How to Spot a Scammer Online

Posted by in online dating after 40, single women over 40 | 5 comments

how to spot an online scammerI never thought it would happen to me. The dating coach, the one who helps women stay safe online, almost fell for a romance scammer on JDate. He was handsome (only it wasn’t his real photo, as I later found out), had a sad sweet story, and what can I say ~ I’m a sucker for a widower. And that’s exactly why scammers use that as a cover. Luckily, I got wise to his devious ways pretty quickly. But there were many others before me who weren’t as lucky.

Here’s how it began.

I saw a cute guy online. I read his profile, and miracle of miracles, he was a Modern Orthodox Jew, just like me. Except that Orthodox Jews keep kosher and attend synagogue most Sabbaths. His profile said he kept kosher sometimes and attended synagogue infrequently, so that was my first clue that something was not right. On our second email exchange on JDate, he asked for my private email address. As a man new to the dating scene after his wife’s tragic death, being online was overwhelming for him. That sounded legit, so I gave him my private email.

Big mistake, ladies. Stay in communication on the dating site until you feel you can trust a man with your private email/phone number. Even better, you should have an email address dedicated to dating, just in case you do get scammed.

He wrote me a lovely email, telling me the sad story of his wife’s death from cancer a few years earlier. He alsoo said he was an orphan (cue violins), and his mom tragically died in a car crash a few years ago. Good job pulling on heart strings and getting me to feel for him. He wrote many paragraphs about  the importance of impeccable character traits. Ironic, huh, that the liar/scammer would write so much about respect, loyalty, fidelity, honesty, and great communication.

Another clue to pay attention to your intuition.

He said he wanted to get to know me slowly, as he was overwhelmed about being out in the dating world after his wife’s death. But in the next email, he told me he took his profile down, as he wants to get to know me better. Hmmm, do you spot a red flag??

How to spot a scammer online:

The next time I went on JDate, there was a message in my inbox that someone had recently tried to contact me and because he violated terms, he was suspended. My intuition told me it must have been him, but I was still giving him the benefit of the doubt. I asked him to call me, as the emails seemed to be going nowhere. I thought it was a language issue, as he claimed to be of German descent.  Another mistake, ladies.

Don’t give out your number until you’ve built some rapport and trust. I purposely gave out my cell number, so he wouldn’t be able to trace my home address. That’s the preferable number once you’re ready to share numbers.

He called me after midnight last night. Good thing my phone was on silent. Now I knew for sure that there was something really off with him. Who makes a first phone call to a woman after midnight? Not someone with impeccable character, that’s for sure! When he texted me this morning, I told him it wasn’t okay to call me late at night, and he apologized profusely. Said it would never happen again. Well, I decided to google him again. The first time I had tried, I couldn’t find him at all. But, my friend told me you can google images.

I pulled his image off of JDate, placed it on my desktop, and dropped it into the Google image search. And what came up was worse than I had imagined.

There was a page onlinededicated to this guy’s scamming. Seems he’s asked several women for money. This smooth talker goes by the name of David Albert. He had a profile on ChristiansMingle.com, too. Not even a Jew, let alone an Orthodox one!

He was a bad liar!

The thing is, his lies were inconsistent. His stories didn’t line up, from the way he posted about his Jewish observance, to the story about his son living in California, which became Texas in the next email.  He wanted to move slowly, and then he ‘pulled his profile to get to know me better’. Turns out his photo is not really him, but a professor in London he must have pulled off the internet. Liars should choose less famous people’s photos! I saw another posing as Larry David last night on JDate! Come on, guys, most women are more savvy than that.

What to do when you’ve found a scammer?

Telling him that he is busted will accomplish absolutely nothing except to teach him how to be better at scamming/victimizing the next woman. So, by all means, do not confront him.

Here’s what I did: I reported the abuse/fraud to the site immediately, giving clear examples and links to the page I found on the internet uncovering the romance scam for money.

I told the perpetrator that I’ve reunited with my old flame, and we’ve decided to date exclusively. I wished him well in his search for his beloved. And he thanked me for my good wishes.

Has this ever happened to you? If so, please share below. If not, I hope I’ve helped prevent someone from falling for a scammer.

Stay safe!

xoxo

Sandy

Comments

5 Comments

  1. If it makes you feel better there are plenty of females scamming males on those sites. I am a trained investigator and have my own hunches

    1) If it is too good to be true, bet that it isn’t
    2) If a person shares a common interest test them on it. In your case asking a modern Orthodox male what letter is made when the tefilin straps are tied about the hands would have gotten a duhhhh or a long delayed answer.
    3) Few people want to start a romance with someone geographically unavailable.
    4) If you live in the same community chances are you likely know someone who is in the same line of work.

    Good luck and keep your chin up.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I am sure women scam men, too!

    Great tips on how to tell if they’re scammers. I saw discrepancies right away. I would add to your list that if a person uses lots of over-the-top words of affection before he knows you, he/she’s probably cutting and pasting and sending mass emails to potential victims. Asking for money is another scam technique. And they usually have some sob story, like the one who scammed me, about the loss of a spouse, a car accident, etc.

    My guy couldn’t keep his lies straight.

    I was lucky. I am savvy, I am a dating coach who studies this stuff, and I cut him off after a few emails. I was able to regain trust right away, but many don’t have the same ability to discern a scammer from a good person online.

    My advice is not to trust someone until you have reason to trust.
    Online dating is a great way to meet people, and at the same time, it can be a cesspool of scammers and scumbags. You need to be your own best judge.

    Sandy

  3. In my case I am a trained investigator. That being said women need to be on the lookout for what is called in the trade “Ricardo”.

    Unlike your traditional scams Ricardo will promise you the moon. He is typically about five years younger and will wine and dine you. The passion will be electric and you will find out on roughly date number three he has no green card, He has kids in his home country or sometimes even nearby.

    He will be very attentive and loving until he gets a permanent green card. Then he typically disappears and divorces you promptly after year two. Amazingly he falls back in love with his former spouse and remarries her.

    Don’t be ashamed to ask about immigration status early. Go to his home country and take a blunt look at his family. Learn whatever language he speaks and keep a careful watch. If your family and friends are creeped out be wary.Don’t invest too much and take your time. Tell him you need two years to get married and see if he is still there.

  4. Ricardo sounds toxic. I can see a vulnerable woman with poor self-esteem falling for a guy like this. Marrying him and still not figuring out what a scumbag he is? It’s hard to imagine this scenario, but if you say it’s common, I’m glad to post this for others to see.

    Two years is a long time to evaluate a person before marriage. It’s a lot of wasted time. I like your advice to get a look at his family, and to have your family/friends weigh in. The problem lies in the fact that many women with poor self-esteem don’t listen to the wisdom of their closest allies. They are too swept away by the ‘love’ hormones.

    Thank you for the warnings. I hope someone who needs to read this will recognize a Ricardo and run away.

  5. I get about three cases like this every week. It is very common among
    upper income Jewish women. Most are too embarrassed to talk about this and are regulars in therapy

    Ricardo needs a Green card for his real wife. He will be loving and very attentive for the two years he gets a conditional green card. After that he is gone, and at best you will get a story about wanting to be with his kids

    Immigration is a very typical way nice people get hurt. If Ricardo is rushing you, it is a bad sign. Few scammers will wait 4 years to sponsor their real family. You will have great memories, but it is best to avoid serious pain later.

    The typical victim is an upper income 48 something divorced woman who has been divorced after 20 plus years of marriage. They tried bars, networking and internet dating but the truth is the rules have changed.

    Dating after 40 is much different and sometimes you have to create your own market. After 40 many men would rather hang with the guys then be bothered with dating. However, a clever targeted approach will get you that date with the otherwise unavailable type. It is easier then it sounds,, Getting additional dates is easy if you are attentive without smothering.

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  1. How Do You Know He's a Romance Scammer? - Last First Date | Last First Date - […] online, a romance scammer contacted me. There were many red flags from the outset. I wrote an article about…

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