Online dating scams have been on the rise lately and these phonies are getting very creative and even dirtier than ever before.
It is crucial to learn about these scams, because even the most experienced within online dating can fall victim. This read is specifically about Skype dating scams. Believe it or not, Skype scams are probably some of the most dangerous.
We have included some of the most popular ways these scammers try to lure their victims in. We’ll also be covering the sort of scams they target their victims with, so you can become educated and your chance of being hooked will plunge to zero.
Skype Dating Scams: Typical Formats
Here are some of the most typical Skype scam formats.
Phone Call Romance
They begin chatting
Usually, scammers do not want to call their victims for a multitude of reasons, the main reason being that once they have chatted with the victim on some dating site and the victim has familiarized themselves with the profile photo the scammer uses, the scammer’s voice may not match the profile photo used. This would obviously alert most people that a person who appears American yet has a heavy Nigerian accent, is a phony or fake, for example.
The scammer will become bold
However, sometimes people will use a profile photo that matches their voice. When they do this, they really don’t have to make an excuse about their accent, they become bold.
Nonetheless, the scam begins when the scammer initiates what is called a romance scam. The scammer will essentially quickly begin saying keywords such as “I love you” very shortly after initial contact, telling the victim how much he loves her or how he would love marriage, and although most scammers don’t usually call their victims, these scammers certainly do.
They start reeling you in
They will begin calling their victims and feeling them out, so they can get a better idea of what they need to prepare for next, the Skype Video Call scam. It doesn’t need to reach the point of video calls to be scammed, though.
The majority of the time people get scammed without doing any sort of video calls, so if this person asks for money or any personal information, it is best to move on and block this person. Although with the Skype scam, they likely won’t ask for anything until you hop onto a video call with them. Let’s talk more about what this scam can lead to.
Skype Video Call
They begin asking about yourself
This is by far one of the nastiest scams I have personally seen online in regards to dating. As we went over before, it begins with luring in the victim from other websites; this could be dating sites or even social media. I’m sure most of you have received a message from someone outside of the country, asking if you need company or would like to chat. However, these people are definitely not the kind of company you want.
You will be asked to move to Skype
Once the scammer has your attention and you begin communicating with them, they will request that you both move off of whatever platform you are using at the time and move onto Skype with them. This depends on how far into the scam you were dragged into on the previous platform.
This person will request a video chat
They will start with asking you to initiate a video call. Once you begin a video call, you may not notice anything unusual, especially if they match the profile photo they used on the previous platform. A catch here is that they very well could be using A.I (Artificial Intelligence) to make them appear as someone else. Sometimes it may be hard to tell if they are using A.I, click here to learn more about how to determine if they are using A.I.
The scam will begin with subtle things on video call like intimate talk, but will quickly turn into very explicit activities. The scammer will use a screen recorder in order to save each video call, leading to the actual scam of extortion.
The extortion begins
He will then explain how he has recorded your explicit activities using a screen recorder, and if you do not send over money or personal information, he will send the explicit videos to your family and friends; and even post them online for the public to see. They know that is the last thing you want, which leaves you with nearly no choice but to follow his commands.
Some people may think that after sending money the first time, it will be over with. Unfortunately for the victim, this is often not the case. He will continue extorting you over and over again. There isn’t much you can do at this point, especially if they’re using A.I to mask their true identity. They may even be using a VPN, different proxies or masking their MAC addresses, making it nearly impossible for even authorities to track this person down.
They may even try to install malware, which allows them to operate your webcam without your knowledge. The best solution to this is to never share anything with anyone online that you would regret in the future.
Protection Against Skype Dating Scams
While it may be hard determining whether or not someone may be looking to scam you, there are thankfully a few steps you can take to help prevent this from happening to you in the future. Here are three things that can help lower your chances.
Google Image Search
Luckily, Google has a feature called reverse image search that allows you to upload a photo, which will then allow Google to search the entire internet with that photo. If you see that this photo is connected to other accounts with different names, then this is very likely a scam. However, A.I can make a photo unique, so it is best to use more than one method to confirm whether or not this is a scam. If luck is on your side, though, then you will find others complaining about this person in some form. You may also notice the images are connected to multiple accounts, making your decision easy.
Social Media Search
Definitely one of the best ways, searching social media for this person can help big time. If this person contacted you on Facebook, look at their profile before anything else. If they have ten friends or a very basic profile with lack of structure, such as barely any page follows, or activities, such as comments, this is not a good sign. Look at their other social media profiles too, like Twitter and Instagram. Make sure they all match and that they aren’t all bland. Even most seniors have a somewhat active social media profile.
Video calls off of Skype
Since this entire scam is based off of Skype, especially since using a PC gives them the ability to take advantage of A.I, request to video chat on another platform, such as FaceTime. Pay attention and make sure they are video calling you on their smartphone, because even FaceTime can have A.I implemented as a mod on a computer. This method can be used on other platforms too, like Facebook messenger. If they do not want to do this, this is not a good sign. This may hint that they rely on A.I to appear as they do.
Story: Man who fell victim to a Skype Dating Scam
A man based out of Palestine was living abroad, when suddenly he fell victim to an online dating scam.
It started with a simple friend request, but quickly grew into something much larger. The message began innocently enough, with the scammer simply asking how his day was going. Interested, he continued to communicate with the scammer, which caused it to grow even bigger, until eventually the scammer requested him to video call her. In the beginning, nothing was out of the ordinary.
However, shortly after they began using Skype, the scammer talked him into performing intimate acts on video, which she then recorded and began extorting him for money as they do, threatening him that, unless he sent her a large amount of money online, she would release these highly personal videos. You can read more about his story here.