cybertime.ru is the leading online dating site with over 20 Million members and serving 25 countries and languages. Many members are using the site not just to find love in their local area, but also abroad, finding romantic relationships with international members. Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you. Real life story.
Share this article Share 'John said he was a civil engineer with his own business which operated in Nigeria. He was born in South Africa, he said, but had made a home in Britain and lived in Leicester. We talked about everything under the sun online dating scams civil engineer families, relationships, hobbies, interests, pets, our past. I completely trusted him. A study by Leicester University, as many aspeople in the Datinh may have fallen victim to online romance scams She believed further stories that he could not access money in his UK account because his cards had been stolen and he was desperate not to worry christian women friendly online dating sites elderly mother by asking for online dating scams civil engineer.
Duane suggested they both fill out questionnaires listing not only their favorite foods and hobbies but also personality quirks and financial status. Then she rolled it back and listened to it again. It's an ancient con. An impostor poses as a suitor, lures the victim into a romance, then loots his or her finances.
In pre-digital times, romance scammers found their prey in the back pages of magazines, where fake personal ads snared vulnerable lonely hearts. But as financial crimes go, the love con was a rare breed, too time- and labor-intensive to carry out in large numbers.
It could take months or years of dedicated persuasion to pull off a single sting. That has changed. Technology has streamlined communication, given scammers powerful new tools of deceit and opened up a vast pool of potential victims. As of December , 1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match.
The mainstreaming of online dating is a revolution in progress, one that's blurring the boundaries between "real" and online relationships. But the online-dating boom has also fueled an invisible epidemic. According to the Federal Trade Commission FTC , complaints about impostor ploys such as the romance scam more than doubled between and And that figure is probably low, because many victims never report the crime — or even tell their closest friends and family members that it occurred.
Shame, fear of ridicule and the victim's own denial enforce this contract of silence. Outside the scam, it's almost impossible to explain such irrational behavior. How on earth could you hand over your life savings to a stranger you met on the Internet, someone you've never even seen in real life? When Amy talks about how she fell in love, she always mentions his voice. It was mesmerizing — musical, clipped, flecked with endearing Britishisms.
His writing was like this, too — not just the British-style spellings of words such as "colour" and "favourite," but the way he dropped "sweetie" and "my dear" into every other sentence. They exchanged numbers and began talking every day. His teenage years in Manchester explained the accent, but there was another sound in there, too, a wisp of something she couldn't place. They spoke of the things you talk about at the beginning of a relationship — hopes, dreams, plans for the future.
She opened up about her marriage, her grief, her work, her faith and her conviction that things happened for a reason. Amy had never met a man who was so passionately curious about her. And she was just as fascinated by Duane. Or was it Dwayne? In his early emails, the spelling seemed to switch. She found his LinkedIn profile — it was short, with just a few connections. There were other curiosities.
Amy felt they were in some kind of time warp. She would be fixing breakfast and he'd be talking about going out for the evening. He traveled a lot for his work, he said.
Almost casually, he explained he was calling not from Virginia but from Malaysia, where he was finishing up a computer job. Looking back, would things have been different if he'd said he was in Nigeria? Amy knew all about those people who posed as Nigerian bankers and gulled victims with awkwardly phrased "business opportunities" over spam email.
But this was different; Amy loved to travel and knew lots of people from overseas. The fact that Dwayne was living in Malaysia added an exotic note to his "eau de enigma. Funny how you sound as if you're right next door, when you're really half a world away. A former "Yahoo boy" shows how teams of con artists fleece victims from Internet cafes. Born in neighboring Benin, he and his family moved to Nigeria during his childhood and went looking for opportunities in the emerging economic powerhouse of Africa's most populous nation.
Instead, he found "the game" — Nigeria's shadow economy of scams, named for the article in the Nigerian criminal code that deals with fraud. Enitan is not the scammer Amy encountered in ; his fraud career ended in , he says. Since he left scamming, he's spoken out against the practice.
But based on his account, the fraud playbook he followed has not changed. He agreed to talk on the condition that he would not be identified by name. Sent first as printed letters, then as faxes and emails purporting to be from Nigerian officials, these offers are now part of Internet lore. Indeed, they're so well known that ers have adopted a more effective variation — mining dating sites for targets of romance scams.
Impostor scams can flourish wherever the Internet exists Eastern Europe and Russia are also hot spots , but most dating fraud originates in Nigeria and Ghana, or in countries such as Malaysia and the U. In fast-developing parts of the world with high unemployment, a large percentage of English-speaking young men, and a postcolonial legacy of political instability and corruption, playing the game can be a tempting way out.
That's when he drifted in with the legions of other young Nigerian men known as Yahoo Boys, named for their preference for free Yahoo. He learned the con from an older mentor, and he, in turn, passed on his skills to younger friends. Enitan describes a three-stage model.
Using stolen credit card numbers, the scammer would flood dating sites with fake profiles. Victims can be found anywhere — scammers also forage for connections on social media — but dating services provide the most fertile territory. Profile photos are pirated from social media or other dating sites. To snare women, he'd pose as older men, financially secure and often in the military or in engineering professions.
For male victims, he just needed a photo of an alluring younger woman: All his victims, Enitan says, described themselves as divorced or widowed. After learning everything he can about his target, he would launch a campaign of love notes and gifts.
It feels like the universe is manifesting my perfect partner right before my very eyes. Prayers answered and yes it does seem like we have known each other a long time.
They were on the phone for hours every day at this point. His was the first voice she heard in the morning, and the last before bed. Typically, Amy would talk and text with him until about 11 a. Around 8 p. In their emails, they filled pages with minutiae about their lives — her upcoming holiday trip to Sarasota, Florida, with a girlfriend; his visit to a textile museum in Kuala Lumpur.
Mixed amid this were Dwayne's increasingly ardent declarations of affection: Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight.
Florid passages like that did not spring from Dwayne's imagination. He cribbed them from the Internet. Still, on Amy those words cast a powerful spell. That's how she thinks of it now — it was like a switch flicked in her head. She'd been in love before. But this was different, a kind of manic euphoria. Are you real? Will you appear someday. Or are you just a beautiful, exotic dream … if you are … I don't want to wake up!
At the core of every romance scam is the relationship itself, a fiction so improbable that most of us initially marvel in disbelief: How do you fall in love — really fall in love — with someone you never meet? Until the term "catfishing" crept into the vernacular, love affairs with digital impostors were little-known phenomena. The term comes from the documentary film Catfish, about a man with a girlfriend who, we learn, does not exist; it later inspired an MTV series.
Pretending to be someone else online is a social media parlor game among some young people. But Amy had never seen the show or heard the term; she had no idea the practice was so common. Computer-mediated relationships, she says, can be "hyperpersonal — more strong and intimate than physical relationships. Photo by Gregg Segal Research has shown that certain personality types are particularly vulnerable to romance scams.
Unsurprisingly, age is a factor: Not only are older victims more likely to lose larger sums of money, there's evidence that our ability to detect deception declines with age. But when she surveyed scam victims in the U. These people tended to describe themselves as romantics and risk takers, believers in fate and destiny.
Many, like Amy, were survivors of abusive relationships. Women were actually slightly less likely to be scammed than men — but were far more likely to report and talk about it. The other term that Amy would later learn is "love bombing. In both situations, the victim's defenses are broken down by exhaustion, social isolation and an overwhelming amount of attention.
Amy would later describe the feeling as akin to being brainwashed. This is the painstaking grooming process that Enitan calls "taking the brain.
My life will never be the same since I met you. Happy New Year. Love, Dwayne Not long after this, slightly less than a month since his first contact, Dwayne brought up his money troubles.
But some components he purchased from Hong Kong were stuck in customs. He didn't need money, he assured her — he had a hefty trust fund in the U. But he couldn't use his funds to cover the customs fees. And he couldn't come back to Virginia until he finished the job. He was stuck.
So, if there was any way Amy could help him out, he'd pay her back when he returned to the States. Photo illustration by Chris O'Riley When Amy asked for proof of his identity, Dwayne sent copies of his passport and financial documents. All were fake. Finally, Dwayne set a day for his flight home and emailed his itinerary. He'd be there January Amy even bought tickets for their first real date — a Latin dance concert in a nearby city that night.
And she told her brothers and her friends that they would finally get to meet this mystery boyfriend. But first, another problem came up: He had to pay his workers. She had the money. And Dwayne knew it. Not exactly how much, perhaps. But he knew she owned her home and two other properties. He knew that her mother and husband had recently died. And he knew she was in love. January 25 came and went.
A new problem delayed him; Amy took one of her friends to the concert. Dwayne apologized profusely and sent her more flowers, again with the promise to pay her back. Soon, he needed more money. This part of the con follows a familiar pattern. The scammer promises a payoff — a face-to-face meeting — that forever recedes as crises and logistical barriers intervene.
As February wore on, Amy was still telling friends that Dwayne was coming in a matter of days or weeks. But she never mentioned the money she was lending him. It's not that she was intentionally misleading anyone. You know me better than that. When doubt started to creep into her mind, she would look at his pictures or read his messages. Still, almost in spite of herself, she wondered. Little things seemed odd. Sometimes, out of the blue, he'd fire off a series of rapid-fire instant messages—"oh baby i love you" and so forth.
It felt almost like she was talking to someone else. Another time, she asked what he had for dinner and was surprised to hear his answer—stir-fried chicken. But I thought you hated chicken. He laughed. To her relief, she got a photo moments later. There he was, sitting on a bench in the sun on the other side of the world. Psychologists call this "confirmation bias" — if you love someone, you look for reasons they are telling the truth, not reasons they are lying.
We tend to find what we are looking for. And Amy was looking, desperately, for reasons to trust Dwayne, because the money was really adding up. She planned to make dinner for him that first night. I would like to say that i'm very happy to write to someone and share more of me as i so wish this friendship put us both in our happy place soon Sandy, you chat so beautiful on fb and i had to take a few time off to mail you I guess you should truly know who i am as you have shared much of you than i expected and i deeply sincerely appreciate all you wrote to me and just so you know i am so keen to be close to you and see where life lead for us as you are such a fine lady i wont mind to make a friend and see such friendship develop into something sweet that we both can hold on to, I don't really know how this is to work, but hey!
If at my age i do not know what and when to say, then what would i be? When a wise man sees he has probably spent about half of his time in life already, he begins to assess his main goals in life.
What could be more important than a happy ending? A man needs to live his life full of joy and happiness. No matter his achievements, he is reduced to nothing if he has no crown to complete him and that is a woman to call his own. Wife and Best friend. A woman who knows that even while arguing they still need to hold hands. A woman whom i can call a partner in crime, lol A woman whom you can tell anything.
How could you think anything can make you happier in life than finding love that knows no bound. To make you know more about me,. I will break this down to segments and it would be like a case study Marriage gave me a beautiful daughter her name is ZARA 21yrs and shes all i have and am not sure i will need more kids, but i can accept my spouse family as mine any such time it calls for Well I must say you are wonderful and I will really want to know more about you each step of the way, i had the opportunity to find a soul mate once but death took her away from me 15 years ago, i remarried and got divorced 4years now.
I am alone with one great daughter and I am ready to trade in the path of relationship again, you will agree with me that there is nothing to compare love and the sweetness it brings.
I do basically rig constructions and renovations. We have worked at many countries across the globe. The present project is my last on the field and i shall quit field works and continue my works from my home office while my men do the field.
I think i really have gotten to this height cos i embraced work for so long trying to get over my ex, that i worked this hard, but i think i now realize i can move on. MY DREAM I have told you how my typical dream day would be like, i just want to spend the rest of my life enjoying the fruit of my labor.
I just want a woman who would be my best friend and everything. You know someone whom we would still love each other more as the days pass by, even when we cant make love anymore and all we could do is play bingo, LOL. I am not a saint but you should not let your bad side overshadow your good part, we all have bad and good side, but I am more on a good sided than the bad side. I think I would stop here and tell you about my likes and dislikes.
I like the gathering of Christian brothers and sisters as we get to encourage and build our spiritual life. I play Basketball and Golf. I love being with gentle hearten people that takes life easy with a right vision of what the future holds for them, ones that are sincere with an attitude of self-control. I hate liars, cheaters and self-centered ones. I don't like people that feel they are far superior to other, with a spirit of pride in them.
I don't smoke. I have no tattoo. I love the sound of thunder storm but they also scare me when I'm alone, lol. I hate being idle.