Hello everyone! Diyana here.
How’s everyone doing right now? It’s Day 13 of the Movement Control Order (MCO). That means everyone has to stay and work at home. My family and I are doing fine. I’m just hoping that this will pass & everything will resume to normal. Although, I’m not surprised if the MCO will be extended (again). I’m curious about how other countries are doing. Are you guys in an MCO like Malaysia or a total lockdown? Let me know in the comments below.
Internet Love Scams
Internet love scams are not new. They have been existing for a long time. Internet love scams work by manipulating the victim’s feelings in order to get money.
Internet love scams work like this:
- Scammer follows the victim’s social media account(s) and sends a private message to the victim
- Scammer tries to gain the victim’s trust by way of flattery
- This may take weeks or months to gain the victim’s trust
- After that, the scammer will tell the victim sob stories (normally financial problems) and pleads to the victim to borrow money
- Normally, it will start with a really low amount and the amount will gradually increase
- Sometimes, the amount will be really high on the spot coupled with guilt trip or sympathy plea
- If the victim agreed, the scammer receives money and disappear
Despite law enforcement and NGOs spreading awareness about internet love scams, people still get duped. It seems that internet love scammers know how to pick their victims. They also know how to manipulate their victims in doing their biddings.
How to Spot Internet Love Scams
Internet love scams are serious and rampant all over the world. However, we shouldn’t be afraid of them. We as netizens ought to be aware of their modus operandi and their persona. Which is super easy as they don’t really change their tactics. Here a few common traits that I either experienced or read about internet love scams so it’s easier for you to spot internet love scams.
Social Media Profile Username
This may or may not be a dead giveaway. Their social media profile username is almost always the most basic and generic names ever. They are always stylised like this:
For example Derek1233343213 or SarahJane22434xoxo
If anyone with this kind of username adds you as their friend or follows your social media accounts, 85% they are fake profiles out to scam you. However, I take note that some of the profiles with this username are legit due to some circumstances (:: coughs :: WayV :: coughs ::) but it’s rare.
Scammers tend to have a good grasp of English with constant grammatical errors. Most of the time, it’s noticeable and also cringey especially when the scammer claims to come from English speaking countries like USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand or based there.
‘High Paying Careers’
Another trait is that they tend to claim that they have high flying (and high paying) careers or professionals. Careers like entrepreneurs, engineers, lawyers, pilots, doctors and architects are popular choices for scammers. Bonus point if that job requires them to travel a lot (including travel blogger?).
Social Media Posts
Their posts tend to demonstrate rich, glamourous and high flying life. Their faces are of course, either really beautiful or really handsome. Spoiler alert: all of the photos are stolen from somewhere. You can double-check to be sure but honestly, most of the time you can tell.
They will either smooth talk at the very beginning or wait it out to cloud your suspicion. Whatever it is, the smooth talk is there.
At first, they will ask you basic questions like your age, your job, your hobbies and your relationship status. If you’re single/divorced or widowed, they’ll try to get you. They started saying things like “Why is a good looking person like you still single?” If they managed to catch that you’re ambitious and in the process of chasing your dreams or hustling, they will say, “I love a person who’s hardworking.”
The goal of the flattery is that the scammers are trying to get to your good side and manipulate you from there. They will feed you things like how they miss you, how you are the best-looking person ever and how lonely they are in their mansion and wish that they could share it with you.
Internet love scams are not complete without sob stories. Their sob stories are always, always, always about financial difficulties (cause they’re scamming for your money, duh!). For example, they would either say things like they got into an accident and have no cash in hand to pay the bills.
Alternatively, they will say things like they’re in a meeting and they need to deposit some sort of certificate but they’re short on cash and will always ask you to either deposit a fixed amount or any amount that you can afford to help them. They would always promise to pay you back but we all know that once they got the money, they’ll disappear.
To summarise, the elements or ingredients that you should look out for when trying to spot internet love scams are as follow:
- Their username tend to be basic and generic
- Fluency in English but with obvious grammatical errors
- Claiming to be in high-paying professional careers that sometimes require them to travel frequently
- Displaying lavish and luxurious lifestyle
- Having a really good-looking appearance (stolen photos alert!)
- Smooth talkers with heavy use of flattery
- Tragic sob stories that require the transfer of money
Those are just the basic things you need to know how to spot internet love scams. I know this is a very simplistic post but I do believe that those are the basics that you can identify when trying to spot internet love scams. Not all internet love scams are created equal but ALL internet love scams basically have the same ingredients. It’s all about identifying them.
Anybody has any experience dealing with internet love scams or has any tips on how to deal with them? Please let me know in the comments below.