Along with the increased online dating ads, obligatory chocolates, & overpriced roses, February brings an increase in romance & internet dating scams. Romance scams are now Canada's # 1 and fastest-growing crime.
The internet is now the most prevalent way in which strangers meet. Online dating can be a completely legitimate way to find romance & there are probably lots of great people online, (although I've yet to meet one). Unfortunately, (male & female), scammers are also out there. I'm not referring to people who lie about their age, photo shopping, or income; (although, that is annoying), but to those who actually earn a very lucrative living by manipulating unsuspecting victims.
Background checks are quick & inexpensive & can help to prevent financial & emotional ruin. Googling someone is simply no longer enough. Even a minimally skilled fraudster can create a convincing, (yet fake), online presence in no time. We typically get contacted after the fact; in an attempt to mitigate or recover damages (good luck). All too often we hear, "I wish I knew about you sooner...".
Background checks can be an integral step in protecting one's self but they are only part of the equation. Being proactive and able to identify a possible scam are also vital. A quiz, signs, tips, & case studies are on our Romance Scam page at axiominvestigations.com
Just yesterday, someone tried to convince me that meeting people in person somehow provides inoculation from being scammed. Wrong. (see our case studies). When you first meet someone; regardless of how you meet, you are only going to know about that person what they want you to know.
The answer is not to sit home alone or background check everyone in your inbox. The best approach likely means striking a healthy balance between opening one's self up to new possibilities & due diligence. Arm yourself with knowledge and then, by all means, go try to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, (or just treat yourself to a new pair of shoes instead).
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre