Dating and romance scams try to lower your defences by appealing to your romantic or compassionate side.
Some of these scams work by setting up a dating website where you pay for each email or message you send and receive. The scammer will send a whole series of vague-sounding emails filled with gushing talk of love or desire. The scammer might also send emails filled with details of their home country or town that do not refer to you much at all. These are all attempts to keep you writing back and paying money for use of the scammer’s dating website.
Of course, there are many legitimate dating websites, but scammers can target these too.
You might be approached by someone who claims they are terribly poor or have a very sick family member and are in the depths of despair (often these scammers claim to be from Russia or Eastern Europe). After they have sent you a few messages, and maybe even a glamorous photo, you will be asked (directly or more subtly) to send them money to help their situation. Some scammers even arrange to meet with you, in the hope that you give them presents or money, and then they disappear.
In other cases, the scammer might start off by building a rapport with you, perhaps even sending you flowers or other small gifts. After building up a ‘relationship’, the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money they need to transfer out of their country, or that they want to share with you. They will then ask for your banking details or money for an administrative fee or tax that they claim needs to be paid to free up the money. This is a variation on the Nigerian 419 scam. Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money.
Drop me a comment if you have more thoughts.