If You are Recently Widowed or Divorced and Are Online Dating, Your Match Could be a Scammer
Losing a partner or going through a divorce can be a devastating and exhausting ordeal. As time passes and the dust settles, you may be considering (or already have started) online dating. You want to try to fill the void left by your previous spouse with the connection with another partner. Online dating can be a valuable option, allowing you to test the waters from the comfort of your home or phone, but unfortunately, there are those that prey on those in your situation, especially if you are widowed.
Dating scams happen more often than you think
There has been a recent uptick in cases I've received with stories that are similar to the point of being uncanny: Client is widowed, (or divorced) and in their lonely state, try online dating. They check the "widowed' or "divorced" box on their dating profile and begin to feel out for matches. Someone contacts them, they kick it off, and things move fast. The match is usually foreign, which adds to the allure. The match is also widowed or divorced and the clients feel connected through their hardships. The match sends them songs, love poems, little "thinking of you" mementos. Everything seems to be going well, but then the match discusses devastating situations that have happened in their lives. They don't know how they are going to get by without extra financial support. They ask to borrow money from you; The big job they were boasting about before will pick up, they swear they'll pay you back. The clients feel for them: after all, they've been in tough situations themselves. The client sends off money, usually a very large sum, through a wire transfer, such as Western Union. Once everything is said and done, the match goes ghost. Stops replying to messages, phone calls, emails, Skype calls. Now they are not only left heartbroken but at a loss of a huge amount of capital. They come to us to try to find the scammer, to try to get their money back, and stop them so this doesn't happen to someone else.
Why do online dating scams happen?
To put it simply: money. Widows usually receive an inheritance and/or insurance payout from the deceased spouse. Even those who are divorced can be targets, despite many who have to pay for legal services, they can still get a big divorce settlement. Combine that with people who are in this type of situation are emotionally devastated and vulnerable, scammers have the perfect target to siphon money. These scammers specifically look for profiles that are listed as "widowed" or "divorced" and will be the ones to message you first.
Warning Signs that your match is a scammer
Doesn't answer calls, relies on text.
Calls repeatedly go to voicemail or endlessly ring. Many scammers use apps or services to redirect several numbers (or burner numbers) back to their main phone to avoid giving out their real phone number. Scammers prefer to maintain contact through text or email.
Vague or "parroted" answers.
Any answers seem generic or to a script. "Parroted" answers happen when the match asks a question, you answer, and you get an answer that would amount to "me too." While having a lot in common can be a sign of a good match, if almost every question or topic that comes up you both agree upon, they may be scamming you by manipulating you in establishing a connection. These answers may also come across as inconsistent with their profile or other social media profiles.
The topic of money.
Some boast about their big jobs to try to attract you to their wealth. If they do, all too conveniently they lose their job or some other devastating event happens where they cannot pay the bills anymore. They ask if they can "borrow" some money to cover unforeseen expenses. These expenses can include rent, medical expenses for themselves or a loved one, money lost from theft or a failing business, or travel expenses to come to see you. These payments can be requested by them in the form of a wire transfer, transfer of assets, money order, prepaid card, gift cards, or e-currency. Don't believe that by paying them once that it will stop: scammers will only get more aggressive and come up with more stories to keep the cash flowing from you. Scammers will even resort to extortion over any compromising content you may have shared with them. (Also known as revenge porn or "sextortion")
Says "I love you" or "you're my soulmate" in a very short period of time, without having met you in person. This can happen within just a few emails or message exchanges. As mentioned earlier, they prefer to move you over to maintaining contact through a chat app or email to avoid being detected by online dating websites, who have protections in place in their message boxes.
Master of flattery.
Many scammers love to use poetry and love songs and send them over to you as a way to win you over. Back to the last point of moving quickly, they will shower you with flattery very early on even when they barely know you.
Difficulty meeting in person.
If your relationship is long-distance, scammers use that to their advantage as to why they can't meet. Even if you travel to where they claim to live, they always come up with an excuse for why they can't get together with you.
Guilt trip or "ghosting."
If you decline to "lend" money or suspect they are not what they seem, the scammer can become irate and make you feel guilty for accusing them or by not giving money. This usually results in them fabricating another situation that requires money. If you stand your ground on not giving money or you do send money to them, the scammer disappears, known as "ghosting", by no longer contacting you and replying to any messages or calls.
Prevent yourself from being scammed
Overall, the best thing to practice is the old adage: If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Don't share personal or compromising photos or videos, which can be used as blackmail by scammers. Use Google Image Search to help confirm that the pictures they send or show in their profile are who they say they are and not a catfish account. (But be warned: basic Google Search and People Search services may not be enough or accurate.) Avoid giving out any personal information, (including credit card numbers, passwords, and addresses) and never give money to someone you met online. If you agree to meet in person, let a close friend or family know, and always meet in a public area.
If you are a victim of a dating scam
If you are a victim of a dating scam, you need to do the following:
1. Contact your bank as soon as possible and notify them that you are a victim of a scam.
Change any bank information that was given to the scammer and see if there is any way the money can be traced, blocked, or returned to you. Unfortunately, there is a very high probability you will not get your money back, especially if it was done through a Western Union or e-currency.
2. Do not accept any offers for help by online recovery "services."
Scammers like to double-dip: They can do a recovery scam, by claiming to be a police officer or legal professional, promising to help you recover the money and put the scammer in jail. They won't ask for money until after they "claim" to have arrested the scammer.
3. Do not accept any "repayment" directly from the scammer
It is very likely that money has been taken from other victims, which would involve you in a money-laundering scheme.
4. You can contact the police, but if the scammer is located in another state or another country, there is very little they can do.
Hire a private investigator to locate the scammer so you can hand the information to the proper authorities. (such as the FBI, who are unlikely to work with you unless you have a concrete lead on the scammer. Note that if the scammer is located internationally, unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to get your money back.)
Are You The Victim Of An Online Dating Scam?
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Why Hiring a Private Investigator to Verify Google and Social Media Background Checks is a Good Idea
Hiring can be a long and stressful process, but a necessary procedure. Many companies try to cut corners and make it as streamlined as possible, but lose vital details in the process, and set themselves up in a legal minefield.
Businesses need to use a professional background check service
As the internet has grown rapidly comes more accessible information. What once required a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica to answer inquiries, has now become cumbersome door stoppers, its original purpose replaced by Google and Wikipedia. There is an alarming amount of businesses that have deduced that solely using Google and checking social media accounts are sufficient methods in gathering background information on candidates. Only using internet searches to do a background check is like building a house with just a crowbar and a hammer. While these tools can gain some insight, they should be used as supplementary to a professional background check service such as Radius Investigations, who can verify the information you find online.
Why is checking Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google not a sufficient background check?
While some candidates may be naive and freely post with no filter, many are becoming smarter to hiring agents. 70% of employers report using social media to screen candidates and those who are looking for employment are taking notice. With the right privacy settings, users can hide questionable material from their profile. On the flip side, those who have no privacy settings enabled on an account could be knowingly posting non-controversial content.
Lacks Vital Information
It is no common that someone will be posting about their recent arrest online, (although it does happen, we personally have come across it in our investigations) or their credit and financial information. Going back to the earlier point, candidates can easily fabricate their social media pages to appear desirable to recruiters or withhold information. A professional background check goes beyond the basics and can access criminal, legal records, and financial information.
Inaccurate and Incomplete
It is important to remember that any information gathered online and on social media is not verified the information. To extend on the last point about fabrication, social media pages are not going to necessarily tell you whether the prospect would be a good employee. For example, someone who posts about their pets and hobbies doesn't tell you whether they are qualified for the position. More importantly, relying on internet searches could end up with you making a critical mistake by screening the wrong account due to similar names.
How a Professional Background Check Resolves these Issues
Professional background checks cover a wide range of facets that can be used in the hiring decision process. A professional background check can include:
- Driving records
- Court records
- Education records
- Drug test records
- Criminal records
- Military records
- Past employers
These are just a few of the types of records a professional background check service can obtain.
Legal Protections and Liability
Using a professional service can prevent you from unknowingly discriminating someone from hiring or firing based on information gathered from social media or internet inquiries because professional background checks provide verified information. It also protects you from violating any privacy laws, which are still vague in regards to information on the internet. Private investigators who provide professionals background checks services provide verified information, know how to identify potential legal issues, and proceed between your company and themselves to remain in compliance with the law.
Confirmation of Employment History
Getting a professional background check ensures an accurate employment history. Private investigators can not only perform background check services but have the ability to physically go to the sites or conduct interviews to confirm candidates' employment records.
Convenience and Confidence
Letting a professional service handle your background check procedures can ease a big legal and logistical responsibility. Even doing a basic internet search and social media screening can be time-consuming, and the quality of the results is not worth the investment.
Using social media and internet research can be valuable in understanding more about your candidates, but come with the caveats of legalities, being unverified information, and provide no guarantees of accuracy or insight. These methods should be used with caution and taken with a grain of salt in the overall hiring process. Social Media and Google should never be used as a replacement for a professional background check.
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Swipe Left the Fakes: Is an Internet Search Enough to Find the Truth?
Many of us have found ourselves on an online dating website, looking for the right match. After what feels like endless swipes or the millionth question answered from match quizzes, (you swear you seen the same questions a thousand times, just worded differently.) you finally found a great profile. You send a message, heart beating fast, hoping this person responds. After what feels like an eternity, they do, you both hit it off, and schedule a date. As the butterflies begin to settle, you realize that something seems a bit off with their profile and interactions. You find their name, do a quick online search, and everything seems fine. Their social media pages are set to private, so it's hard to find more information. Yet this feeling isn't going away. Despite feeling troubled, you give the benefit of the doubt, finally meet, and become disheartened as you realize once you're face to face that they are not who they said they were online.
Unfortunately, this type of situation happens more frequently than you may think. The questions you should ask is "Could anything else have been done to sift out the fakes from the real matches?"
Online Dating: The Facts
Online dating is not going to go away, as over 38% of single adults in the US have tried online dating. With popular dating websites such as eHarmony and Match.com boasting over 17 million and 24.5 million members respectively, and 1 in 5 committed relationships that started online, finding a special someone online has become an ingrained part of our culture in courtship.
While online dating has become more accepted, (59% agree that online dating is a good way to meet someone) it fits our digital age and provides convenience, there is a dark underbelly to online dating. People are taking advantage of the autonomy of the internet, at others' expenses. You may have had that "gut feeling" of something not being right about a match, you are not alone: over half of those who use online dating sites felt that some were misrepresenting themselves online.
Some disturbing trends:
10% of sex offenders use online dating websites
1 in 10 dating profiles are fake (AKA Catfishing)
53% of users lie on their dating profile
These numbers are concerning and could be enough to turn you off from online dating, which is understandable. Whether you want to continue is a personal decision. However, the fact remains that online dating is one the rise and depending on your location, meeting people online may be the most accessible way to find the right match for you.
Are common search methods enough?
As explained in our earlier story, using common search methods, such as social media and Google, can work in finding out about your match, but not only can it miss key information not available to the public, it can become exhausting when you go at it alone. More than likely you are one of the 53% who has dated more than one person at the same time, which means you are conversing with multiple matches.
Is online dating worth it?
Online dating can be rewarding, but incredibly daunting. Fortunately, there are services that can help. Private investigators are moving into the digital realm to help people get peace of mind. Radius Investigations has a team of licensed private investigators that can provide professional and comprehensive background checks on your matches, as well as social media investigations. We have access to databases and resources that are not accessible to the public and won't pop up through Google. Don't let negative experiences prevent you from finding the right match: using a professional background check service can give you the peace of mind to move forward.
Don't Fall Victim to Online Dating Scams
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3 Tips to Detect Credit Card Skimmers
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon case throughout the country. As technology continues to grow, scammers are getting more sophisticated in stealing your credit card information. 27% of adults have been victim to credit card theft in 2016 from using cards in stores. It is important to be informed on how to prevent and report these devices.
What is a card skimmer?
A card skimmer is a device or series of devices (including scanners and cameras) used to steal your card information. Skimming is when there is an additional discreet device placed on a card reader and/or pin pad so that when you swipe or insert your card, that device transmits your credit card information to their computer to use at their disposal. These devices usually are placed over the original card scanners and number pads.
Are RFID chips secure from card skimmers?
Just as credit card technology advances, card skimmers are getting smarter. Skimmers now can activate the RFID chip to gather information. With that said, obtaining the information from the RFID chip alone may not be enough. However, when using a card reader skimmer, like in an ATM, they can access the RFID chip, magnetic stripe, and using a camera in the card reader to read the CVC code, scammers can get all the information they need to start making fraudulent purchases on your account.
If there is a card skimmer device, will my credit or debit card still be read by the original machine?
These skimmers are designed to sit just above or before the original manufacturer's card scanner. So your transaction will still go through normally, which is ideal for scammers. By completing a transaction, a scammer can get the information from the magnetic stripe, the RFID chip, the CVC security code on the back of your card, and the PIN number for your card.
How can I tell if there are skimming devices?
These devices are designed to appear as innocuous as possible, matching the design of a card reader or ATM, making it difficult to find at first glance. The good news is that there are ways to check if there are devices.
Here are some tips to follow the next time you need to use your card:
- Check the area where you swipe or insert your card for any adhesive or extra plastic. You can do this by tugging and squeezing the card cover or swiper. The plastic should not be able to move, bend, or shift. A man at a 7-11 in Seaford, NY was able to identify a card skimming device using this method.
- Check the number pad-does the pad feels flush the machine? Note any "layers" or appearance of an additional number pad on top of the original. Also, look under the number pad covers for any cameras or devices facing the number pad. Look carefully-the camera lens can be as small as a screw. Always assume someone is watching you when you complete a transaction: cover your hands as you enter your pin number in case there is a camera.
- Swipe or Insert the card yourself whenever possible. If an employee needs to swipe your card, watch them carefully for any suspicious behavior. Employees could potentially swipe your card on their own device, or have a skimmer on the register machine.
Most Importantly, if you are unsure about the integrity of a card reader or ATM, follow your gut: Do not use the reader and contact the police, even if you are not completely sure. If you live in NY, you can send a report autonomously through the See Something, Send Something App. If you find a card skimming device, contact the local police immediately. Do not use the card reader.
Contact Radius Investigations today for a free consultation on how to protect yourself from identity theft at 1-888-698-0077
Get the answers you need: Speak to a Private Investigator from Radius Investigations!
Of our various forms of social media we use, YouTube is one that we can give our customers a visual view of the investigation services we offer. Some of our videos range from GPS Tracking to inspection of a recovered vehicle.
1) "NY Private Investigator- Infidelity Suspicions? Catch your cheating spouse or partner"
This video goes into a visual perspective of how we provide services that will help you catch your partner who is suspected (or actually is) cheating on you and get the evidence up front.
There are many different methods to establish, verify, and prove infidelity in a relationship or marriage. The methods used for each particular case is individual in nature as is the specifics of each client’s case. Our private detectives will aim to provide the necessary evidence to prove your case with irrefutable, undeniable proof. Identifying any suspect's in these cases is vital; we provide accurate details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and place of employment. The main reasons clients typically hire a New York private investigation agency for this type of investigation is for such things as child custody, peace of mind, and protection of assets.
2) "How to find GPS tracking or listening bugs in a vehicle"
This video shows step-by-step of how to detect a tracking/listening bug in your vehicle. This video will show you where on the vehicle to check, such as compartments that can be hidden on the inside of the car. The video will show you what devices you can use to detect these bugs as well as common places where they can be kept. Also shown is what a bug would typically look like.
Radius Investigations offers comprehensive background checks for individuals nationwide and worldwide. Our expert private investigators have the resources and know-how to gather accurate and verified information
What information do I need to conduct a background check on someone?
Any information you have on someone will help us in our research. More information is better, but we understand that you may not have all the details. (which is usually why you are doing a background check in the first place!) Here are some common pieces of information we will ask for. Keep in mind this list is not exclusive, and just because you may not know the answer to items on this list, does not mean we can't perform a background check:
- First and Last Name (Ideally a middle name as well if they have a common name)
- State where they were born
- Last known address or state of residence
- Date of Birth
- Date of Death (if applicable. We usually encounter this in estate cases or in clients who want to research their family tree)
- Name of parents or siblings
- Name of Spouse
- Last known employer and address of employer
Do I need to be a company or business to conduct a background check?
Radius Investigations offers complete personal background investigation services that do not require you to be a hiring manager or business. Individual clients can inquire for personal background checks on a person of interest.
Why do I need a personal background check?
Proper personal background checks are vital tools that can be used for situations such as legal cases, dating/relationships, tenants, or checking individuals you hire. (eg. nannies, caretakers, home care services, house cleaners, freelancers) Hiring a private investigator to conduct a background investigation can bring peace of mind, safety, and confidence that those you work or live with have integrity.
Can I do a background check on myself?
Our background check can be performed on any individual, including the client themselves. Requesting a background check on yourself is an excellent resource in verifying that your personal, financial, criminal, and legal information is correct. Inconsistencies or inaccurate information in a background check is a serious concern that can affect employment and applications for financial or legal affairs.
How can I obtain a background check?
Our Long Island and NYC private investigators can provide a comprehensive background check on a person of interest. Our team works around the world to find the best and most accurate information for our clients. We work with you in obtaining the information you need, whether it is educational, employment, criminal, legal, or financial records.
You can call Radius Investigations 1-888-698-0077 to receive a free consultation on what background investigative services are best for your situation.
Now that we have our facebook up and running again, secretspystore.com will have more ways to inform people about the products and services we offer. The site also uses other social media. For example, besides our facebook, we also have a Twitter and a Pinterest account. Each of these accounts show the different products we offer, as well as fun facts and photos.
The original Facebook website of SecretSpyStore.com has moved to a different location. Although it is at a different location, the site and products have remained the same. You can check it out by going to https://www.facebook.com/SecretSpyStore
More updates will be posted on the website that include product info, facts, videos, and more!
Add "Facebook depression" to potential harms linked with social media, an influential doctors' group warns, referring to a condition it says may affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site.
Researchers disagree about whether it's simply an extension of depression some kids feel in other circumstances or a distinct condition linked with using the online site.
But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr. Gwenn O'Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines.
With in-your-face friends' tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don't measure up.
It can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, O'Keeffe said, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what's really going on. Online, there's no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.
The guidelines urge pediatricians to encourage parents to talk with their kids about online use and to be aware of Facebook depression, cyberbullying, sexting and other online risks. They were published online today in Pediatrics.
Abby Abolt, 16, a Chicago high school sophomore and Facebook user, says the site has never made her feel depressed, but that she can understand how it might affect some kids.
"If you really didn't have that many friends and weren't really doing much with your life, and saw other peoples' status updates and pictures and what they were doing with friends, I could see how that would make them upset," she said.
"It's like a big popularity contest -- who can get the most friend requests or get the most pictures tagged," she said.
Also, it's common among some teens to post judgmental messages of people they don't like, said Gaby Navarro, 18, a senior from Grayslake, Ill.
"Parents should definitely know" about these practices, Navarro said. "It's good to raise awareness about it."
The academy guidelines note that online harassment "can cause profound psychosocial outcomes." Last year's suicide of a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl occurred after she'd been harassed, in person and on Facebook.
O'Keeffe said the benefits of kids using social media sites like Facebook shouldn't be overlooked, however, such as connecting with friends and family, sharing pictures and exchanging ideas.
"A lot of what's happening is actually very healthy, but it can go too far," she said.