“Romance scams: fantasy vs. real life?” An article to learn more about romance scams.
As more people start to use online dating apps more of them meet romance scammers.
It is important to understand the psychology and behaviour of these scammers, con(wo)men or if we want to use another terms for them then scam artists.
Getting to know these kind of artists and understand their basic needs is important to be able to “realize” you are in their game and stop the online and offline communication with them immediately.
To understand more romance scams and scammers you need to know some basic things. For example
What kind of strategy conmen use?
You always need to remember that conmen (those people strangers) will tell you everything from almost the beginning what you want to hear in order to get your trust.
If you are on dating sites then why are you there? Usually to find a partner.
To find a partner you have an idea what you are looking for in an ideal partner.
Romance scams happen when
- ”a criminal adopts fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust.”
Scammers use the illusion of a romantic/close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from a person.
Romance scammers are self-marketing experts
They have an idea, how to sell themselves as a partner who fit perfectly for you, or at least your idea.
The picture they paint about themselves will be very similar whatever you want to hear. Mostly you hear things what you would hear in romantic movies…
In reality most people have different ideas about life than you have that is why dating is “hard”.
Why dating is “hard”?
Dating is difficult, because a lot of people immature, and think they will find someone whom exactly what they want. Most of the time real life not work like this.
In real life you need to compromise a lot.
Creating trust could take from days to years!!!
Different for every person, but if you are mature and have experiences then usually it takes longer.
If trust creation going too fast for example
- someone telling you they love exactly the same things you like or
- they are exactly the same person whatever you want or
- that they want you, love you, or want to be with you forever, then better if you start to be very cautious with them.
As they are love-bombing you. Love bombing is a sign of emotional manipulation and a red flag.
Even if you know they might lying to you, not always easy to find out whether they are really lying to you or not.
What are scammer’s goals?
The goal is always something you need to pay for, and to be able to convince you that you need to pay for that something…
- flight tickets, because of an emergency situation,
- money to pay for their documents in order to be able to meet with you,
- money to pay for their visa or passport, or at least they will tell you this,
- travelling and holiday, because they lost their bankcard or credit card
- money to pay for their accomodation, hotel etc. because they can not take out money from their business now or
- there are emergency cases etc.
How they convince you or try that they have money?
According to Netflix they will show something what they do not have or pictures about their luxurious things e.g.:
- a jet, trips and travelling e.g.: he just got back form Maldives? Nice now you are not fall down in faint from the picture instead start to use your brain. In the moment the person start to ask money you terminate the whole online communication to wake up from this romantic dream,
- watches e.g.: Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, a new Omega etc. You are not amazed by those pictures, those pictures can be made in a watch shop either… Just because a watch is on someone’s wrist it does not mean it is his,
- luxurious cars e.g.: Bugatti, Royce-Rolls, or a new McLaren etc. you not amazed and start to send money without brain. People can rent those cars to try out…
- your “Prince in a suit” and in a luxurious place, event, restaurant or gala. Still you should not start to help him out with your hard-earned money…
- posing next to a helicopter as a businessman? You are not in 50 shades of Grey and he is not Grey. So woke up and start to pay attention to your actions…
There are millions of people and profiles on social media such as Facebook & Instagram with fake pictures and photos and dating apps too….it is just not real…
Trying to stay realistic when you start to use or try online dating apps.
A lot of people not even look like in real life as they look like on pictures…some people upload their best pictures from 10 years ago or gained weight since then, even if you are fully experienced in dating you still can have surprises…
As a rule of a thumb
If something seems too nice to be real, that means usually it is too nice to be real…
and the sooner you understand this statement the better for you.
Example for a famous conartist
Not only men, but women can be conartists too. Just because you are a men you should not be less cautious with people on the internet. Do not forgot you basically chat, and speak with STRANGERS.
They could be anyone, from the most innocent person on Earth or even the most dangerous too.
Just because you are in your home, or in a place you feel good, or secure, it does not mean you should not keep your boundaries high. Speaking with someone from your comfortzone does not mean the world is less dangerous.
The “Tinder Swindler”
You might already heard about the famous “Tinder Swindler” from the Netflix movie right?
The “Tinder Swindler” in reality is Simon Leviev.
He is not even possess the name or anything he showed to her “victims“…
The “victims” in romance scams
Buchanan Tom & Monica T. Whitty wrote an article about their study regarding online dating romance scams. “It has serious financial and emotional consequences, affecting hundreds of thousands of people…
Stop being an idealist or too romantic on dating apps and sites
From their questionnaires we know that “High scores on the romantic belief of idealization were associated with likelihood of being a romance scam victim.”
This means if you know that you are an idealist, or you believe in romantic love. Or trying to find the true love of your life, then you might be more exposed to romance scammers.
At least more than people who are not that idealistic regarding dating and love and more realistic.
Ask your friends or family
If you think you are or might in someone’s trap ask a friend, a family member or anyone who can give you an objective opinion. Do not refuse their opinions as they might trying to save you from something very bad.
Usually people you ask tell their opinion, because you were the one who initiated the conversation and asking their opinion.
Meanwhile if you are chatting online with someone you are not always the one who initiated the conversation.
Mostly if you are a woman and trying to find men who are more like initiative, then you need to be very cautious. Because in that time you might be just a follower.
Until you have this “bad” habit, or you do not have strict boundaries do not start online dating. Most people getting scammed by people who telling them what to do. So do not do what others say to do or not exactly that.
According to the study about romance scam victims, they have experienced: “significant emotional distress as well as financial losses.”
Those who reported to be fooled by scammers, but had not lost any money still reported “significant distress“.
The importance of having strict boundaries
It is better if you just avoid online dating if you are not ready to say a BIG NO and believe in pink dreams and an imaginary dreamy life.
Leviev’s “dreamy” life and identity fake since 2010
His original name is Shimon Yehuda Hayut and told he is a son of a famous diamond mogul Lev Leviev. He showed woman who he is not to scam money out of them.
- He has already been charged in 2011 in Israel with theft, forgery, and fraud for cashing stolen checks…escaped from the country with fake passport under the name Mordechai Nisim Tapiro.
- In 2015, he was arrested in Finland and sentenced to three years in prison for defrauding several women.
- Later he fled to Europe and exploited several women in Germany using the name Michael Bilton.
The “son of a diamond mogul” who was arrested by Interpol
He also presented himself as the son of the diamond mogul. Contacted women as him, and tricked them into loaning him money that he never repaid.
He charmed women with lavish gifts, taking them to dinners on private jets using money he borrowed from other women… (It is the Ponzi scheme story).
- In 2019, he was arrested by Interpol in Greece after using a forged passport. Later that year, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison in Israel. He released earlier due to Covid (due to Covid a lot of people released earlier).
- In 2020 he pretended to be a medical worker to get the COVID-19 vaccine early.
- Hayut is also wanted for various fraud and forgery offenses by Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Spain.
In February 2022 attorneys for the Leviev family filed a criminal complaint against Hayut. Criminal complaints for libelous publications, infringing privacy and violating trademark orders.
In July 2022, the L. family filed another criminal complaint against Hayut for damaging the family’s name.
Showing off is part of their game
Con(wo)men are not just say, but show who they are, but they are not those people in reality.
He might be smart, but probably not smarter than a man whose name he used out. The israeli businessman known as “The King of Diamonds”.
There are several types of romance scammers, some scams people like stating they are somone who they are not, or that they have something they do not have, but most of the time they want the partner’s money fast.
Trust is precious do not waste
“The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do”.
Moreover they “seem genuine, caring, and believable.”
So the problem you might believe to them.
These people are everywhere online e.g.: dating sites, dating apps, social media sites etc.
The intention of them always to gain trust fast, so if you start to trust fast in someone and the story he/she tells is too good to be true, then stop the communication and start to think whether it can be true or not.
Scam artists can say they are in the building and construction industry, or they are working on an oil rig, or in a ship somewhere far away from coastline, or they are engaged in projects outside the U.S. or a country you are in.
These help them as
- make easier to avoid meeting in person,
- more plausible when they ask for money for an emergency or unexpected legal fees.
They can have daughters and sons too and need help them.
“If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.”
Even if they do not ask a bank account information only to send them money, just do not send money to people whom you know from online dating sites, apps or softwares.
They could choreograph romance scams with you without you even knowing you are participating in their games.
How to avoid to be scammed?
Take precautions e.g.:
- First contact should be a videocall if someone try to avoid it, it is a sign that want to hide his/her true identity from you,
- Secondly, if you meet with someone always tell someone else whom you meet with, where will you go and ask from another person a check up on you e.g.: call on you after the meeting ended,
- Thirdly, ask any verification card of the person, as you have no idea whether the person you meet with telling you the real name. So just ask a gym card, library card, driving license or ID card to check whether he is he or she is she, before you are meeting or meanwhile you have the meeting in a public space.
- Fourthly, first you should meet in a public space e.g.: coffee, bar, restaurant etc.
- Fifthly, before you get into any car just send the license plate number of the car to any of your family member, friends or colleague and a check up time in order to for that person call you and ask you how are you. Next to this have an exact address where you are heading and share with family members or friends your location…just in case.
Finally, NEVER send or give money to people from dating apps, never give them personal information or bank account etc.
Parts of the post is from Quora and got permission to use from the writer.
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