Columbia is a beautiful place with many great people. It is also a sought after travel destination for some. Dating scams have been around for many years, but because the internet is growing in third world countries, this gives those with low incomes the ability to take advantage of others who may be more well-off.
Due to the overwhelming amount of individuals being scammed by these dishonest romance scammers, we have decided to create a help guide that will teach you how to spot and avoid these kinds of people.
Many scammers love to use keywords and will not hesitate to drain your bank account and even cause legal trouble in extreme cases. Let’s go over the most popular Colombian dating scams and what you can do to prevent yourself from becoming another one of their victims.
Columbian Dating Scam: Common Formats
Online Sugar Daddy/Momma
First Time Talking
Sugar Daddies are becoming an extremely popular option to people looking for an easy payday in exchange for a few sacrifices, but what happens when the victim doesn’t know that they are a sugar daddy/momma? Both parties will initially meet on social media or a dating website.
However, the scammer will quickly ask the victim to move to another platform such as Google Hangouts. This gives the scammer more freedom; and the victimless security. The scammer will start to talk intimately to the victim and mention the unmatchable love that they have for the victim, despite the often short span of time.
Money For Jewelry
Once the scammer has the victim on their preferred platform, they will quickly begin dragging them into a very explicit trance using video chat. To put it into blunt terms, the victim will fall in love with the scammers body, yet the video that is being shown to the victim may be AI, or even stolen content. Nonetheless, the scammer will start asking for money continuously and often. If not for necessities like bills, they may even use it for luxuries such as jewelry and expensive clothes.
Airfare & Visa Scam
Although we are not sure of the exact reason, this particular scam looks to be the most popular in Columbia. This scam starts out slow, with both parties chatting online using a dating website or social media platform. Early on, she will begin to try and drag the victim into a romantic trance, which brings their guard down.
Mentioning A Visit
Once the scammer is confident that the victim may not suspect anything if asked, she will start reeling him in. The scammer will mention that she’d love to come and visit him, except for the fact that she lacks the funds for the trip. Excited about the idea, the victim volunteers to pay for the trip. The scammer accepts the funds, and while she arrives at the airport, is asked for a Visa.
Seemingly upset, she explains this to the unsuspecting victim who, yet again, sends the funds for the Visa after the scammer mentions she lacks the funds for this too. Just after this, the scammer explains that she needs a minimum amount in her bank account to leave the country itself, so she asks the victim for money once again. As you can see, this is a complete merry-go-round. Make sure to avoid getting caught in this costly cycle.
Moving Onto Another Platform
This scam is such a classic — yet because it exists in so many different countries, we felt it was necessary to include. In the beginning and after you both have connected online, the scammer will request that you both move onto another platform; this could even be email.
After you both are off of the original platform, the scammer will start telling you that they have grown a great love for you and that the reasoning of you both meeting online is due to keywords such as “destiny” or “fate”. This is used to bring your guard down and works well because people love being loved, and those open to dating individuals in different countries may sometimes be a bit vulnerable.
Nonetheless, once the scammer is confident that she has reeled you in good enough, she will mention that she has a relative that has had a sudden emergency of some sort, such as a car accident and that they need surgery. To add a sense of urgency to the scheme, they may threaten something such as the person will be paralyzed for life if they don’t get the surgery within 48 hours. Of course, they have many other excuses up their sleeve; but watching out for this general common method can really help you.
Do Not Share Personal Information
Personal information shared with those who have bad intentions can lead to many extreme negative consequences. If anyone asks you for your social security number, banking information or even your address, especially if they are not local to the area, report and block them immediately.
Sending Money Is Off-Limits
It may not be a surprise that most online dating scammers are after one goal: money. If you are asked to send money to someone online, especially an individual whom you have never met, then block this person. The possible good outcome is not worth the more negative potential consequences if this person is not honest.
Beware Of Keywords
Scammers do this as their job; and over time they realize that certain words work best. We have found that the most used keywords are romanticized words like “fate” and “destiny.” If an online romance states that those are the reasons you’ve both met online, this is likely a scam and should be taken as a warning.
Preventing Colombian Dating Scams
Oftentimes, scammers forget to make their social media appear legitimate. Some scammers even have two profiles, one used for the victim; and the other widely available to the public, yet completely contradicts the opposite profile. Make sure to check for page structure and age. A brand new profile is a frequent red flag. This is especially true if it lacks engagement such as likes and comments.
Requesting a video call can help determine whether someone is being honest or not, even if they deny the call. If you actually are able to get on a video call, ask hard questions and pay attention; try to see if you notice any scripted answers. If they simply deny to do the call, especially more than once, this is a definite red flag. You should know to never perform explicit activities on video if they ask you, as that is also a popular extortion scam.
Google Reverse Image Search
Many scammers use stolen photos from other profiles; and the best way to determine if they own the photo or not is to take advantage of Google’s reverse image search feature. Once the image has been uploaded, Google will search billions of websites for the photo. If more than one name is attached to the photo, then this is a huge warning sign.
What does the FTC say?
According to the FTC, romance scams have cost individuals more than $140 million dollars in the year of 2018. These scams could be prevented if the proper preventive methods are used. Most online dating scammers target those who may seem vulnerable, so never mention that you are new to online dating and make sure you have a solid profile built. The FTC also states that you should report someone who you think may be a romance scammer directly to the FTC, which can not only help them catch the scammer targeting you, but will also help them learn more about how the scammers operate. Never send personal information or give money to anyone online — and never perform any explicit acts for a new romance.