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Philippines Marriage Scams Still a Threat in Online Dating

Philippines Marriage Scams Still a Threat in Online Dating

Long distance and online relationships are usually complicated, but special attention is needed when the relationship involves the Philippines. Everyone knows online dating makes things easy and fun. People meet other people who they never expected to find, either because they live far away or because they are simply not the kind of people in their regular social circles. Although it´s great to find someone with a different culture and a fresh new perspective on life, big differences in age or in a socio-economic status can be daunting and an important risk factor when it comes to marriage scams.

Romance scams in the Philippines, and everywhere else, happen mostly because of these great differences. Income and human development opportunities are certainly not the same in Philippines as they are in the United States, U.K. or Canada or Australia.  Many Filipinas, unfortunately, view foreigners as an opportunity, a gateway to a better life, and love is not always a factor in this fairytale.

Women and men from poor and developing countries find those from developing a rich soil for fraud business, because there is a good chance that whomever they meet has a decent financial status, or at least good enough to provide a better living situation or an opportunity to leave the Philippines in search for a better life –under the protection of a resident or citizen legal status.

Filipinas have already scored some points in the fake marriage game. First of all, they are Asian and beautiful, 2 qualities that have been proven to be greatly appreciated by western men, so they already start with a good advantage. There are many dating sites designed especially for those looking for Asian love, and although some claim to have anti-scam protection (whatever that means), there is no guarantee of being safe. Second, a great part of the Philippines population speaks English, which makes communication easier for establishing relationships with wealthy foreigners from Australia, the U.S. and Canada.

And finally they´ve had experience. Romance scams have been going on for quite a while in the Philippines, so scammers know pretty much how the story goes.

Here are some of the most important red flags on Philippines marriage scams:

1. The relationship gets to a point where you haven´t got married but you find yourself paying for all her expenses every month. Dating scammers use different strategies around the world. For example, Ghana scams usually involve a one-time or a sporadic request for a big sum of money. Scammers in Ghana or Russia use fake identities and risk it all at once. However Filipinas are usually real, they are who they claim to be and they have often met their victims in person, but their objective is often still you money.  Even a scammer’s entire family can be involved, and will play along.  Many clients get help from private investigators in the Philippines to get the evidence they need.

2. She requested you to get started right away any process involving fiancée visa, international marriage or a citizenship request. Being able to get a visa or change citizen status is part of getting married to someone from a different country, but it should never be a motivation or a pressure. Get informed before applying for a visa that could get you in trouble. Government offices and websites offer valuable information about preventing marriage fraud, read it!

3. She has a close friend or an ex-husband that is always around. Many of these women are actually married to someone who agrees to her having this online relationship as long as it brings an income into the household. After all, it only takes a few minutes of chatting every day. Surveillance and Philippines local investigations are the best option to uncover this type of fraud.

4. It is always hard to communicate with her, she claims having a hard time to get Internet connection or problems with the phone. Open your eyes!  Sometimes scammers get tired, especially if the only reason to answer a phone call or chat with someone is to play along, not because she enjoys spending online time with you.  Stay skeptical and watch our for red flags.

Not all Filipinas are scammers, of course, but there is major risk in the country. If after verifying facts he or she passed the test, then congratulations! The odds of success have just improved.

C. Wright
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