Online romance scams are forms of fraudulent acts that can lead to crime, identity theft, and loss of money.
A professional, unbiased opinion that understands these scams is crucial for your safety and to save you from losing money.
Investigators are knowledgeable in detecting and handling online romance scams.
They also make use of tools (such as high-powered software and background checks) to produce strong proofs against the fraudster in court.
What Are Online Romance Scams?
Online romance scams occur when a fraudster uses an email, dating websites, or social media platforms to dupe those looking for romance on the internet.
Internet dating investigation services help to confirm if online identities are authentic; thereby preventing fraud and theft.
Scammers usually say that they work in the building and construction industry and are working on projects outside the United States.
They say this so that they will avoid meeting you in person; especially when they ask you for money to attend to a ‘medical emergency.’
If you meet someone online and the person requests for your bank account details to deposit money, such an individual most likely wants to use your account to carry out a fraudulent act.
Tips For Avoiding Online Romance Scams
The following tips are ways through which you can save yourself from falling prey to online romance scammers:
—Be mindful of what you post on the internet. Scammers use the information you share on social media platforms and dating websites to understand and target you.
—Study the person’s profile and pictures through the use of online searches. This research will help you know if the person’s name, image, and details are somewhere else.
—Ask the person lots of questions. Scammers are usually irritated by questions and asking lots of questions will make them feel uncomfortable.
—Be careful if the person tries to isolate you from your family or asks for inappropriate financial information and photos that they can use to extort you.
—If the person seems too perfect or quickly asks that you leave the dating site, the person is most likely a scammer. Don’t ignore these red flags.
—If the individual promises to meet you in person but later cancels the appointment, then it’s another red flag that you should not ignore. If you haven’t met the person after some months, there is no reason why you should keep communicating with him.
—Don’t send money to anyone that you’re only communicating with through phone or online.
What Should Victims of Online Romance Scams Do?
Victims of dating scams are usually deterred from reporting scam cases to the authorities due to fear, embarrassment, and repercussions.
The victim will not be willing to open up to peers, friends, or family because their relationship was all a scam.
The first thing a victim needs to do is to stop sending more money, documents, or information to the scammer.
The victim should then report the scam case to the security operatives or the Action Fraud.
The bank and dating site (where they came across the scammer) must also be notified.
Investigators can also help victims during these trying times; so ensure you report to them if you’ve been scammed by an online romance scammer.
Why Should Victims of Online Romance Scams Report To an Investigator?
Victims of online romance scams may not be sure if they have been scammed through romance fraud, or online romance.
They may also doubt whether the individual they have been communicating with is who they claim to be.
Such people (i.e. victims) usually feel ashamed to talk to their friends or family due to the shame they feel about their relationship not being real and the loss of money that accompanied the fake relationship.
Also, they may not be able to report to the police because they don’t have sufficient evidence.
An investigator can assist the victim by providing confidential service whereby they will advise the inquiries they would recommend so that they can determine if the romantic relationship is real or fake.
They do this by analyzing images, communications exchanges, and documentation.
They can also undertake investigations through the use of open-source intelligence to determine the identity, authenticity, and location of the scammer.
If the need arises, investigators can also carry out discrete inquiries with companies and authorities to know if the person is real.
All the investigations will be done legally and ethically so that they do not end up compromise the evidence and for the evidence to be used in court.
Investigators can also help the victim by providing information and advice via helplines, websites, and law enforcement authorities.
Some of these authorities include:
—Police National Fraud Intelligence Bureau
—The National Crime Agency
—Revenge Porn Helpline
—Victim Support, and
—Get Safe Online
As stated earlier, the first thing you need to do once you suspect that you’re communicating with a dating scammer is to stop all forms of communication, and do not send any other money if you have sent some already.
For a small fee, you can hire an investigator to save you lots of money and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Any investigation must adhere to civil and criminal laws.
The investigation process must not only protect innocent parties and avoid prosecution, it must also be considered as an evidence.
You need to complete a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) and Legitimate Interest Assessment (LIA).
The essence of these assessments is to adhere to the guidelines laid down by the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act of 2018.
When you want to hire an investigator, you need to ensure that they have the required skills, qualifications, and experience.
You can confirm they have these by confirming if the investigator is registered with a renowned association.
By hiring a registered investigator, you will be assured that they have the necessary qualifications, financial stability, and industry experience to deliver the exceptional service you need.
Their membership in the renowned association will also make them accountable for their actions through relevant disciplinary bodies.