very likely is, and the person in the photo likely doesn’t know he’s being used to con women. Naturally, there are indeed some killer dudes out there looking for dates, but if you get a flirtatious message from a dude whose profile photo is beyond adorable, don’t rush in until you assess things a bit.

Another type of photo to beware of is one that just plain doesn’t look ‘right’ for your culture. If you live in the United States and you get a message from some boy who just doesn’t dress like guys do here (I eyed one of a middle-aged man in white pedal pushers and a red-striped T-shirt, on a sailboat), check him out further before moving on.

Women targeting guys: Often, the photos will be of amazingly sexy, youthful and beautiful. She thinks you’re the man of her desires, even if you’re in your 50s, overweight and no longer Mr. Hunk material. The photos can be overly provocative (the con artist wants to get your attention), or sometimes look less suggestive, but very exotic.

Studs who get online messages from much junior women should assess whether the purpose is financial and whether conning could be the motive. Certainly, there are successful relationships with age differences in the duo, but the anonymity an online venue provides makes potential victims even less able to evaluate the situation than in person. And we all know that many people end up being conned in person, too.

Beware of invitations to communicate directly very early in the relationship

What about you?

Do you think you can recognize an online con artist if you meet one?

Common ways dating scam artists behave

Since you very likely are not the one who initiated contact (by clicking on the profile and sending a message), your very first contact with them will likely be when the con artist send you a message wanting to meet you. Here are a few things to observe for:

They claim an instant attraction: If you get a message telling someone more or less fell for you the minute they read your profile, beware. They usually claim they read your fine (sweet, caring, whatever) profile and that they eyed how beautiful or adorable you are look and they want to meet you, because you might be the one for them. Potential victims have been known to get messages telling they’re beautifuor sexy when they haven’t even posted a photo, and comments about being sweet and terrific when the text in their profile is practically empty.

Instantly asking you to instant message or email: This is a giant, massive crimson flag. If you get a message from someone you’ve never connected with before and they include their email and IM address, run swift. Anyone upstanding on a dating site will not shove you into offline communication in their very first message. Online scam artists almost always thrust for this right off the bat. The reasons are numerous:

  • Better control over the conversation, and over you, they can instantly adapt to your responses and needs
  • They work in shifts – this permits someone in their little business to ‘talk’ with you, 24/7
  • They know they will get kicked off the site soon, this gives them a brief window of time to lure a victim into the direct communication crucial for their scams
  • Instant messages permit them to adapt their dialogue in ways that better entice the victim

The entire con job depends on being able to communicate with you directly, without going through the website. If you trade emails with them but you say you don’t do Instant Messaging, they may even go as far as creating an account for you and send you the username and password.

Instant messaging works better than emailing for these tricksters because they can create an air of immediacy and urgency, and they can lure you back to the conversation quickly. Emails are a very first step if you don’t go for the request to IM, but those are more difficult scams for the con artists to manage, because they know you may read them right away, or hours or days later.

Phone contact: The con artist may or may not ask you to talk by phone. Some are fairly good at pulling off the con job with no contact other than IM or email. This is especially significant if they have a distinct accent that would peak you off that they aren’t who they’ve represented themselves to be.

Laying the groundwork for the con: This will likely be a family emergency of some sort, such as the ‘son’ or ‘elderly parent’ needing surgery. It can also be an agreement to meet you in person, at your expense. These people have no conscience – this is their industry, they’ve honed their abilities and they’re good at it. Often, the con artist is very skilled at getting you to suggest whatever they want, they don’t even need to ask for it, you volunteer it.

Family crisis scams: At some point, often fairly early, they will begin setting the stage for an emergency that only you (and your money) can solve. They generally don’t ask for money directly (albeit they can). Instead, they lay out a script that appeals to your sympathy. The son or elderly parent abruptly gets sick, and they send you messages with regular updates, clearly demonstrating their anxiety. But the illness or the surgery they need isn’t covered by insurance. Or the only place that can perform the surgery is in another city, and they don’t have airfare to get there.

Note that these are fairly often indirect strategies. They do not openly ask for money – they simply begin the sob story (cautiously and leisurely) to suck you in and get you to suggest the help. You are introduced with the chance, not the specific request, in many cases. If you fail to suggest the help, they may get brazen enough to ask for it. But since they are actively pursuing other victims at the same time they’re conning you, why waste time going that far?

Travel cons: Another ploy is to woo and entice you to meet in person, but of course, you need to buy the tickets. They then cash in the tickets and take the money. Some victims have even been conned a 2nd or their time by claims that the tickets were stolen or had to be cashed in for an emergency. The con artist will keep draining the victim as long as possible. The groundwork for travel cons involves you sending them money to buy tickets (or sending the actual tickets) with a plan to meet somewhere else. Obviously, the con won’t work if you travel to where they live (for one thing, they most likely don’t indeed live there), because there would be no need to send them money for a ticket. There will be some reason they can’t meet you on their turf, they will agree to meet you somewhere else, but will not be able to afford the tickets for the journey.

Conning through business investments or purchases: Maybe their family business is in trouble – the elderly parent didn’t pay taxes right before they died and your fresh love will lose the business. Or they’ve got a good business that will take their entire family out of poverty, if only they have (pick a dollar amount) for licenses, government approval, plumbing in the building or some other expense.

Scamming money for debts or repairs: Con artists can introduce sad stories about debts they need to pay before they can marry someone, or car repairs they need in order to visit you or keep their job. They will claim they can’t leave the country until the debt is paid, or that they can’t leave their sickly relative without paying for health equipment they need.

An online dating scam can quickly empty your wallet

True stories of dating con artists and scammers

There are numerous real and fictitious examples of con artists at their best. Here are a few real-life and fiction examples that showcase how scammers do their work:

Faking a Terminal Illness: Jessica Vega has been indicted for fraud and grand larceny and is accused of faking leukemia in order to get others to pay for an expensive wedding and honeymoon. The case hasn’t been attempted yet, but the type of behavior she is accused of is similar to cons used on Internet dating sites (the fake illness ploy).

Boys also pose as women in order to con other guys. The youthful Nigerian in this news story claims he conned at least 33 studs out of millions of dollars.

Other instances have been reported as well, too numerous to catalog here. Older persons hoping for a relationship can be targeted by con artists who are much junior, such when A 69-year-old woman from the USA allegedly gave a 24-year-old man $221,000 toward funding an expense for the Olympic Games in London. The man, almost three times junior than she is, was arrested in an investigation of money laundering.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels clip: Early on, it’s clear Michael Caine’s character has his victim begging him to let her give him money

Movies about romantic deception and con artists

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: This classic movie, staring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, was later made into a successful Broadway musical. Albeit the movie is a comedy, the technologies used by the two lead characters are typical of the ‘conning through persuasion’ strategies used by professional con artists. Both characters slickly lie to their victims and set them up for their cons.

The clip here shows how Michael Caine’s character has wooed various women to con them out of money, then, through Steve Martin’s character pretending to be an out-of-control sibling, drives them away. This creates a situation where the victim finishes the relationship because it cannot be sustained, which means the con artist gets by with it. Please excuse the overdone character Steve Martin plays here, no offense is intended by demonstrating this clip.

Cushion Talk: This classic comedy features a fantastic man (Rock Hudson) deceiving an attractive woman (Doris Day) in the name of romance. The movie was so popular that the two starlets were paired in a subsequent film, Paramour Come Back, with a fresh spin on the same basic theme. Films of this type suggest to audiences that con artists can redeem themselves and be worthy mates.

HouseSitter: In the name of gender equality, we need to mention at least one female con-artist in the film industry. Goldie Hawn portrays a deceiving and manipulating con-artist via the entire movie. Typical of comedies, tho’. the audience loves her, as does the lead actor, Steve Martin. And, of course, they live cheerfully (if dishonestly) ever after.

Observe for indications they want you to sell something of value in order to provide them with money

What to do if you meet a con artist

If you’re on a dating site and you meet someone you believe might be a con artist, the following steps will help protect you as well as others on the site:

  • Report the user and his or her profile to the site administrators. Part of their job is to protect you and other potential victims. Often, site administrators have ways to see if the individual is indeed a scammer and they will delete the person’s profile.
  • Do NOT give this individual your email address, IM information or any other details that can personally identify you, such as your real name or where you work.
  • Block the person from contacting you on the site
  • Cease contact instantaneously, do not engage in messaging with them, and don’t look back

If the person has already engaged in what could be criminal activity, gather all data on how to locate and identify them and report it to the decent authorities. Their Instant Message address, email account, phone number, skype address and other channels through which they’ve contacted you can help the right authorities track them down.

Final words: If you’re on a dating site, go leisurely. It very likely took a lot of thought to join the site and put yourself “out there,” so don’t rush into anything when you embark meeting someone. It can make people giddy with excitement to think there are people all over the world, just waiting to meet them.

Take time to learn about the individual the same way you would in person. See for the warning signs as well as the good signs, and don’t be afraid to back away if crimson flags commence appearing.

© 2010 by Marcy Goodfleisch, MA. Marcy has researched and trained university-level courses about ethics, sociopathic behaviors and other subjects. This article was originally researched in 2008, written in 2010 and subsequently published on this site.


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Marcy Goodfleisch Two years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks, David – hope this helps people avoid the traps!

Nice to see the update here for online dating.

Marcy Goodfleisch Trio years ago from Planet Earth

This is true, ScamPolice – and the same goes for masculine profiles. You’re right that some sites create fictitious profiles just to attract victims. They’ll use stock photos (or photos of someone who doesn’t know their pic is being used) and then create artificial lives. It’s beyond evil for people to con their victims romantically as well as financially.

Thanks for reading the hub, and for your comment!

ScamPolice Three years ago from Vermont

A large number of female profile on dating sites are fake. Especially on smaller, less known sites. These website owners will often ",make up", people that are very attractive so their site doesn’t look empty.

I indeed don’t know if it real she keeps asking for more pictures is that bad I don’t know. It feels to good to be true

Marcy Goodfleisch Three years ago from Planet Earth

So sorry if I’ve busted you, da real scammer. Guess you’ll have to find another way to earn money. Here’s a peak, while you’re spinning your wheels, look up the words Honesty, Integrity, Truth, Sincerity, and all related synonyms. Maybe they’ll lead to a fresh career path.

Meantime, I’m hoping your post was in jest . . .

de real scammer Trio years ago

marcy why are you doing this to us .this is what we do to meet finishes meet and you are here broadcasting it for americans to see how foolish and dumb they are

Marcy Goodfleisch Three years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks so much for reading &, commenting, SandCastles!

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Many thanks, Ologsinquito! I appreciate your kind words – so glad you liked the hub!

ologsinquito Four years ago from USA

Good job, this certainly deserved to be HOTD. I love reading your articles.

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Renee – Depending on where you live, there are indeed laws about stalking. Do an Internet search for information on the definition in your state or country. You can begin making regular complaints (with specific details), to develop the trail of evidence. You might also contact a center for manhandled women to see what channels they’re aware of. They may not be able to help you directly (unless you’re in instant danger), but they should know applicable laws and resources. Some things are not legally considered stalking, but some are.

Best of luck – I hope you find some local sources for help.

Does anyone have advice or contact information for an agency that will ACTUALLY do something about a con man that I fell for Trio years ago?

Only dated 8 months, but he STILL is harassing, stalking &, stealing from me!

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Oh, Pipercat, I am so sorry. I was also the victim of marriage fraud, and it’s a devastating practice. In every way. You’re in my prayers. The only options that come to mind are perhaps the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), or perhaps help from a high-profile internship group at a major university. Earnestly, I’d contact the top tier law professors – some might love taking on this issue. That’s how some death row cases have been overturned.

Have you considered contacting 2020 or 60 Minutes? I assure that the government in NZ would not want the negative publicity.

Best of luck – and let us know what happens. Take care of yourself, and don’t hesitate to get some helpful counseling if it’s available.

I’m going through this now but it’s worst. it’s marriage fraud and he had me budge to fresh zealand. tampered with my paperwork and when i came back to canada for a brief while found out that i couldn’t go back. everything i own is there and he’s laughing all the way to the bank. he took all my money and belongings as i moved a container to fresh zealand. since he works for the justice department, he’s be getting all kinds of unethical help from co-workers and the like. my life is ruined, i’m now living with my mom, i can’t even get a lawyer as i have no money and i can’t get help from canada.. the sad thing is the governments are both so ignorant there are no rules/agreements inbetween the Two commonwealth countries and i imagine more. i can’t even get help from the police because we are married.

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

@BillyBuc – thanks, Dear Friend, for reading and for your kind comments! So glad you liked the hub.

@mythbuster – I agree, the plethora of those sites is panicking. It’s even more scary when you realize there are some entire cultures that have determined they’re good places to scam people. If you send money overseas, you will likely never get it back, even through legal channels, because there are few ways to track it after it’s left the USA. Some sites even use religion to ‘sell’ their services by implying people will find the mate God picked for them.

@LoveDoctor – Many thanks for your kind remarks! I should check out your hubs, it sounds like you touch on similar topics!

@Hui – I’m so glad you recognized there were dangers (or issues with honesty) and backed away from unfortunate situations. It takes a lot of strength to say ‘no’ to something that seems to suggest all you’ve ever wished in life (but that has crimson flags).

@ChitragadaSharan – Thanks for reading, and for your comments! Yes, vigilant is a good word for it. Almost every week, we read about online scams of some sort, and our hearts are not immune to those scams.

Chitrangada Sharan Four years ago from Fresh Delhi, India

Congratulations Marcy Goodfleisch, for a well deserved HOTD, for a very well written article!

It is an eye opener for people interested in Online dating. While there are innumerable advantages of the Internet, it requires us to remain a little cautious and vigilant as well.

Well done and voted up!

A hot social issue in common life, and you make it as a superb hub in details. I believe that not few people can benefit from these knowledgeable information. I am totally against online dating, by the way. I used to have such chances and almost made it upon those impractical ideas from some romantic movies, but I blew them off at the last minute I pulled myself back to reality.

Look beyond the photo before you take the bait. This is so true. Looks can be deceiving. Excellent hub. You couldn’t have said it better.

mythbuster Four years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Determine

Fine article and thorough warnings, etc but there are oh, so many date sites online now! I see television commercials advertising date sites online as the ",fresh revolutionary way", to select a LIFE Playmate. I’m not sure some of our technology is even good for us anymore. Building cyber dating relationships over face to face interaction – I know it’s just the way things are going, so I’m glad this article has been written to point out the numerous dangers of online dating scams. Thanks for sharing.

Bill Holland Four years ago from Olympia, WA

Congratulations on the HOTD. well-deserved, Marcy!

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

@CyclingFitness – I had not heard of sites paying people to submit profiles (I am not astonished, tho’). I do think there are sites that look for ‘marketable’ people for various demographics, such as good-looking guys to attract women, or vice versa. Just another reason to avoid these sites, I think.

@Randy Godwin – Thanks so much for reading and commenting! You can call me Mary anytime you want to. Snakes count with me, and you’re one of my favorites! I love your writing.

@John Sarkis – Hi, John – I appreciate your votes and the share! Thanks for pulling down by and reading!

@Cherry – You are indeed fortunate to have met someone worthy. I’ve seen the sick kid tricks, the ‘widowed’ guys who claim to have one son (always eight-years-old, I noticed), and I know of studs who were scammed by women with sickly grandparents. They’re absolute masters at it, and they know how to build the scam leisurely rather than hopping in and making it demonstrable. Thanks for your comments here.

Well I was into online dating Ten years ago and these are all the same crimson flags that were going on at that time. Wanting to instant talk with you especially on yahoo, having dead parents, or a deceased child. Seems nothing now had switched either. So glad I met my hubby.

John Sarkis Four years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Marcy, very nice hub. Congrats! Voted up and sharing!

Randy Godwin Four years ago from Southern Georgia

A very thorough article which is worth to be HOTD! I’m very pleased this hub has been chosen as such. Congrats Mary. er. I mean Marcy.:P

Liam Hallam Four years ago from Nottingham UK

One of the fattest cons I’ve found of online dating involves sites like There are sites that suggest payment for you to put a profile up on there which leads you to thinking- How many of the profiles are actually real as these scams make the sites seem more popular than they actually are in reality.

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks so much for your comments, Paradigmsearch, and for sharing the hub! I am honored it was selected for HOTD, there are so many excellent hubs on this site!

Bobbi – I need to read your hub – it sounds like it covers some information mine doesn’t address. I like the idea of background checks. I am not sure how a site could verify the right person was being researched (maybe they should get the NSA involved? Just kidding!). I joined a few church sites, and there was no way to assure people were actually members of the church, so there were some indeed bad apples on it.

PurvisBobbi44 Four years ago from Florida

This is very informative for the ones who do date online. I have done hours of research about online dating sites as I did a hub on it. And, I also warned to never join a site that did not do background checks on the members and verify their information. And, I would even desire Drug Screening for the local sites.

However, you have gone even further about the scams and the creeping evil fungi bottom-feeders who prey on trusting women and studs. This is fine and I hope the ones who are looking online read this and keep this information to judge their online use and can learn to read inbetween the lines.

Thanks for this hub and have a wonderful week.

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Sunshine! Thanks for reading the hub, and for your kind words! I’m sort of in the ‘banned the sites for life’ mode right now, but I have indeed met good friends of both genders on the sites I’ve visited. Mixed feelings, I guess?

@ Suzettenaples – As many others have said, there are some success stories on those sites. I think it’s like driving a car, you have to know the road you’re on, and recognize the dark alleys if you see one. Hope this information is helpful, if you do attempt the sites!

@ Purpose Embraced – Thanks so much for your comments, and for passing along the information! Those who are in the dating mode do need to know what to avoid.

@ KoraleeP – Oh yes, I have embarked getting those odd FB messages, too! I don’t know how they find us there. I do know that some people have fallen for people on the dating sites, and also on Facebook. How I wish there were a way to ban them from the entire Internet. Thanks for your comments!

Person of Interest Four years ago from SoCal, USA

Congrats on the Hub of the Day! And this article will save a lot of people a lot of problems. In fact, I’ve even collective it.

Koralee Phillips Four years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

I recognize those messages you talked about at the beginning of your Hub. I’m not on a dating site, but sometimes I get random messages like that on Facebook, in my ",other messages", section.

Excellent tips and warnings for online dating sites and what to witness out for.

Yvette Stupart PhD Four years ago from Jamaica

This is a good hub. It is well written with a lot of relevant information. I am not in the dating game, but will surely pass it on to others who will find it useful. Thanks for sharing an excellent hub.

Suzette Walker Four years ago from Taos, NM

Marcy: Congratulations on HOTD. I liked reading this and you give some excellent advice and tips for the lovelorn. I have been hesitant to use any of these dating web-sites. I know there have been some successes, but to weed out all the milks takes so much time and effort. You have covered it all in the scam department.

Linda Bilyeu Four years ago from Orlando, FL

Excellent advice and tips Marcy! I have a few friends who used online dating. Some are joyfully married, some have banned the sites from their lives. I hope I never need to use them. Congrats on the HOTD!

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Patrick – I’m not sure if you mean you’re shocked at her knowing your name, or that there was a response that met your request. If the picture includes a woman, and if she’s part of a scamming operation, what very likely happened was that whomever fondles the scam has women he can use for photo ops. If you had not exposed your name, that would indeed be creepy. It’s possible she (or they) could have gotten your name from a social site or picked it together somehow from other information. If you’re on IM, I have heard (but not verified) that people can hack into your computer that way. I’m not sure that’s the case (we would hear people screaming about it), but since hackers can even install webcam software and operate it remotely, just about anything can happen.

If you feel these are scammers, get as much of their information as possible and report them to every possible agency.

I have a situation she is a beautiful woman from Ghana. I am sure she is scammer but was shocked today I asked to write my name on a large chunk of paper and send me a picture and she did it. Any thoughts?

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Well, it sure walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. I think you dodged a bullet, Roniti – glad you spotted his true colors. Yikes!

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks, Oldiesmusic – the con artists who do it regularly are pros at it. They learn fresh mechanisms each time they con someone, so their energy is spent in perfecting their lies. I’m glad you found useful information here, and I hope you never meet one of these creeps in person.

Ronit Zemach Four years ago

I almost fell into the trap of honey by email . amazing . until he fell in love .. this by email

Thanks for answering my calls.. I missed you so much.. when we were talking.. mine colleague was with me.. I don&rsquo,t want them to listen to our little financial issue.. Roniti, why I called you I was having some little issue, Because my Business visa, has expired, that was the reason why I called you.. But it wasn&rsquo,t something I needed to share with you.. Roniti, I need some few token of your helped.. Because I don&rsquo,t know who I can share my issue with.. Sorry about yesterday.. I didn&rsquo,t gota the chance to write because of the issued that was tabled.. Graciously give me your urgent response.. Love you..

Have a Blessed evening.. Love always.. Moses————

oldiesmusic Four years ago from United States

Jesus Christ! After I read this hub and the stories of the commentors. it’s indeed unbelievable, they have the ",face", to do that kind of scam. And some of them cite that they work and travel in Africa. Now I know their style. Thanks for your warnings. I sometimes talk with a lot of guys, flirt with them, but there’s nothing serious so far. Now I have to be cautious. Thanks! Up and collective 🙂

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks for those insights, Alexander! I like your stir of letting them know you’re onto the Ghana thing. I have also seen people who claim to not drink or smoke, and their pictures display otherwise. I guess the scammers don’t filter their material very well?

Alexander Maximilian Four years ago

One more funny thing. I noticed some irregularities such as they say ",I never drink alcohol", and in a profile pic they have a glass of wine. Too funny, sometimes if I’m bored I’ll scrupulously waste their time, and lead them on. Ha ha ha.

Alexander Maximilian Four years ago

I have become fairly adept at knowing who they are. I have actually put in my profile info ",If you are from Ghana, I am not your loser! Do not waste my time, nor yours.", And when I get IM’s they are not slow to state they’re in Ghana, and then I say ",I know about Ghana, Goodbye", But I report the false profile before palm.

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Oh, gosh – yes, that has all the earmarks of the scammers. They are always temporarily working in another country, and usually it’s Africa. The reason they expose that right away is so it won’t come as a surprise when there’s an ’emergency’ and they need money. Or when their fake son, mother, grandparent (whatever) needs an operation. Or when they claim they need money for a ticket to come and see you.

His claim of only recently moving to your area is so there won’t be a way to check him out locally. These people are beyond dishonest – indeed awful. If there’s some way to get his IP info or whatever, you could perhaps report him to federal agencies. Be sure to report him to the dating site and get him banned.

Run like heck. And do not IM with anyone like that. I’ve heard they can hack into computers from that, but I’m not sure. As for the flowery poems, I’m sure he’s sent those to many women. It’s sickening.

I think I am being scammed from someone who I met on a local dating site. Said he lived about 30 minutes away., however he is in ",AFRICA", for 1 month drilling wells. He also wants to talk on yahoo messenger. He hasn’t asked for money yet. But he has began the flowery/romantic/poems. I almost want to fucktoy with him but it wouldn’t be fair to him. His answers are very vague and says he just recently moved to my area from Washington only Two months before he left for AFRICA. So does’t truly reaction questions I ask him about that area. Anyhow. Thought I would share. I will say he is charming BUT WILL NOT waste my time messaging him anymore.

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Marion – I sure relate to what your mom is experiencing. There are some organized scam operations on most dating sites, and they’re getting better every year at sounding normal and fair. I’ll send up some prayers for your mother to spot the bad apples and to find the jewels who are out there. Thanks for your comments!

marion langley Four years ago from The Explore

I love how you approached this from both sides to equip and protect as many people as possible. Vote up! My Mom just entered the dating field after being divorced from her 25 year marriage and she’s been complaining a lot about scams she’s running into. From what she hears from friends, who were scammed with rebound marriages, she’s also going to insist on a prenup if she marries again. Scary online dating world out there. Hope I can keep my marriage together so I don’t find myself in it. thanks for writing.

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Holy Cow! Tattuwrun – you came so close to getting scammed! Thank you, so much, for posting this first-person account of how these guys operate. This is exactly the type of con artist this article discusses, and having a ‘real life’ example is so helpful. I’m so, so glad you recognized what was going on before it hurt you – either financially or emotionally. Good for you.

I reminisce having ",dated", someone I never even met yet — and gladly I didn’t. While managing my account at a social media site, I received a private message from a dude and introduced himself.

I looked at his profile pic — the fellow looked ruggedly killer, at least on that photo.

He was seeking friendship with me, and I embarked corresponding with him.

And after that he would send me more PM’s, and his words were becoming more romantic, flowery and sultry. He said he would please my needs sexually, emotionally and financially — and that he’s living a comfy life, does travelling as a hobby. He even recounted his past ",tragedies", (such as how his parents died in an accident that left him as an orphan, you know, those kind of sob stories). He would call me up almost every morning.

I wasn’t fairly falling for him yet but I found him charming. He said he would be ready to fly very soon to my country and visit me. He even said he was going to marry me, and buy a ring for me.

So for me. I just went with the flow, tho’ I was commencing to like him very much. I just had to see how it would go.

Until one time he PM’d me. He said he was in ",Africa", for a ",stopover",, but he added that he was detained because he lacked certain documents in order for to get himself bailed. And you know what? He said the authorities also needed money, and he said he didn’t have anymore to pay them. So he was asking me for money, I said I didn’t have much of that to save him. He insisted that I ask my friends and officemates for money — even a check or a voucher, etc. or else he wouldn’t be able to get out of ",Africa", and make his ",marriage proposal",.

He was more persistent in sending me mails about the ",bail money",. All the romantic talk faded.

At very first I was genuinely worried about his so-called suffering. Until. Hey, wait a minute. I realized that this stud was about to con me. So I replied to his offline messages and began taunting at him for days. Boooo. He didn’t reply to my messages and never bothered me again.

I was almost a victim.. I’m glad I had the mind not to fall into this trap.

I’m also glad you publish this hub, so that people will never be victims of this scam. Voted up and useful. 🙂

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, AmandaJon – it’s good to hear a success story! Naturally, many of us know of glad couples who met online and later married. It’s the con artists who make things difficult for people, however, which is what is being addressed here. Thanks for pulling down by and commenting!

Amanda Jones Four years ago

Excellent hub, very useful tips! This is so sad that people manipulate other people’s emotions to get money from them, this is shocking!

One should olways be aware of risks he can run into.

But I have met my spouse online Five years ago, we still together and very blessed. So for joining a dating site was one othe the best decisions in my life.

Don’t let those con artist stop you from finding a date online, be careful and keep looking, Good luck!

Marcy Goodfleisch Four years ago from Planet Earth

Wow – thanks for sharing this real-life practice – and good job in spotting the signs before you got defrauded. How I wish these people would be caught and prosecuted.

I have just become a victim of this, however, i realise that things weren’t right when he claimed his 6 year old son had been hit by a motorcycle and was in hospital with injuries he couldn’t pay for. I strung him along for the rest of the time. Even told him i was on the next flight with money to help. Eventually, i fronted him about it and very first he denied it, then admitted it. I was actually attempting to get details from him about who the dude he was posing as, who the pictures were of, have attempted various sites to switch roles search the pics myself and cannot find him, only one site in oregon might have one pic. Lessons learnt, this site is very accurate. He was a man with a business working abroad, with a 6 year old son, claiming to live in London, when he was running everything from Nigeria.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Dancingpopes – thanks for your very informative comment here. I think many women (and some fellows) would like a place where they could ‘blacklist’ the bad apples. It’s very true that being scammed out of your emotions is a painful practice – and it takes a long time to recover. If we could figure out what makes some people treatment relationships with dishonestly, we would get rich!

Dancingpopes Five years ago

Excellent site! I wish a site could be created listing the names of guys and women from these sites like POF and MATCH who claim they want a relationship and tell you how excellent you are, etc, but JUST want hook-up, or tell you how good you are, meet you, and pretend to like you because they think you have money, only to find out you don’t and abruptly they’re gone.

That would border on slander, I’m sure, and some people would list names out of spite, but wouldn’t it be good in a ideal world if there could be a list of these people to check.

Not a Undoubtedly SCAMMERS list, but just a BE VERY CAUTIOUS if you talk with these people list.

Sad, isn’t it, how we women 40+ want to believe a boy. I’ve never been scammed out of money, I’ve been scammed of my feelings.

Indeed, if a boy just wants hook-up, why can’t he just ASK for it so we know AHEAD of time that its just going to be physical adult joy.

Why must they go through the bulls— of telling you how wonderful you are, what superb chemistry you have, and what a fine team you’d make?

Ah well. I’ve got a few names I’d love to commence the list with.

These Two I don’t believe are BAD fellows, but any woman that deals with them needs to use CAUTION so that they don’t get their feelings hurt–because that Truly lowers a woman’s self esteem.

I won’t name them, but ladies just BE CAUTIOUS of VERY good looking 40-42 year old boys from Boston, Vermont, and Enfield, CT.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

I’m so sorry you went through that, Jan – I know of others who have been conned, and it hurts on so many levels. How I wish there were lighter ways to spot these milks.

Good information, I wish I had read this before I gave my money to a con artist. He had my heart now I’m hurt and not trusting. He talked to me for hours months m Im and phone lie after lie protect yourself. I no longer will use dating sites.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Graham – thanks for your kind words of support! It’s very sad to see the enhancing instances of dating scams every year. Many of them are cottage industries in Third-World countries where groups of people troll websites (dating or otherwise) and send enticing messages. I guess the odds work in their favor, when they generate thousands of contacts but ultimately get big money when they pull someone into their net.

Graham Lee Five years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Marcy. Congratulations on this wonderful hub. It is so informative and helpful. I don’t need the services of these websites but a person who might, would do so well to read and absorb your efforts.

Voted up and all.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, HubbinNubbin – I don’t personally have info on foreign sites – but I do know there are slew of scammers who use sites based in the US but they live in other countries. This might be a good topic for either the Answers section on this site, or the Forum. Good luck – and be careful!

Jessica Weyland Five years ago from Madison

I am presently working outside the USA in Germany and I have began using some of the German Online Dating Sites. As my German is still much desired for, it has been a long journey for me to determine what is real and what is not. I was wondering if you guys have any tips in recognizing foreign online dating page scams? Like the technicalities, without having to know the language well? Example of one of the pages I have found:

It looks pretty trustworthy to me, what do you guys think?

I am just beginning out as a blogger by the way, if you guys have any tips or advice, contact me – I am always looking for fresh friends 🙂

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Becky – that’s a indeed fine question – the only thing I can figure is that they find photos online, or scan good-quality magazine shots and use those. I’ve seen photos that were certainly part of a masculine model’s portfolio. They will stoop to anything to get someone’s attention and hook them in.

where do these scammers get the pictures that they post on their profile. i know its not them. are they pictures of deceased people?

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Stephen – that is so true, those sites are money-makers. Now I am hearing of people attempting to scam others on this site by contacting them personally about relationships or money. And, I just got a message from a stranger on LinkedIn that sounded all too fishy.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

StephenCowry Five years ago

Dating sites are actually all over the net. Individuals must not be too desperate to find a date. Tips mentioned in your hub are a fine help! Thanks for sharing it for everyone’s benefit.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

I agree, MsKrysma – the hurts from these predators last for years. It is the worst form of deception. Thanks so much for reading and commenting – I look forward to your hubs!

It’s sad and very wrong for con artists to hurt others who are just looking for love. I hope people recongnize the signs that someone is not right for them beofre they do get hurt.

Angela Blair Five years ago from Central Texas

All’s good here, sweet Marcy — and we totally agree — the con artists are not only another breed they’re downright scary. Best/Sis

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Sis – it’s good to see you! Thanks for reading and commenting here. I’ve been on a few sites, too, which is how I was able to research this hub. There are indeed people of both genders looking for money and a caretaker (they generally want marriage, in order to get the caretaker benefits). The con artists are yet another breed – they’re only out to scam people, right from the begin. Either way, it’s discouraging to sift through all that in the hopes of finding the diamond amongst the lumps of coal.

Thanks for reading and commenting! Hope all is well with you!

Angela Blair Five years ago from Central Texas

Excellent work and research,Marcy. I attempted a duo of dating sites years ago just for joy. Found there’s a lot of guys looking for women my age — they need a nurse or a purse and I wasn’t available for either. Certainly voted up — Best/Sis

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Alocsin – what a good peak about identifying photos! You always have the best information about the ins and outs of Internet use – thanks for sharing this!

alocsin Five years ago from Orange County, CA

I think in matters of the heart, people aren’t so wary as they should be. These tips should be very helpful. As for the fake photo, if you haul a photo from a website into Google Photos, it’ll will display you where the photo is from. Voting this Up and Useful.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks so much for your comment here, adjkp – I’m glad you never had to be exposed to this type of thing. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

David Five years ago from Northern California

I’m so appreciative that I met my wifey youthfull and didn’t go the online dating route. I have heard about people falsifying their profiles but, after reading this, there is so much more for people to be aware of.

Voted up and useful.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks for your comment here, Margie – and I am so sorry your gf has run into those issues. It is disheartening to see what happens in the name of dating. Thanks for reading and sharing!

Mmargie1966 Five years ago from Gainesville, GA

I’m so glad I’m not dating anymore. However, I have a ton of girlfriends who are. One in particular has gotten herself into some deep trouble – TWICE! One was a physical threat and the other stole her money.

Thank you for writing this, Marcy! I will certainly share it. and voted up!

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Allie – it’s so sad to hear of the people who’ve been hurt through these dishonest schemers. I know there are decent people on those sites, too, but people need to be aware of the not-so-good users as well.

Many thanks for your thoughts on this!

alliemacb Five years ago from Scotland

I’m glad you’ve put this information together. Like others who have commented, I have heard so many horror stories about this. The unfortunate thing about online dating is that people can represent themselves in any way they choose so you truly don’t know for sure what you’re getting with these. Voted up and useful.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Oooh – that is creepy, to get contacted on this site. I had an odd message early on from someone asking me for private help, but not the ‘Hi, you’re adorable’ stuff. I hope you reported this to the moderators? The person very likely contacted several Hubbers. These con artists hit up anywhere they can get messages to people.

Thanks for sharing this – and for commenting here!

Nell Rose Five years ago from England

Hi, its funny that you should mention the ‘divorced with a son’ thing. I actually received an email the other day from a fresh ‘hubbber’ he hasn’t written anything yet, who said, ‘I think you are nice, can you email me? I am divorced with a son and so on! I felt like writing back and telling, this isn’t a dating site, but I didn’t want him to know my email. I would never trust these sites, I have heard to many horror stories. I have observed programs on tv about women who give out thousands of pounds so that the stud can come over to the uk, or meet them abroad, and they never find them again after losing all that money. I feel like jiggling them for their stupidity! but then I feel sorry for them for their loneliness and desperation.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Kittyjj – I truly hope you never need these, too! And I hope, if they need them, the information here helps your friends avoid these con artists!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Ann Leung Five years ago from San Jose, California

Excellent tips on online dating. Hopefull I won’t be needing it however. But I am glad to share them with my friends who I think might be interested.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, drbj – I’m so glad you like the hub (and the movie – which I love, by the way!). Thanks for your comments!

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Wow – what a story, Aviannovice! You should write about that practice – I’m so glad you gave that example here. The con artists are experts, they know what will work (how to get the money), and will quickly stir on if they can’t get cooperation. I met one woman who paid a man’s way to the USA, with the plan they would marry. He didn’t even had standing in the church. The emotional recovery is so traumatic for people who have been conned. And then of course they’ve been bruised financially, too.

Thank you for sharing this! You are so wise to have figured it out before you were taken advantage of.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, SandraBusby – I appreciate you kind comments, so glad you like the hub!

drbj and sherry Five years ago from south Florida

Very realistic cautions, Marcy, for those who wish to utilize online dating sites. Thanks for the ‘Scoundrels’ clip – I had forgotten how funny that movie truly was.

Deb Hirt Five years ago from Stillwater, OK

The profiles are good, because they belonged to someone else that got turned off by the dating site because there was a scammer. The scammer already had their info, so voila! I ran into a duo of those losers. One dumb enough to send ",form", letters with all the misspellings, and one that left behind who he was and sent the same letter under another name. They are generally tied to western Africa, like Ghana or Nigeria. Mine claimed to be half Cuban and half Nigerian, living in CA. By the way, they didn’t get a nickel from me, tho’ the attempt was made. Claimed mom was in the hospital in Nigeria and the US check wouldn’t be accepted as it had to clear. I knew what was going to happen and I suggested my Visa, but the hospital had to contact me. I was flatly refused and told it had to be Western Union or nothing. So I said, okay,nothing it is. And that was the end of that.

Sandra Busby Five years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Excellent hub. Thanks for all your research, a quality I have come to expect and love in your hubs.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Karthikkash – I did some research on this a few years ago, and the scams were indeed effortless to spot. Now, that’s not the case. They’ve gotten experienced at writing good profiles and they know photos are significant. So people need to scrutinize the package, and then witness behaviors cautiously. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Prasetio – your friend is right to alert you to the risks. There are some good and worthy people on the sites, but since those sites are one of the main venues for predators, it’s significant to take care. Thanks for commenting here!

prasetio30 Five years ago from malang-indonesia

Actually I truly interested with online dating, but my friend said that I must be careful with kind of dating site. There are many scams out there. I commenced with free online dating site,but it’s more bad. Tho’ we can find legitimate company which provide truly information for the member of their site. Thanks for share with us. Marcy, I learn many things here. Rated up and useful!

Karthik Kashyap Five years ago from India

good work Marcy. I’ve been on dating sites on and off and thought I was decent enough in spotting scamsters. But this hub made me think twice. Certainly made me be more careful on dating sites. Thanks a lot 🙂 Voted up and bookmarked.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, fpherj – thanks for your thoughtful and sultry comment here! I hope you caution your friends and loved ones to take care of themselves. So many people are too trusting, and that’s what the con artists bank on happening.

Marcy Goodfleisch Five years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Homesteadbound – yes, it is truly heartbreaking that people use dating to con their victims. It has been around for centuries, but the Internet has made it far too effortless to find victims and pull it off.

Thanks for reading and commenting – I think this will proceed to be a problem, unluckily!

Paula Five years ago from Beautiful Upstate Fresh York

Marcy. Dating sites have become Hefty business (profit). They’re advertised everywhere and have expanded to particular ",groups", eg. ",Christian", etc.

From Day one of their inception, when they were in the private ads of the local newpaper w/ a P.O. Box to react to. (yeah, that’s a brilliant idea) I have never failed to feel the goosebumps up &, down my spine. &, not in a GOOD way!

They don’t call me ",Miss-Jaded-suspicious-untrusting-cynical-use-the-polygraph-Paula, without good reason.

I’m well aware thousands of people shop online for their friends, dates and paramours. I even personally KNOW several couples who found their ",soul mate", this way. Oh barf.

Sometimes we get fortunate. Wonderful. Throw the rice, wish them luck and witness them rail off into the sunset.

This hub is excellent and it’s all valuable info for cyber-daters to be aware of. Some of the sad but true horror stories that have been the result of far too many of these ",arrangements", should be warning enough for anyone.

But, as we humans proceed to remain true to nature. ",This would NEVER happen to me.",

Here’s my take. the unsolicited advice I love to give single women: ",IF you’re too busy with work and activities and responsibilities, to have the time to MEET eligible dudes AND IF you believe that the ones you are meeting and/or dating are losers, creeps &, perverts.

What on earth makes you think you’ll have the TIME to develop a relationship with Mr.Stud Muffin, once you meet him. and that he wouldn’t be a loser-creep-pervert all flipped into one dude named, ",Lumpy?",

Cindy Murdoch Five years ago from Texas

Wow! So much to think about and consider . Dating is rough enough without having to worry about all of this stuff and getting scammed. It is so sad we live in a world where trust has pretty well gone out the window!

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