This in-depth guide will explain the most common Phillippines dating scams and explain what you can do to avoid falling victim.
Online dating scams are growing both in numbers and complexity. After all, the majority of the time, this is often their full-time job. This means that we must be much more careful now than we ever have been before.
Fortunately, we have covered many online and offline dating scams. This means that we have discovered that the scammers typically use very similar tactics to convince their targets to unknowingly become a victim.
We’re also going to cover scams that are a bit more unique to the Philippines. This guide will explain the most common dating scams within the Philippines, as well as what you can do to avoid becoming another one of their victims.
Philippines Dating Scam: Common Formats
The Visa Scam
Initially, you will be contacted online, likely on a social media website. This gives the scammer an unlimited amount of personas, which essentially means they get to choose how you see them. This is bad news for his targets, however, because it makes it a little harder to really know who they are. They may ask you to use another platform; even emails. This is a huge red flag.
You’ll both probably talk for around one or two weeks, which gives the scammer enough time to feel you out. The scammer will start using catchphrases once he feels like he has you where he needs you, in terms of convincing you. These phrases will entail buzz words like “destiny” or “soulmate.” These words are used to make you more susceptible to giving in to his request, by pulling you into a love trance.
Lack of Funds
When the scammer feels that he has you in a very susceptible state of mind, he may mention that he would love to come and see you. However, the scammer will then explain that he does not have enough money to do so. This is when the susceptible victim offers to pay for the flight. If the victim does not offer, though, the scammer will often directly ask the victim for the money.
No Visa Claim
After the victim has either voluntarily offered or has sent the money by request, the scammer will, at this point, mention that he has forgotten that he needs a Visa. The victim will then be briefed that he lacks funds to buy this Visa, leading to another cry for help. The victim, who had already sent money for the plane ticket, sends the money for the Visa.
A Broken Heart
Once the victim has sent the money for the plane ticket, along with any other expenses, such as the Visa, the scammer will likely end all communications with the victim. Sometimes they may drag it out further, inventing more random scenarios they need emergency funds for. However, most victims figure out they’re being scammed by this time.
Scammer Requests Video Call
Requesting a video chat is actually a common dating scam used by scammers in the Philippines. This involves the scammer contacting the victim online, chatting for a week or two, then requesting that they both communicate over video chat. Yet, the scammer insists that he does not have a webcam, then implies that he lacks the funds to purchase one.
Requesting Funds for Webcam
This is the point where the scam starts to unfold. The scammer will ask the victim to send them the money to purchase the webcam, so that he can buy one. With that said, this scam is easily picked up on, if you know what to look for.
Most Devices Have Webcams
It’s in the 20’s now, so essentially every device that has online connectivity and communication abilities already have webcams built into the device. The fact that they’re already talking to you online, means they most likely do in fact have a webcam on the very device they’re chatting with the victim on. This is the most common scenario that involves webcams, and may not stop here.
The scammer may also entice you to act out sexual favors over the webcam, if he feels you are still susceptible. The scammer will then blackmail you and ask for money. If you do not comply with his demands, he threatens to send the secretly recorded footage to your friends and family. Do not fall for this. This can actually be a scam just by itself, with this aspect being either the first goal of the scammer or the final one. Never do anything online that you may regret later.
Without fail, the scammer reaches out to you online, and the inevitable keywords like “destiny” will start flowing in after a week or two. This is used to lower your guard, so when you’re asked the big question, you’re much more susceptible to agreeing.
Once he is convinced that your guard is down, he’ll start mentioning random scenarios that have happened to him or his family. These can range from anything to a car crash, or a sudden family emergency, such as life saving surgery for his sister.
The Money is Sent
The victim feels terrible for the scammer, so she feels responsible to send the money. Unfortunately for them, this scam is unlikely to end just yet. It could continue for weeks, months, or even years, in some cases. If you are ever asked to send money for a sudden emergency online, hesitation should be the first thing that crosses your mind.
Preventive Methods for Phillipine Romance Scams
Google Reverse Image Search
This is a fantastic option to take advantage of, that essentially allows you to upload and search any image you’d like. This means that you can pull an image from a dating profile you’re suspicious about; and search the entire database of Google. If you find just one or two images of the photo you’ve uploaded, it’s more than likely original and legitimate. By contrast, if there are four or five duplicate images or more, this should raise a red flag and call for more research.
Check Out Their Social Media
If you suspect a scam, ask them for their social media details. This allows you to look at their profile photos, previous post and engagement. If the engagement is low, ask yourself why. While yes, it could be due to a low amount of friends, it could also be that all the “friends” themselves are fake. These are all things to look for that give huge amounts of information quickly. A lack of social media structure is a huge red flag.
Request to Call Them
The majority of online dating scammers avoid phone calls at all costs. This is due to a few reasons. The first is that it’s hard to acquire a phone number that is local to their claimed location, such as the state of the victim. Moreover, phone calls allow the victim to hear the scammers voice, which more often than not, will likely have a very noticeable accent. This is very helpful if the person claims to live in the U.S. you’ll also have the chance to hear if they’re reading from a script.
Things To Keep In Mind
Never Send Personal Information
Anyone that is interested in dating you should never need your personal information, especially your SSN or banking info. This means that if you’re asked to send this information to anyone online, particularly through a dating website, you should immediately block and report them.
Don’t Fall For A Quick Romance
Most online dating scammers have inadequate patience, which means they move very quickly. If you are told you’ve both met online due to “fate” or “destiny”, especially in the first week or two, then this should spark suspicion.
Do Not Send Money
Money is the center of almost all dating scams, so if you’re ever asked to send money online, keep your guard up. This almost never ends well, especially when it’s related to online dating.
Check out our guide on money scams…
A Victim’s Story
Just like in most cases, the victim here was contacted online, by what seemed an ordinary, yet successful man traveling Europe. The man claimed that he did electrical engineering for a living, and at the time, was posted in Europe for work. The victim explains in the video that she was contacted at a time when she was vulnerable, and told the reporter that everything he said made sense.
The scam originally started with the victim wiring over $5,000, allegedly to purchase new tools after his specialized tool set was accidentally left in a Taxi. After the victim had sent him thousands of dollars more, the victim and scammer both decided to meet. The victim sent the money for the plane ticket to the man, yet he never showed up to the airport.
Two days later, the man informed the victim claiming that he has had a stroke, and that he now has medical bills to pay. She denied this, so the scammer logged into her bank account and took the money anyways. This is an important lesson to learn, because just like in this case, online dating scammers are becoming extremely tactful. They invest a lot of time fine tuning their methods. Stay vigilant!