Romance scamming has become the fastest growing scam on the Internet. The scammers have discovered a new, wide open “hunting ground” for their scams in the Internet Dating Industry, serving 45 million US singles every month along with many more in Canada, Europe and Asia. As their standard “419 Letters” require more work to generate less money, scammers have found that doing their scamming via Internet dating websites to be a lucrative and more successful alternative.
Now one of the fastest growing problems on the Internet, Romance Scamming has elements of evil not found in any other type of scam. Anna Alden- Tirrill, author and former Rape Crisis Center Director explains, “Many Romance Scam victims suffer emotional trauma similar to sexual assault victims. Once scammers make an emotional connection with their victims, they can extract money from them almost at will. Often, they can entice their victims to commit crimes. Sometimes, only the devastation of arrest and imprisonment causes victims to realize they’ve been scammed and get help.”
Computer system specialist and author, Jonathan van Helsing, claims that Romance Scamming “could be the most insidious evil lurking on the Internet. Because people looking for love are in a vulnerable state, Romance Scammers are in a unique position take advantage of them. They often succeed when ‘419 Letters’ wind up being identified as ‘spam’ and deleted.”
Mr. van Helsing argues that most companies owning Internet dating sites have done little to protect their members from Romance Scammers. He explains, “these companies have no problem spending millions on elaborate security systems. Yet when a scammer posts a fake profile on their website and starts ‘cruising their site’ for victims, they simply do not understand that this is every bit as much a security issue as a virus or spyware installation.
Companies choosing to neglect the Scammer issue have started to experience a mass exodus from their sites. The few websites that are proactive on the scammer issue however, are experiencing continued growth.”
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