A few months ago I wrote a series of articles on avoiding online dating scams. One of the scams I discussed was the 419 scam. This involves the scammer convincing their target to send them money for one reason or another. With online dating it will often be the scam will often involve the person you are communicating with needing financial help for a troubling situation or because they want to meet you. For a recent example of this, check out this recent Wall Street Journal article that discusses men being swindled on millionaire dating sites. From that article:
One Austin, Texas, man sent the fraudster more than $10,000 after “Bree” said via email and phone conversations that she was having financial difficulties. Yes, it can be that easy.
As I emphasized in my series, any time money comes into the picture you need to be suspicious.
At any rate, back to the main reason for this post. An article has been posted over at Scam Detectives that includes an interview of a man who was running some of the 419 scams out of Nigeria (a very popular country for this type of scam). The article is an interesting read as it’s eye opening to see where these scammers are coming from. As the scammer reported, they would get very few responses:
Maybe 9 or 10 out of every thousand emails. Then maybe 1 out of every 20 replies would lead to us getting money out of the victim in the end.
So 1 out of every 2,000 people they contact is falling for their tricks. That may seem like bad odds but as is revealed in the article, it was enough that the scammer was living the good life (including his own BMW!). For anyone actively participating in online activities, dating or otherwise, it’s a good idea to keep yourself in the know on how scams are being perpetrated. I’d recommend reading all of the available parts to this interview.
Also, note that in the WSJ article the scammer was actually able to disguise his voice as a woman’s before asking for money. Remember: never send money when online dating…it’s a very bad sign if someone asks you for any money at all. Always keep this in mind whether you’ve heard “her” voice or not.