Oct 12 2020

Why Do Online Romance Scams Work?

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:32

When opening Firefox tabs, I always see a list of recommended articles from various sites. I pick about one per day to read, the rest I either ignore or just skim through quicky. The one I chose for today is this one.

It is a about a scam artist with a very peculiar niche: older, single and rich women. As I read the article, I couldn’t stop myself from wondering: Why would some people give away money so easily, and especially to people they do not know really well? Also, if you read the articles, there are so many red-flags about him that I cannot believe somebody would be so enamored to give this guy thousands of dollars to “invest”.

He was a gregarious and engaging storyteller, practically brimming with extraordinary, rollicking stories of his business career, of making millions off a deal and of champagne-soaked dinners with the billionaire Richard Branson.

I am 37, if I go to a first date with somebody my age or older and they talk too much I am suspicious. I mean, come on, you are single at a difficult age – if you do not look like Chris Hemsworth, all that confidence must be fake. If it is not, you are very detached from reality, and that is a huge red-flag. And if you try to woo me with your billion-dollar business stories, I will take it with a grain of salt and even be very weary of you. I know money is power, and people with money are powerful, it’s a little bit scary for me to interact with you, because if our interactions go sideways and you turn out to be a vengeful bastard, those money you brag about might come in handy for making my life miserable. I also grew up with a father always bragging about money he did not have, so I’m pretty reluctant to believe people bragging about money.

The lady that is first mention in the article, gave him 160.000$ two months after they met online. So, they barely ever saw each other, and barely could call this… dating. Two questions here: who asks somebody for 160.000$ after dating only for two months? And in what world do you live in, that somebody asking you for so much money is normal? And ok, three questions, who gives somebody they barely know 160.000$?
Maybe I’ve never been so rich that 160.000$ were pocket money. But when I will be, I promise you, I won’t give it away to a person I barely know. Why? Because if I ever get to have that kind of money, it will be through my own work and believe me, when the money you have has been accumulated through hard work and blood and sweat you wouldn’t give them away that easily. I’s basic human nature and survival instinct.

I just read that article, and I cannot think of a real reason why grown up, smart and rich women would give away money to a guy they barely know. I mean, I’ve felt lonely before, but if I have to pay for somebody’s company and love, I’d rather pay for a male escort. Or more than one.

I have been hurt a lot during my lifetime, so you can blame my skepticism and my defensiveness on that. But I cannot imagine that people with a decent childhood have no awareness of the world they live in at all. They must know that there are people that do not abide by society rules, and that hurt and take advantage of other people, especially people with what we call “a good soul”. But… how naive can you be?

If you take your time and read that article, you will fond the following statistic:

In the U.S. in 2019, some 25,000 people reported being the victim of online romance scams, with losses estimated at more than $200 million (U.S.). In Canada in that same year, 760 Canadians lost $22.5 million to romance scammers, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the RCMP. In both countries, according to the FBI, romance scams now constitute the highest-loss form of consumer fraud.

So must ask, what the actual fuck? I mean, all I can think is that the scammed people have serious issues that a psychologist should treat. I mean, I know we should give people the benefit of the doubt, we should still trust people, even after traumatic events, but maybe a little skepticism and self-preservation is not such a bad thing. And yeah, I know we want to protect our children, and keep them innocent and hopeful, but some skepticism and self-preservation might be good for them in the long run. So that they won’t be taken advantage of by scammers, when they are in a vulnerable time of their lives.

But, what do I know? Fortunately, I’m not rich enough to be a target for these kinds of scams and I’m not suffering from loneliness enough to pay to alleviate it.

Stay safe, stay happy, and develop your skepticism muscle!

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