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Gay Online Dating Scams Thriving in the Philippines

Gay Online Dating Scams Thriving in the Philippines

Dating scams are thriving everywhere on the planet and among all the fraud types, some sectors of the population are becoming particularly vulnerable. Focusing on specific populations has proven to be a successful strategy for online criminals. Such is the case of gay communities from all over the world who are being heavily targeted by Filipino scammers profiting from social media and dating apps.

The internet has been a main ground for social interaction for the gay community since the invention of the internet. Blogs and social networks have greatly contributed to this, and now dating apps such as GrindR have become the preferred way to meet new people within the LGBTQD community.

Con artists in the Philippines are increasingly creating fake online profiles in all these networks and apps and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money. One of the most common techniques is to build trust with the person by messaging for weeks, months or even years before making their first strike, which is commonly a request for financial assistance.  Or, some criminals never ask for money, they slowly gather and steal your information.  The schemes used are wisely designed. For a great part of the victims by the time they notice the red flags it is too late.

There are important things to consider in order to avoid being victim. Not every nice-looking profile photo or description is worth your time and attention. When it comes to fraud, things cannot be easily resolved. Taking some commonsense precautions can greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to a romance scam or internet fraud. You cannot undo sending money to a fraudster, you cannot undo sending private photos or personal information that can compromise your security or cause you to be blackmailed. That is why being cautious is the most important thing to consider.

If you’re in an online relationship, take it slowly and be skeptical. Since social media profiles may be fake, online dating requires being skeptical, to ask continuously many questions and to verify facts with a dating background check in the Philippines. Being naïve is not the same as being polite or tolerant, and these concepts are often confused.  Asking questions will provide you with relevant information, like a date of birth, address, employment and other information that can be used to determine whether or not the person you have been in contact with is who they claim to be.

Keep in mind that scammers look for anything that could be useful, so their priority might be your money, but your personal information can be just as good because they can use it to deceive someone else or to blackmail you.  Or better yet, they may steal your identity and take out a loan in your name.  When you´re dating online, be selfish with money and your personal information. If after a background check investigation by a professional investigator you find out that your date is legit, you might still want to consider some further investigation like surveillance. This is especially important in a country like the Philippines, where fraud and scam continue to be a major social problem.

C. Wright
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