Scam of the day – February 14, 2013 – Online dating scams

Valentine’s Day is a very happy day for couples in relationships, however, it can be a particularly lonely time for people who are not, but are seeking one.  Many people seek romantic partners online and there are many legitimate online dating services, however, there also are many online dating services that are just scams and, unfortunately, even on legitimate online dating services, it has been estimated that 10% of the online dating profiles are scams.  Most online dating scams follow a similar pattern.  The person you meet online falls deeply in love with you quite quickly, but they live far from you and getting together in person is quite difficult.  In addition, there is always an excuse for their not using a webcam while conversing online.  In fact, one reason for this is that sometimes, the person may be representing themselves as being one sex, when they are actually the other; a man may be representing that he is a woman to a heterosexual man seeking a romantic partner.  Quite early in the relationship an emergency arises or perhaps they just want you to send money so that they can come visit you.  In either situation, they need you to wire money to them.  If you do, you will lose this money.  The relationship is a scam.


Only deal with well established online dating services on the Internet.   Although it is not a guarantee that you will not be scammed, it increases the odds in your favor.  Be wary of someone who falls in love with you quickly.  Be particularly skeptical if this person suddenly needs you to send money for any reason and never send money by wire upon request by your romantic partner.  This is good indication that the relationship is a scam because scammers prefer funds to be wired because they are more difficult to trace, retrieve or stop payment.  Be wary of telltale signs such as emails that are from people who represent to you that he or she is an American abroad, but his or her English grammar and spelling is bad.  One final warning.  Never send nude or suggestive photos because those photos can be used to blackmail you later.

Scam of the day – December 31, 2012 – Scams to watch for in the new year

Rather than look back on this, the last day of 2012, I think it is more productive to look ahead to what scams and identity theft schemes you should be wary of in the new year.  More and more identity theft schemes will be aimed at your smart phones and portable devices.  As we all use our smart phones and portable devices for so many activities, they have become attractive targets for identity thieves who are looking to steal information from your portable devices and smart phones to make you a victim of identity theft and even though many of us would never think about leaving our computers unprotected, many of us do not sufficiently protect our smart phones and portable devices.  Check out my new book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” for specific advice on how to protect your smart phones and portable devices.  Also, as I warned you a few days ago, there will be major hackings by botnets into American banks.  Protect your computer from being a part of a botnet and make sure that you continually follow your bank accounts to make sure that you promptly identify any breaches of security.

Every season is scam season and you can count on February bringing Super Bowl scams and Valentine Day scams.  Prior to April there will be many scams involved with filing income tax returns.  Summer will bring many vacation scams.  The early Fall will bring scams related to hurricanes and other natural disasters.  December will bring the usual holiday shopping scams and charity scams.


Information is power.  Read “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” and “The Truth About Avoiding Scams” to arm yourself with specific information you can use to protect yourself from scams and identity theft schemes.  Also, read this blog each and every day so that you stay current with the latest scams and identity theft schemes.  And trust me, you can’t trust anyone.