Love Scams: Your Cute Smile’s Downside

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Love scams are popping up all sorts of places now.  I managed to have an online presence for two years before someone hit on me, but now it’s a habit to blow them off.  Why am I getting them?  They claim because I have a nice smile on my avatar, but they think they smell opportunity:  money or data.

How love scams work

This guy (by default I say “guy” though we can’t know for sure) sends a message to you on your favorite social medium.  Sometimes he just emails you instead, if he can.  His opening line could be as simple as “Hello” or as complicated as “I saw your picture on Website and wanted to let you know I think you are beautiful.”

The weird part is that the guy’s picture is generally young-looking, handsome.  He might call himself a Prince if he’s foreign.  If he claims to be American he will say he’s deployed to Afghanistan or some other war zone.  Bottom line is the guy tells you he’s far away, hints at being a bit exotic, and tries to be attractive to you.

And these “hot young dudes” just can’t get enough of us old ladies.

So while you’re wondering what’s up with this guy, he will try to get you off the little messaging thing and into some “chat” arrangement where he can really go to work on you.  He’ll tell you all sorts of things and try to get you to think he’s in love with you.

It must be a love scam

When he thinks you’re “hooked,” he’ll see if he can get you to do him a favor.  According to a friend who knew someone caught in one of these, the guy needed gift cards to get things he couldn’t get any other way in Afghanistan.

American soldiers have good pay, and few expenses in a war zone.  Most of their money is in the US in a bank.  If you do your guy the favor and send him gift cards, you pass his test.  He keeps asking for more and bigger things, all the while telling you he loves you.

He may even become testy with you if you demur.  After all, the $10,000 he wants now is a lot of money.  He doesn’t need it to come home on; our rich Uncle Sam is his travel agent.  You will never see him, even if he shifts tactics and says he is now stateside.  The money will be so he can finally come meet you.

You find yourself all excited and he’s promising a love nest where he can spend the rest of his days worshipping you, but he needs $50,000 to get a construction loan.  Can you send him that?

And so it goes.  You won’t meet him and it’s a good thing because he is abusive when crossed.  Not to mention he’s a parasitic criminal who just cleaned you out over a fantasy.

What to do about a love scam

When I “met” my young Arab prince online, he was all polite and curious.  So I asked him if that was a recent picture, because if it was recent, I was older than his mother.  He got all bent out of shape at me for mentioning his mother.  I ignored it.  He tried to get me to switch to some chat place, and I refused, so he got mad at me about his mother again.  So I ignored him and he went away.

I don’t recommend doing that.  Don’t really know why I did except that I was insulted he tried this stuff with me.

Best thing to do is just not engage at all.  Ignore them and they go away.  After all, how are you to fall in love if you don’t answer?

I’ve ignored several successfully and have had no more out of them.

Online is invisible

The reason these “guys” do so well with unsuspecting women is that the women are lonely.  We have a lot of lonely people in the world, and everybody knows it.

The guy is greedy, not lonely, but he’ll sound convincing.  All you know is that he tells you that so you will have sympathy.  He will try to lure you into a relationship, just as the policeman pretending to be a 14-year-old girl lures the sexual predator to his arrest.

If you are online, maintain some protective coloration.  Try not to talk about how much money you have, or spend.  Don’t be too truthful about your birthday and never give out numbers such as your Social Security number, bank accounts, credit cards or any other connections to money or insurance.

In addition, I don’t give names of relatives or friends, street addresses and most contact information.  And I don’t care who says he likes me.  If he isn’t a reputable business selling me something I thought of by myself and went to the website for, he gets nothing from me.  And if he is LL Bean, I’ll tell him only the minimum needed to ship me my thing.

When you’re talking to someone online and you realize he must be up to something, stop at once and ignore all further attempts of his to stay in contact.  Even if you are convinced he is your only friend and/or romantic possibility, resist staying in touch.

Oops, I’ve been scammed!

If you’ve given him your bank account, call the bank.  If you gave him your Social Security number, call Social Security right away.  Same for credit cards.  Don’t just let this go.  Tell the police, even if they can’t do much.

A lady I know who got scammed into giving out her numbers quickly realized her mistake.  Right away she called the fraud departments of all the numbers she gave out.  She didn’t lose a cent, but she got some stinky messages from the guy.  Once she learned to ignore him, he went away.  She was lucky.

If you’re lonely, remember that on the computer you don’t know who you are talking to, ever.  So let it be two-way and don’t give out your heart or your numbers to some “guy” on the internet–or the phone–thinking it is the chance of a lifetime.  Get a dog if you want unconditional love.

As the old saying goes, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”  Love scams are no different.  Use your common sense and blow these scammers off.  They aren’t worth bothering with.

 

 

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