Dating fraud… Internet romance scam… These are just a few of the terms that describe an online dating that turned for the worse. Not all of internet romances are bad. One hopeless romantic can even find a perfect partner from halfway around the word, meet up, get married, have kids, and then live happily ever after.
This article exposes a few details of incidents of woeful internet trysts documented and reported to the authorities in this part of the country. Foreign nationals complain that they have been duped by their online Filipina girlfriends. Involved parties used to chance upon one another in online dating sites. Nowadays, with the prevalence of social networking sites such as the mighty Facebook, the threat of this menace is more felt.
The hook-up usually begins with casual talk, ultimately leading to passionate conversations with the computer bridging the gap between the two lovers separated by oceans and continents. To spice up the conversation, a webcam is used to show each other. During this phase, the sinister side of the dealings commences.
As to what happen during their online chat, some of these scammers collaborate with a willing attractive female accomplice, whose function is to be a body double to flaunt her sensitive body parts whenever the victim asks the other person on the other line to display it. The perpetrators sometimes hide beyond the web cam’s view to dictate to the accomplice what to say and do. The reason may be is that he or she is unattractive for the taste of the foreign suitor. Or he is a man taking the identity of a female chatter. Other times, the scammers just do it on their own, with the knowledge that most foreign nationals do not file a case due to the great distance separating them, and some other foreign affairs technicalities.
One story tells of a Filipina girlfriend who is purportedly arrested by authorities. She contacted the foreigner boyfriend, and told him that she was being held by the police and she needs money to pay her bail. The boyfriend immediately sends a sizeable amount to save his lover, for fear that she might get abused by her captors, as she sobbingly related it to him. After that, the boyfriend tried to contact her, but her phone is already unreachable, wondering whether she got harmed by her jailers or experienced other unimaginable traumatic ordeal. Easy money grab by the perp.
Another tells of a Filipina (a transgender in skimpy suit as seen in the report), advertising herself in several websites, promising to marry foreigners if they pay for her ticket so that a meeting can be arranged between them in Manila or Cebu, or any other famous places. Once the money was wired, the wrongdoer kept the money and didn’t show up at the airport. The guy was clueless as to what happened to her online flame, not hearing from him/her since.
One morbid story is about a local girl who asked for money from her foreign boyfriend for the burial expenses of her supposedly murdered cousin. She alleged that her relative was murdered, and policemen discovered the cadaver. Luckily, the report was validated by the would-be victim and found there is no record of a recovered cadaver on the date he specified. Just a nice blend of crime thriller to force a lover to send cash.
The most common tales are about scammers who ask for money from their online foreign boyfriend for the processing of their documents such as passports, visas, and so on, so that she can go over to his country and marry him. After sending the funds thru money transfer, the girlfriend disappears, goes off the radar, and is never heard of since.
The perpetrators always use fictitious names, addresses, and other contact details. They may also use fake or tampered visas and passports. Also, cases of identity theft should not be discounted, wherein they use the name, photo, and credentials of another unknowing individual. Fraudsters usually use pictures of attractive women in their online profile to lure unsuspecting suitors to their modus operandi. Their stories are mostly fabricated, the so-called straight-out-of-a-movie spectacle applies here, geared towards earning the affection of the victim, and eventually the suitor’s funds. Some of these so called girlfriends may not even be female, but a transgender masquerading as one. Others could be the doings of a manipulative syndicate, with several persons working behind the scene, chatting with the online beau. Or it could just be simply the machine itself, a pre-programmed bot with dialogues with the same malevolent objective.
Prospective daters are advised not to trust the other party until they get to know them better in person. There is nothing better than getting to know another in person. They should not shell out hard-earned money immediately and wire it to the lover lest they regret the idea of being scammed. Another thing is to refrain from sending intimate photos, videos, and even personal data, which could be used against them, through extortion, burglary, stalking, mugging, robbery, and kidnapping (if suspect is just in the proximity of the victim), computer hacking, skimming, etc. to name a few.
In a victim’s view, a person is chatting with his heart’s desire, but behind the scene lies the sprawling evil plot to siphon his funds by another individual or a group of individuals. With technology evolving at the speed of light, courtship and dating are not what they used to be.
For more variation of this crime, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_scam