Love Scam Online Revealed

In the first half of 2015, people in Singapore lost S$ 1.59 million in such scams, as well as S$3.7 million in Internet love scams. In the latter, scammers seek out victims via dating sites or social networking platforms and typically cheat them by claiming to be in financial trouble.

Singapore is one of the most connected countries in Asia with a high Internet-penetration rate and a very large digital footprint for a country its size. According to a 2014 Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore report, 88 per cent of households have access to the Internet and 79 per cent of individuals use the Net. This makes it a bigger pie for international scammers to pray on the innocent netizens.

scammer

National Crime Prevention Council said, one of the latest variants of the credit-for-sex scam comes from the Philippines. Jane (not her real name), a 39-year-old wife and mother in the Philippine capital Manila, carries out online scams as a full time job. She was introduced to the business of online scamming by her friends. Through online scams alone, Jane makes an average of US$2,100 monthly. In Philippines, this is equivalent to a senior manager’s monthly salary. As the remuneration is so lucrative, she made referral to her friends and neighbors to join her as full time or part time.  

Jane shared with reporter that Singaporeans are easier, more "gullible" targets. Singaporean men usually around their mid 30s and early 40s are easy to get around. Jane has been working as a scammer for 3 years. She gets away most of the time with a sweet voice which she inherited naturally.

Jane revealed that she did not post her real photo which looks much older. Instead she searched for a few Asian photos with different angles and posted on wechat or other social media platform to look credible. Painting a story that she was local, she would pretend to look for friends to heal her broken relationship or to share her sad story.

scammer

Such sympathy is easy to lure single men who are attracted by her online 'look'. She gave them her contact after some resistance and started creating credible story on how her ex boyfriends cheated on her, or how she had to look after her aged parents or sick siblings being the sole breadwinner. She sounded docile and submissive and dreamt to have a family with someone to love. 

This storyline was so convincing that sympathetic men often donate money to help her out of her predicament. In each case, she earned an average of US $50 - US $200 a day and sometimes even more. She has several different accounts and many different young girl's photos, she found online.

How to tell if someone is real or fake then? Funlink suggested a few pointers.

1. Do not reveal your bank account, contact number or real name at least for 3 - 5 months.

2. Do not be taken by a few pictures with different angle shots found in social media.

3. Do not share your occupation, family members or residential type with her.

4. Restrict the topics to general topics such as interest and hobbies.

5. Be sympatric on her plight but refrain from remitting her any money.

If someone is genuine, it is not likely that she requests any money from you. If she is trouble, she just needs a listening ear and she will meet you in person, if she finds you comfortable. All scammers have an objective. They are not interested to meet you. Rather they are more interested to seek your donation, to make them richer. Can you tell the difference now?