Warning signs of Internet Love Scams!

Many people may suggest that the current age of social media is a prime opportunity to pursue a new relationship or meet someone who they would otherwise never run into in person.  I agree that it opens doors to expand ones’ horizons on the dating scene but it can also be very misleading, deceptive and even dangerous.  It’s been seven years since my divorce and after over 17 years in that single relationship I wasn’t prepared for the 2018 trend of engaging with people via Text, DM, Live Videos and Chats.  There’s no doubt that I have been approached more frequently via an online method over the traditional meet at a public event, introductions by a friend or simply catching one another’s glance from across a crowded room. I have tried to respond to some of the more accessible methods only to find myself quickly concerned that the person on the opposite end of the message was not whom they claimed to be.

Based off of my own experiences I’ve created my top 10 ALERTS that your Instagram “Bae” may actually be an African Scammer.  My examples are specific to Male Scammers or people who pretend to be a male who approach women as a potential love interest on social media but more specifically Instagram (some of these are actually women and they are pretty good at it).

#1- DM “Hi Beautiful, Gorgeous, Dear” is the first contact message you receive from him.  Although there is nothing wrong with this type of greeting and everyone who sends one is NOT a scammer but this has been my experience with those whom have contacted me.  The greeting is not the problem, but if he’s never engaged with liking or commenting on your post, why straight to the DM? His compliments may be genuine but his first focus is to make you feel special.

#2- No Personal Friends in Comments – That guy with less than 10 post and all of them are pictures of him doing something grand, in a city outside the US, fancy cars or flashy lifestyle, social atmosphere or with some cute kids but…. NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW HIM PERSONALLY! But he has more followers on his page than you do on yours. Ok if you are a real person on IG with your kids, somebody who is following you should know you and be able to comment about your crew, call the kids my name, have a memory, something!

#3-All His followers are FEMALE – Just like #2 why doesn’t anyone actually know you with your wealthy, doing great, single self?  Much like women, single men have friends who engage with them on their social platforms, if for no other purpose then to throw in a “wassup” every now and then. Instagram is not a dating site and the majority of IG users will have following of both sexes. Why you ask? Because the user doesn’t have to be accepted in order to follow unless the account is private. Even in private accounts one would expect the followers to be people who remain engaged with the user because they “know” them.

#4-DOES HE RESPOND TO COMMENTS This is a really good way to access if anyone actually has “real knowledge” of this guy.  Most often you will see a lot of female comments of the complimentary nature.  “Great picture, Handsome, Love your smile” and so on.  If you pay close attention you may actually see a few who respond frequently and have added heart emojis or indicators that they have already fallen for him.  How does he respond to what they say? No response at all, right? He will be very careful about responding as he can’t allow one female attention driver to alert another female that she isn’t the only “Bae”. This is a huge RED flag.

#5- Grammar & Dialect Don’t Match –Most of these people want you to perceive them as intelligent, educated even rich.  Pay close attention to the English grammar and word usage during your exchanges.  Does he sound like he could be more of one ethnicity than the image in his pictures? Geography is also a huge giveaway.  Sometimes they may say they were born in the US and spent their early adult years in Africa or England, does the dialect match the geography? If you can ever get them on the phone, you can almost bet it will be a PING number from the internet, meaning they can call and text but you can’t call them, and they WON’T sound like the person in the picture. African Accents are a RED FLAG!

#6 There’s A Story to Warrant Empathy This is a classic and it varies depending on what they pick up from your personal page.  Here are a few that I’ve encountered “My wife died from Cancer, My wife died in an airplane crash, My two kids were killed in the same crash, My Mother or daughter is very ill or needs surgery etc..  If you appear to be a caring and compassionate person, he wants to pull you into his storyline.  The more empathetic you are the more vulnerable you will be if you aren’t protecting yourself from the beginning.

#7- HE WASTES NO TIME– This guy will quickly tell you that he is “interested in getting to know you better” after like 3 messages.  He’s always looking for someone to “marry”.  He may even be one of the eager scammers who says something like ” I’m so thankful that I found you”. DUDE you’ve talked to me for like 5 minutes, you didn’t FIND anything! If he isn’t in love within a day or two he will be so grateful that GOD sent you too him that he will want to convince you by pushing to a “next level of contact” .

#8- His Availability is Never Convenient -This is not the guy whom you can expect will be able to converse with you via messaging, chat or text on a regular basis.  He will keep you in contact for short periods of time with lots of dialogue then disappear for hours, sometimes days.  Typically this will interject a plausible excuse like, working overseas, at the hospital with loved ones, taking care of legal issues like a court case etc. The reason he won’t be accessible at various points during the day is 1-he’s in a different time zone across the world 2-he has to toggle between more than one female at a time and 3- he can’t allow too much contact so that you will expect to meet him in person.

#9- He Wants to Move the Contact from IG to Email – Although it might seem menial there is a strategic purpose in moving to email.  It engages you on a more intimate level by the types of messages which typically switch to love letters, poems and romantic sayings AND he can handle you with standard emails that are pre-generated.  Once he starts communicating  you may notice that the email language doesn’t sound at all like those in the DM.  His words will be more eloquent, heart warming and soul-stirring.  Goggle is your friend! When you get an email that sounds too advanced for the grammar and language of your “Bae” take a small exert, put it in quotations and allow Google to do the rest! Don’t be disappointed if you find the entire message and many more like it.

#10- HE NEVER SHOWS HIMSELF IN PERSON –This statement is not limited to physically meeting in person as there are various video chat platforms that he could use.  Often times he will make sure he’s out of the country, or working during your available time, any excuse to not be able to do live feeds.  After all its pretty difficult to be the person in the picture when you look, sound, and or speak nothing like them.

These are my top 10 ALERTS that would indicate you may be dealing with a scammer who approaches you online.  I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t include “ASK FOR HELP OR MONEY”, well hopefully these initial behaviors will prevent my female friends from divulging in the deceitful tactics of these evil beings long before they can be addressed with request for money, plan tickets, access to bank accounts and the like.  Although these are real examples of multiple encounters I have experienced with scammers, my personality simply doesn’t allow me to waste much time in entertaining them before I call them out for who they are.  Use this list as a good “balance sheet” if 5 out of the 10 apply he’s either scamming or cheating on another female.  Either way, be careful and allow love to find you the right way! If you find yourself head over heels too quickly, pull back, recommend an in person meeting at a public gathering with a group rather than alone.  Most importantly, follow your intuition.  She will rarely lead you astray, use your head rather than your heart.

 

 

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