As the world changes, so do the tactics of con artists. Not all of them live in the romantic world of Hollywood and many of their exploits have cheated people out of hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Does this mean that businesses have a responsibility to ensure that none of their customers are ever harmed, or are individuals responsible for their own safety?
“Internet dating sites have turned into a happy hunting ground for unscrupulous people who want to exploit the lovelorn for money,” says Australian radio host Mark Colvin. If you think about it, it’s the perfect opportunity–all those singles are looking for love and in their vulnerable states, aren't as likely to expect fraud.
Romance fraud isn't necessarily a new thing but the Internet makes it easier than ever, since some couples speak for months without ever meeting face-to-face. The con is simple: find a person, make them fall in love with you (or, at least, very intense like), and convince them to give you cash to take care of some kind of emergency.
Some people say that dating sites should take responsibility for their customers, doing everything in their power to find and report romance fraud. Most online dating sites do have articles or FAQ pages about how to stay safe in the online dating world, but in order for those tips to work, people have to put them in practice. Aussie site RSVP warns its members against giving out any financial details. “It's too risky and you don't know them well enough,” says RSVP’s dating and relationship expert John Aiken (PM 2013).
While the online dating industry might believe it’s doing its best to take care of customers, law enforcement doesn’t always agree. “They are facilitating some great relationships...but they also are facilitating thousands of relationships that are nefarious, that are toxic, and that are going to lead to people's emotional and financial demise,” says Brian Hay of the Queensland Police (PM 2013). This issue may be a simple matter of education–place more and better-detailed facts in front of the public, and they’ll be better prepared to recognize fraud when it meets them.
Thousands of people fall victim to romance fraud every year, but it’s hard to tell just what the number is, since not everyone reports it when it occurs (PM 2013). There is also the fact that some laws keep many dating sites such as Christianmingle from divulging names or other personal information. Yet, in the case of criminal activity, most of these laws aren’t applicable–meaning online dating sites could be more helpful to police, if they chose to.
As consumers, be sure to never self-disclose any personal identity information until you feel comfortable doing so. Also, stay away from anyone asking you for money or pressuring you to meet alone. In addition, have friends and family members also check out the person’s profile and messages to see if they see any red flags you may be overlooking. Lastly, be sure to check your new potential mate through the various online services available to screen people for criminal history, marital history, and sexual offenses.PM with Mark Colvin.
Online dating sites partly to blame for rise in romance fraud.
Retrieved on September 26, 2013 from abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3857208.htm
By ChristianCrush team. ChristianCrush.com aims to be the most authentic, innovative, and trustworthy site on the web for believers to connect. They were invited to post on our blog to share their expertise on trends in the dating world. To get in touch with ChristianCrush, please find them on Google Plus.
Photo credit: Freedigital Photos
Photo credit: Freedigital Photos