There has been a lot of attention given to online dating scams in the popular press and media over recent years, so much so that many people are to afraid to try online dating for fear that behind every friendly internet persona is a money-grabbing scam-artist. Of course, this is far from the truth and yet at the same time it's important not to underestimate the real risk. There are a lot of scam artists online, and it is important that responsible adults take the proper precautions against them.
Usually from countries that are struggling economically, Dating Scammers are often attempting to make their livelihood by seducing men from Western Europe and America and persuading them to give them money. There are various other techniques that scammers use to make money from gullible people, but this is one of the most common.
This persuasion can take various forms from "I can't afford a plane ticket to come and see you" to "they'll repossess my house unless I give them ?10,000 by Tuesday" but the principle is often the same: an apparently attractive young woman with poor English skills suddenly takes an interest in you, this lasts a few weeks at most, exchanging sentimental and/or erotic messages and emails before she suddenly needs money and you are her only hope. The pattern is easy to recognise and really the most obvious indicator is when a woman from a lower economically developed country seems to take an inordinate amount of interest in you very quickly.
There are many reasons why Dating Scams happen, the most obvious of which is that it is an easy way to make money. There are an awful lot of vulnerable and insecure men looking for love online, and the fact that they can and do is perhaps one of the more positive consequences of the relative anonymity available to people online. However, this inevitably makes it easy for those who would disguise their identity to take advantage of these same men for money.
In Nigeria, perhaps the country most notorious for its abundance of scam artists, the national minimum wage is 5,500 Nigerian Naira per month which works out to roughly $50 U.S Dollars. It is likely that many are paid far, far less than this amount without their employers coming under scrutiny. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that when many see an opportunity to earn much more for little work from Westerners who are so much richer than them, they take it. The same applies for many Eastern European and South American countries also.
In the end however, Dating Scams are often heartbreaking and expensive affairs and whilst they are comparatively rare it is important that anyone who takes online dating seriously should learn more about them and take adequate steps to protect themselves from the risks. Read my other articles 'Dating Scams: How they work' or 'Dating Scams: How to stay safe' for more important information and tips for protecting yourself against online scammers.