Don't Get Catfished: How to Avoid Online Romance Scams

The development of the Internet has lead to all kinds of enhancements to the way that people communicate. From educational classes to business conferences, there are plenty of unique methods of communication that can be done today thanks to the World Wide Web.

Unfortunately, the Internet has also facilitated modern criminals who want to take advantage of people. One particularly low type of crime comes in the form of online romance scams, sometimes known as catfishing. To better understand exactly how this crime works, let's take a look at its origin.

How the Catfish Story Helped Raise Awareness of Online Dating Fraud

Back in 2010, a movie named Catfish was released, starring a New York City man named Nev Schulman who was deceived into believing that he had a romantic relationship with a girl named Megan that lived in Michigan. In 2012, Nev and his brother developed an MTV show with the same name. Each episode of the show focused on a person involved in an online relationship with someone in a different part of the world, with suspicions that the person they were dating online was not who they claimed to be. The show has become one of MTV's most popular and is currently in its fourth season.

Online dating scams generally have a few different purposes. Many times, people who perpetrate the scams are simply looking for attention. They are often lonely, or suffering from physical or mental diseases that make it hard for them to socialize. While this type of online dating scam is certainly painful for the victim, usually it only results in emotional damage.

The more serious type of online dating scam is the kind that involves money or assets. In these kinds of cases, the scammer will begin an online relationship with a person and then attempt to get them to send cash or other valuables. There are a few ways to tell that someone is a scammer: if they consistently make excuses as to why they cannot meet in person, or if they have a convoluted story about why they do not have any family members or friends that you can talk to, the odds are good that you are getting deceived. The problem is worldwide: research shows that romance scams in the United States make up over 10% of financial losses as a result of online scams, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently issued a statement about the dangers of romance scams for Canadians.

Although these tips are helpful, it can still be very difficult for someone to find out who a person they are dating online really is. In southern California, you can hire a private investigator to help you find out the true identity of your online partner.

Why Hire an Orange County Private Investigator for an Online Dating Scam?

If you suspect that you are the victim of an online dating scam, hiring a private investigator in Orange County is a wise decision. There are several ways that a qualified southern California private investigator can help you get to the bottom of an online dating scam:

  • Performing a complete background check: do you think that your online love interest has lied about something in their past? A complete background check can help you get to the bottom of it
  • Providing surveillance services: if the person you are dating claims to be living or working in a specific place, a private investigator can stake out the location to see if their story backs up
  • Conducting an asset search: if the person you are dating online is asking for money and claiming that they are in dire financial straits, an asset search will help you determine whether or not they are being honest about their situation

Online dating scams can be hard on your heart as well as your wallet. To make sure that these issues get resolved properly, hire a qualified private investigator in Orange County who you can depend on to help you make sure that your online partner is everything that you expected them to be.

Published on: 
March 12, 2015
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