Barely a week goes by without a victim of online dating fraud finding themselves under the media spotlight. Here we look at why so many successful, professional singles fall prey to fake lovers.
Pam Wareing is an intelligent, attractive woman approaching her mid fifties. Her LinkedIn account states that she’s an Accounts Manager at Easthams Solicitors in Blackpool. After twenty years service in a position of great trust, it’s fairly safe to assume that Pam has been regarded as an excellent employee. Having delved a little into Pam’s background, it seems she’s enjoyed making a positive contribution to her community. For many years, Pam juggled her role at Easthams Solictors with being a wife and mother. Perhaps after turning fifty, she had looked forward to a new and exciting chapter offering a little more ‘me time‘.
Having separated from her husband, Pam turned to the internet in her search for a new relationship. It’s likely that she was hoping for companionship; a meeting of minds; a second chance at feeling truly alive. An American serviceman calling himself Carlos Lopez surpassed all expectations when he appeared to fall deeply in love with her. Lopez told Pam he wanted to marry her. He wanted to set up home with her. Only, there was a slight problem: he needed money, urgently.
We don’t know what was going through Pam’s mind when she began stealing money from her employer over a 46 day period. We don’t know what went through the mind of her employers when they discovered she had taken over £500,000.00. But what we can surmise is that Pam Wareing was not stealing from her employers out of greed or spite: she was stealing from them because she so desperately wanted to be loved by Carlos Lopez, a fictional online presence.
She now faces a jail sentence of up to six years.
Why are successful professionals like Pam so easily duped on line in the search for love?
Put simply, human beings crave affection and acceptance. In the aftermath of a break-up, we often pretend that we’re okay with being single, but the truth is, love is the driving creative force behind almost everything we do. It’s great to have someone at our side. We weren’t designed to be solitary creatures.
Add to this a more unfortunate human trait: the ability to exploit others. Men and women living in poverty are desperate. Of course, some internet scammers are just plain corrupt, but often, internet dating brings together two very different forms of desperation, creating a perfect storm. And, with six figure sums up for grabs, internet scammers have become masters at their game.
On his You Tube Channel, Dr Alec Couros explains how online scammers created fake identities by stealing his social media content https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QdzG8l_OlQ. When speaking to victims who believed they had been in a relationship with him, Dr Couros found that the point at which women became convinced of the scammers authenticity was when they saw his face on a Sykpe call. These Skype calls had been put together using simple editing software.
“I’ve had many victims of romance scams (where scammers used my photos) ask me how it was possible that they saw “me” over Skype.”Dr Couros explains – “From these conversations, I’ve discovered that the scammers used a technique to port video over Skype to fake someone’s identity.
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The truth is, when we want to believe in something, we generally will. Pam Wareing wanted to believe in a second chance. As did all of the other victims of online dating fraud. Sudden and extreme adoration from a good-looking stranger who seems to understand us so well can be so very seductive. But there are very simple steps single people can take to avoid putting themselves at risk.
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At Attractive Partners, our policies and procedures are driven by the Dating Safely Guidelines set out by The Dating Agency Association. We personally interview and verify every member of our agency. By using a traditional dating agency, single men and women are no longer ‘out there’ alone.
If you would like to talk to Sarah, our senior membership adviser about how to meet new people in a safe and exciting environment, please call her on 0800 644 4140
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