THE RECOVERY SCAM: Once a victim – always a target.
An important message we stress to all our clients who have fallen foul to a romance scammer is that once the scam has been revealed, it certainly isn’t over. Scammers don’t just go away – they do what they do best and ‘re-invent’ themselves either as another character or another ‘dream’ Date, all with the final objective to continue taking your hard earned money. All of these situations are what is better known as the “recovery scam”.
Lets look at some common scenarios the scammer uses once they’ve been ‘found out’:
1. “I didn’t steal their pictures….they stole mine!’
In order to create your ideal Date, scammers have to look the part and do so by creating a fictitious character using stolen pictures from the Internet. These are typically from modelling/acting sites or unlocked social networking profiles where they can access a number of photographs of the same individual, in a range of different social settings. (Male victims will typically find their scammers have stolen images from adult actress sites who provide photographs and videos of themselves in a range of undress) . Using reverse image sites such as Google Images or Tineye, it is increasingly easy to find the original source of these photographs.
If a scammer gets caught out using stolen photographs of course they are going to lie about it! The most common excuse they use will be that they themselves are the victims of identity theft. They will be “gobsmacked” that ‘their’ photographs have been stolen. The reality is – the scammer has already worked hard to gain your trust after all so they know it won’t be long before you believe their lies (and you may even feel sorry for them!).
If you find yourself in this situation: It’s time to find a new Date! It simply isn’t worth the risk, or heartbreak dealing with an individual who claims to be a victim of identity theft. If you’re still adamant you want to continue the relationship then take the adequate precautions and have a Cupidscreen investigator confirm their real identity with a background check. It’s a small price to pay for piece of mind.
2. You are contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be a Government official / Police / Immigration officer / Lawyer / Investigator etc.
When you order a CupidScreen online dating background check, once a scam has been confirmed our reports always contain information about the next stage of a scam. This is typically when a scammer realises they have been ‘found out’ and will often re-invent themselves into another fictitious character in order to extract more money from you. The various ‘characters’ they can claim to be include:
Police / Immigration officer / Government official – You will receive an email/phone call from someone claiming to be the Police who have ‘arrested’ your scammer. They will request an upfront fee in order to process your scammer through the court system and release your funds. The reality: No Government authorities will EVER charge a fee.
Associate of your ‘Date’ – There are various excuses give why the ‘friend’ will contact you. This includes your “date” has been falsely accused of being a scammer and needs financial assistance to get them out of jail or even that the scammer is currently in jail but wants to compensate you (provided you pay upfront for supposed bank transfers/immigration fees etc). The reality: Whatever the excuse may be, if they’re asking for money up front, it’s all just a scam.
Laywer/Investigator – You will receive an email/phone call from someone claiming to be a lawyer or investigator who wants to help you ‘recover’ your money back. They will state that they can get your money back for you and all you have to do is pay an upfront fee.
The reality: It is true that if lawyers and Investigators get involved they are likely to charge a fee as they are not Government authorities. HOWEVER, and lets be very clear on this – they will not contact you first and they will never guarantee you they can get your money back. NEVER engage the use of a lawyer/investigator unless you have conducted the appropriate due diligence on them and confirmed their licence numbers and contact details. As investigators of romance scams we know the extreme difficulties individuals face of pursuing an arrest and recovery of money once a scam has been brought to light. This is why we promote the use of background checks to confirm your Dates identity PRIOR to sending any money to them.
If you find yourself in any of these situations: You are being scammed! Stop throwing good money after bad!
3. You are contacted by a new “Date”
After falling victim to a previous scam, it certainly isn’t worth giving up on love altogether although time certainly heals broken hearts (and empty wallets). Whether you put yourself back on a dating site or not, it’s important to remember that your previous scammer still has the photograph/s you sent them and also your contact details.
It is an unfortunate reality that scammers have been known to pass around a list containing the contact details of individuals who have been successfully scammed in the past. Other scammers will then contact these victims with the belief that these are ‘easy’ targets and will be more susceptible to fall for romance scams.
If you have previously been a victim of a romance scam: Firstly, don’t give up on finding love online – just date smarter. Be wary of anyone contacting you out of the blue by email/instant messenger. You have the right to be suspicious about how they obtained your details. Remember also that if you use the same photographs on your dating profile as before, the scammers are likely to recognise you. If your online Date asks for money, it is ALWAYS a scam. Live and breath by this small and simple sentence. When in doubt, check them out with a CupidScreen background check.
Needless to say Romance Scammers will say anything, and do anything to get your money. With CupidScreen offering a wide range of services to confirm your Dates true identity, there is no longer any reason why you should take chances online.