The recent conviction of mother and daughter team Karen Vasseur and Tracy Vasseur again brings into focus the serious problem with romance scams. Scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists, prey upon every human emotion and frailty. Certainly avoiding loneliness and the desire for a romantic relationship is important to just about everyone. The Vasseurs took advantage of 374 people seeking romance and swindled them out of more than a million dollars. As is often the case today, the Vasseurs posed online as members of the military serving in Afhganistan. They would establish relationships online with their victims and early into the relationship profess both their love and their need for money for various reasons. The victims wired money to their new loves and never heard from them again.
There are many red flags to help you identify romance scams. I describe many of them in detail in my book “The Truth About Avoiding Scams” which you can purchase from Amazon by clicking on the icon of the book at the right hand side of the page. The most important thing to remember is to always be skeptical of anyone who falls in love with you quickly online without ever meeting you and early into the relationship needs you to wire money. Here are a few other things to look for to help identify a romance scam. Often their profile picture is stolen from a modeling website on the Internet. If the picture looks too professional and the person looks too much like a model, you should be wary. Particular phrases, such as “Remember the distance or color does not matter, but love matters a lot in life” is a phrase that turns up in many romance scam emails. Also be on the lookout for bad spelling and grammar as many of the romance scammers claim to be Americans, but are actually foreigners lying about where they are and who they are. Of course you should be particularly concerned if someone falls in love with you almost immediately. Often they will ask you to use a webcam, but will not use one themselves. This is another red flag. One thing you may do is ask them to take a picture of themselves holding up a sign with their name on it. In addition, ask for a number of pictures because generally when the scammers are stealing pictures of models from websites, they do not have many photographs. Ask for the picture to be at a particular place that you designate to further test them.