No, it’s not a typo. Scams are rampant on online dating websites. So much so that there are several websites devoted exclusively to online dating website scams. (Think about that one for a moment.) The two I have found to be most useful are DatingnMore and RomanceScam.
When I first started online dating, I almost fell for a scammer story. Well, up until the time he asked me for money. Since I didn’t have any, there was nothing to lose. That’s when I learned all about the Nigerian Scam. The story always is the same, or close to the same. He’s from my area. After the first email or so, he reveals that he lives here, but he is temporarily in “fill in the blank.” Usually it is Nigeria or West Africa.
And why, pray tell, is he there? Well, it’s one of two answers. Either he works construction and apparently there aren’t enough jobs here, so it’s more convenient to commute overseas; or he is in the gemology trade — either a jeweler, importer or investor.
The second part of the story involves why he is alone. Either his parents or his wife, or all three have recently died. Oh — and he always has a child. Just one. Usually a girl.
At about contact point number 3 or 4, he reports that his poor daughter has fallen ill. She is in the hospital in the faraway place he is working. She has almost died — but thanks to a miracle, the doctors were able to save her. But — gasp– he can’t bring his little angel home because the hospital doesn’t accept American insurance. They want cash, and they want it now.
And wouldn’t you know, if things weren’t bad enough, there’s been a problem on the job too. The construction company has gone belly up and no one got paid, or a deal fell through and he is broke. If you could just send a little money — a couple hundred dollars, he will pay you back as soon as he comes home.
Why would anyone go to that much trouble for a couple hundred dollars? Because these guys are usually working anywhere from 3 to a couple dozen women at one time.
That brings me to the next way you can tell you’re being scammed. To “process” that many women, these guys use the same letter and just replace your name and a few key details. There must be an “Online Scam Letters for Dummies” book they all use. Having encountered 5 of these creeps so far, I have found their wording to be identical.
No — I did not fall for 5 scammers. After the first one, I have found it immensely satisfying to play with their heads. Here’s the most recent one I received. The guy didn’t even bother to fill in the blanks on the template!
“My gut instincts tells me you are a good woman..But here we are with you in STATE and me, far away in the middle east…Too bad isn’t it?
I do have to give this scumbag some credit for originality. He claimed to be in the US Army stationed in Afghanistan. He hasn’t asked for money yet, but I’m sure the request will be in the mail any day now. That is, until I send him the link to this blog post.