Thousands of people sign up with internet dating sites every day.  While not all will meet the love of their life, many will enjoy long or short-term relationships.  Others will at least date or make new friends.  For these people online dating is an enjoyable and positive experience.  For some who join internet dating sites however, nothing could be further from the truth when they find themselves the victim of Nigerian dating scams. 

Nigerian Dating Scams – The Facts

Nigerian dating scams are, unfortunately, on the increase.  We’ve all heard stories of people who have joined dating sites and, within a few short months, found themselves in debt.  Some have depleted their bank account and sold most of their possessions.  Some have even mortgaged their house to send money overseas to help some guy or girl who is supposedly in dire straits.  You may be incredulous that anyone could be so naive or stupid as to be taken in by Nigerian Dating scams.  Sometimes though, when emotions are involved, common sense flies out the window.  Remember, the perpetrators of Nigerian dating scams are experts, therefore very convincing.

Nigerian Dating Scams – Red Flags

As a rule, those who pull Nigerian dating scams target their potential victims by joining dating sites where they create a bogus profile.  They will often be the one to initiate contact and, after a very short period of time – sometimes even in the first email – they will claim to have very strong feelings for you.  They will tell you they would rather speak to you off the site either by phone, instant message, or via your personal email account.  If you agree to this, they will unsubscribe from the site.  They will then inform you of this, saying they no longer need to be a member of any internet dating sites because they have found the one they want to be with: you!

You may wonder how anyone could fall for such a ruse.  The thing is, few amongst us wouldn’t be flattered and want to believe our new contact is telling the truth.  Those who are lonely and haven’t been in a relationship for some time are especially vulnerable.  If their photos are to be believed – which of course they are not - instigators of Nigerian dating scams are good looking individuals.  They tend to be considerably younger than the people they target.  Though the person being duped may suspect all is not what it seems, romance scammers have a knack of knowing how to tell their victims exactly what they want to hear.

Once you’ve taken the relationship off the site, one of two things will usually happen.  The scammer may email every day; flowery emails of love and longing.  Or they may only email every few days.  Their excuse for the latter will be that their internet connection is intermittent or that they or a relative have been ill.  The real story is they’ve been busy scamming other people on internet dating sites.

By around week two they will tell you they can’t wait any longer and that they have to fly over to be with you.  They will go on to say they don’t have the money for an air ticket right now.  They will hint strongly or reluctantly ask you to lend them the money.  The other possible scenario is that they will tell you they have booked a flight.  Regardless of which way they play it, something will inevitably come up at the last minute preventing them from catching the plane.  This could be illness, an accident, a house fire; or maybe a robbery or business deal that has fallen through.  The bottom line is they need money, and they need it urgently.

“Just a loan”, mind you, and they are, “so embarrassed to have to ask.”  They will, “make it up to you” and “pay you back as soon as the money they are waiting on clears.”  Do not fall for this.  It’s a romance scam.  Never, ever, give money to someone you have just met online, be that on a dating site or some other social network.  Do so and could find yourself Nigerian dating scams latest victim.

Lastly, do not reveal your bank account details to people you meet on internet dating sites.  They may come up with a seemingly plausible reason for needing to get money out of their country, and tell you they want to deposit the money into your account.  It’s easy to deposit a check which later bounces.  By the time you find out, your bank account will have been stripped of funds.  Another possibility is that they might be trying to launder money and using internet dating sites as a means to do so.

Don’t let the remote possibility of being scammed turn you off joining internet dating sites.  Use your head, date safely, and follow the dating site tips above to prevent yourself from being a victim of any Nigerian dating scams.

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