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8 Steps to Avoid Philippines Romance Scams

8 Steps to Avoid Philippines Romance Scams

Romance scams have long existed in the world, but before the popularity of the Internet it was easier to know the true intentions of all the Romeo´s and Juliet´s out there. Millions of people have claimed eternal love and married with someone, even though their true motivation was just cashing in the money or getting a green card.  These days, with reported scam and fraud cases at an all-time high, verifying your potential partner is serious business and not something you should overlook, especially in the Philippines.

Online romance scamming has become easier for crooks because the distance helps them create whatever story they like, including fake identities and online profiles, and without the “effort” of having to deal with the physical presence of the other person. It is also more difficult to prosecute these criminals because it involves foreign law enforcement and court, and it’s hard to prove.  But, while the Internet helps criminals conduct fraud, it’s also a great place to learn about the warning signs, risks and services to help you.

Most online dating scammers and Filipina bride scammers use the same modus operandi. Potential victims can at least follow the thread of events and stories, and determine if things in the relationship are getting too close to the scamming pattern.  A proper dating background check is always recommended.

Some of the most important steps you need to follow are:

1. Before beginning your journey in the Philippines online dating world, try to get as much information as possible about reputable sites (although none are exempt from scammers, some are more careless about security and online privacy).  Some sites also have more legitimate profiles.

2. When you meet someone online, ask many questions.  Name, date of birth, address, etc. Obtain as many details as you can about the person. All the information you gather will be helpful when you consult a professional private investigator for a background check in the Philippines and verify if the person is being honest about who she/he claims to be.  Be skeptical and verify!

3. Never assume the photo is the real thing unless you pay a professional to verify.  Many online dating scam warnings recommend to avoid those profiles with professional photographs of women who seem too gorgeous to be true. Although this is a great advice for most of the countries, it might not be the case with Philippines scams. Filipina scammers are usually using their own pictures or stolen pictures of a real person from Facebook or elsewhere on the Internet.  In many cases, the subject is real and the pictures are real, but the identity, names and motives are entirely different.

4. Search the web for the name, email address or website profile name being used to see if anything negative pops up.  Search results may provide some clues, but in most cases it won’t provide any clear evidence.  Regardless, it is an important first step in the verification process and can at least help you screen for any obvious history of fraud or Philippines romance scams.

5. Watch out for those who fall in love overnight.  Normal relationships take time, especially when meeting online. There are many things to discover about one another before really knowing if people like each other. Scammers often try to catch their prey fast, so professing love too soon is definitely a warning sign and red flag.  If it happened too fast, or seems to good to be true…

6. If the relationship shows potential, take the time to verify with a professional background check service.   You might also plan a trip to the Philippines, but only after you have a reputable private investigator conduct a background check.  Traveling to the Philippines to meet a criminal or someone who doesn’t exist can be a devastating experience, so don’t set yourself up for failure.

7. If you’ve already met the subject in person, consider surveillance.  Meeting in person is a great way to get to know her and make sure she’s real, but you’re not out of the woods yet.  Speak to an experienced Philippines investigator about your case, and get an objective opinion.  In many cases, scam victims have been to the Philippines, met the subject, and even met the whole family.  It’s not uncommon in the Philippines for a husband to pretend to be a cousin, and entire family can be involved in the scam in order to improve their financial situation.  Many cases often require local surveillance in Manila or the city where the woman lives to be absolutely certain there is no fraud or scam.

8. Don’t sent money to anyone you’ve never met in person or had verified by a professional.  An honest and decent person will not ask for money from someone he or she has never met, regardless of their financial situation.  Even the poorest of poor, if respectable, will know that asking for money is a bad idea in the beginning of a relationship.  If you are asked for money, tell him or her you won’t have any extra money right now, and consider hiring an investigator to conduct a comprehensive background check investigation.  If the subject only wants money or a visa, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later.

Fraud happens every day, online and offline. But those who take precautions are less likely to be victims. Get informed and avoid online romance scams in the Philippines and beyond.

C. Wright
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