Patterns Emerge in Online Dating Scams

Internet scams are prevalent in all corners of the web. While many online scams seek to steal financial information, scammers have also seeped into the world of online dating. According to The Daily Scam, a website that raises awareness about internet scams and fraud schemes, over 500 men have reported being targets of hoaxes on Plenty of Fish, a dating app. The scam primarily affects young adult men in the United States.

If this Pattern Sounds Familiar, Contact an Attorney Near You!

So many young men have reported their scam stories to The Daily Scam that they soon identified a pattern from which the scam rarely strays. If this sounds like something that has happened to you, lawyers with the Umansky Law Firm may be able to help you put an end to it.

  1. After engaging with a young woman who claims to be 18 or older on an online dating site, she soon asks for the victim’s phone number to continue the conversation via text.
  2. After the two parties exchange numbers, the young woman asks to exchange photographs. Soon, she sends a sexual image of herself or requests one of the victim. Note: in this phase of the scam, the scammer may try to get a photo of the victim’s face to blackmail him at a later date. The scammer might also say she will “soon turn 18” and send a sext, to which the victim might respond with a sext of his own.
  3. A day to a few days after exchanging sexts, the victim receives a call from the girl’s “father” stating that she is underage. The “father” threatens to report the victim to authorities unless he can send money. The man may ask the victim to pay for counseling, medical bills, or make up a reason why the victim’s actions cost him money.
  4. Usually, the “father” requests about $1500 but accepts less. Victims in this stage may pay between $500 and $800 thinking it will make the nightmare go away.
  5. A “detective” later calls to put pressure on the victim to pay up or to pay more than he has already paid. If the victim Googles the number, it may turn up the local law enforcement agency, but it’s not. Criminals use apps to make their phone numbers show up as different numbers.
  6. The criminal usually knows more information about the victim than the victim provided in the initial chats. Criminals research their victims to scare them into compliance.
  7. During these communications, the man posing as the father or police officer often refer to the victim as “sir.”
  8. The “match” may send fake photos of herself to try to confirm her identity. If the victim requests a photo of the match immediately and she takes several minutes to send one back, chances are she is looking online for a photo like the one requested.

Beware of Online Dating Police Stings

In some cases, what may appear to be a scam could be a real police sting. The exchange of naked photographs via text messages with a match who posed as an adult but is, in fact, a minor could lead to serious criminal charges.  Even if you are a victim of a scam, you may still have broken the law. If you are convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender. Some charges may include:

Orlando Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers Can Help

The young men reporting these scams have faced considerable emotional strain and hardship believing them to be real. In one instance, a victim committed suicide because he believed he would be branded as a sex offender and spend a considerable portion of his life behind bars. The Orlando sex crimes defense team at the Umansky Law Firm is fully dedicated to helping you resolve the issue if you are involved in one of these schemes. We support victims of these scams and can take the following actions:

  • Determining whether the scam is a hoax or set-up.
  • If it’s a hoax, we can advise the scammers that we are lawyers and threaten to take legal action.
  • If the caller is a policeman, we can ask him not to question you. Our attorneys can take a number of actions to shield you from police interrogations before police file charges.
  • If you are under arrest, we can arrange a turn-in so you can avoid being arrested in front of your family or coworkers.
  • We can arrange for a bondsman and help you prepare for a bond hearing.

Our lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience defending misdemeanor and felony sex crimes throughout Central Florida. Call 407-228-3838 to discuss your concerns. We provide free consultations.