We give the straight scoop on scammers, players, and shady operators, and explain our approach to helping you find the love of your life.
One of the main reasons men are reluctant to pursue Global dating is because of the fear of being scammed.
You don’t want to turn your credit card number over to some fly by night outfit and you certainly don’t want to find out that the emails you thought you were receiving from Natasha… are actually from a scammer named Boris!
These fears of being ripped off are preyed upon by mainstream media which hypes and over sensationalizes stories of ill-fated foreign love affairs with the purpose of selling more newspapers and T.V. ad space.
In reality the danger of fraud is not nearly the monster the news makes it out to be nor is it complicated to spot and avoid. The vast majority of the foreign women who are looking to date and marry men from other countries are honest ladies with sincere intentions.
They are looking for love, friendship and affection just like you guys are.
Yes, you could get scammed, but if you use a little common sense and follow the tips laid out below the chances are pretty slim.
Before we get into how to protect yourself, let's first take a look at how these con artists operate...
What are International Dating and Romance Scams?
Fake Profile Scam
By far the most common scam on-line is the fake profile scam.
These scammers target victims by creating fake profiles on internet dating sites. Once you are in contact with a scammer they will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time.
Scammers will take months to build what seems like the romance of a lifetime. Once they have gained your trust they will ask you (either subtly or directly) for money, gifts or banking/credit card details. They will pretend to need these for a variety of reasons.
They may claim to be in the depths of a financial crisis or in need of a new computer to continue chatting with you.
The scammer may claim to have fallen ill or been involved in a serious accident (sick mothers are also a favorite ruse). They will then ask you for money to pay the medical bills. In some instances you may even be contacted by someone claiming to be their doctor.
Visa & Airfare Scam
By far the most common scam is the Visa and Airfare Scam.
In this scam, after falling madly in love with you, your new flame will enthusiastically plan a trip to come visit you in your home country...
Unfortunately, she doesn't make enough money at her job so she will need you to send money for her Visa and Airfare.
If you take the bait and send the first round of money - she will then tell you that the Embassy requires her to have a minimum of $1,000 in her bank account before they will grant the Visa, so can you kindly send $1,000 which she will refund to you when she arrives at your house in Texas.
Of course after sending the money she disappears with your $1000 dollars, never to be heard from again!
The insidious thing about all of these scams is that they sound so plausible when delivered by an expert con artist. Much smarter men than I have been taken in by these scams!
How to Protect Yourself from Online Dating Scams
As promised, here are 8 tips on how to protect yourself while looking for love on-line:
1 Never Send Money!
One of the biggest traps that some western men fall into is being taken advantage of for their money. While the majority of foreign women are genuine and are looking for love there is a small calculating minority that just want to wring cash out of western men.
Fortunately, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem…
Never send a girl money!
Never send any money until you have actually visited the women in her own country and you are completely satisfied that she is one hundred percent genuine in her intentions.
Even when visiting her in her country do not go tossing money around on things like lavish shopping sprees. It can be tempting to try and win her heart by giving her money but do not fall into this trap. You don't want to attract a gold digger.
Of course you should pay for any dates that you go on as this is the natural role of a male in most of these countries.
2 Never Reveal Personal Information
Never reveal personal data to someone until you meet face-to-face and develop a level of trust. While it's tempting to share every detail of your life with a person you think you could be in love with, that's exactly what the scammer is counting on.
Be very wary if your new flame starts asking for your home address or what bank you use or asks for your credit card info.
I know this sounds pretty obvious but you would be surprised at the skill of these Con men (yes many are men posing as women) and their ability to wrench sensitive information out of their unsuspecting victims.
3 Spot Fake Profiles
Pay attention to both the profile picture and the user name. Of course a foreign woman will want to entrance you with her beauty but you should be wary of women that are dressed in what would be considered a sleazy manner.
Also if their user name has a direct sexual connotations you want to beware. These are often not genuine ladies looking for love.
Many on-line scammers use a photo they've swiped from someone else's Facebook page or from a modelling website.
Luckily there are some technologies on-line that will help you find out if that beautiful Ukrainian girl you have been communicating with is using a picture of a Russian Super Model in her dating profile.
This article will show you how to upload your potential paramour's photo to Google Image Search to see where else on-line that picture appears. Alternatively you can use a site called tineye.com - although I have found that it will give you far fewer results than Google.
4 Use Video Chat!
If the scammer has been using a fake profile picture there is no way their ruse can survive if you insist on using video chat.
If the girl you have been communicating with keeps making excuses to avoid video chatting, like she can't find an internet café with a webcam, it might be time to cut your losses and move on.
5 Use a Legit International Dating Agency
Scammers are a bigger problem on free sites. It is estimated that 50% of all women on free sites are running some sort of scam.
These dating agencies know that unhappy customers can destroy their business in a hurry. The top agencies have extremely strong economic incentives to be sure that you are NOT scammed, so if you use a legit agency your chances of running across a fake profile scammer are slim to none.
A Quick Note About Agency Scams
If you frequent international dating message boards and chat rooms it's pretty common to see guys complaining that they have been scammed by a dating agency.
I'm sure some of them have a legitimate complaint, but many of them just failed to read the fine print before they joined up.
The level of service varies widely among agencies and one of the main reasons some men believe they have been scammed is that they did not fully understand what the agency was offering.
Sites like Amolatina.com do a pretty poor job of letting you know how much it will ultimately cost to communicate with those gorgeous Colombian women.
So, when the chat fees start to add up guys scream foul.
Don't get me wrong - Amolatina is a totally legit site - the profiles are real and many men have met and married beautiful Latin women through the site. But they could do a better job of laying out the costs.
With any agency, be careful and budget your spending.
6 Check Out Scammer Databases
Be aware, there are some scammers trolling the dating sites who are REAL women using REAL pictures in their dating profiles. This makes these types of scammers much harder to spot than the basic Fake Profile Scammer.
On many of the big global dating sites these women get shut down pretty quickly because of complaints from the male customers. But, if you are using a free site you will need to take matters into your own hands.
Luckily there are several sites on-line that have posted photos and details about hundreds of known internet dating scam "personalities". If you think you are communicating with a scammer you can go to one of these sites and look for her picture in their database.
7 Be Realistic About What Constitutes a Scam
Realize that there is a difference between getting scammed by a girl and getting your heart broken. Even under the best of circumstances most relationships don't develop into passionate lifelong love affairs.
If a girl decides she is not interested in dating you that is not the same thing as being scammed.
Many men who don't find the great love of their life through an international dating site often decide they've been scammed. The truth is, as long as the lady, the agency and the man were all acting in good faith no one scammed anyone.
Like the old saying goes – “You can't buy love” and it is impossible to control exactly how people will mesh with one another.
8 Use Your Common Sense
The best tool you have in your arsenal to fight on-line scammers is your brain...
If a girl ask you to do something that seems strange, like send her money for a plane ticket or reveal personal banking information...
Cut your losses and move on!
If you are a 75 year old guy and some hot 22 year old Brazilian bikini model professes her undying love to you after 2 conversations - be suspicious!
Scams are a real concern, but they shouldn't make you spend the rest of your life avoiding beautiful women and the internet. If you show a little good sense you can reduce your risk and still meet some of the most amazing women in the world.
It's not a bad deal.
Should You Worry about Greencard Scams?
One of the most common concern for western men is that they are only desired for their green card. Of course there will be some women who are looking for any exit out of the country that they are living in but these are the exception.
Foreign women are no different to western women in that they often love their home and their family. If anything these women are more attached to the place they grew up to and their family members. It is actually a hard choice for them to make to leave their home but like most people they are willing to make sacrifices for love.
The actual green card process protects you to a certain extent anyway. In most countries it is not possible for a women to simply marry you and have full residency rights.
If you marry abroad it will take between six to nine months for the process to be completed. This will provide you with plenty of time to decide whether the marriage is right for you.
If you are a US resident your fiancé can enter the country on the K-1 Fiancée visa. The visa is valid for ninety days before the marriage needs to take place.
Use this time to get to know the women that you intend to marry. Remember that if you feel that the connection is not there or something is not quite right about the relationship don't be afraid to end the process.
The K-1 Fiancée visa requirements are there to protect you and so make sure that you are not being taken advantage of. While someone may be able to hide their true self for a few days it will be very difficult to maintain a facade for three months.
There are plenty more fish in the sea so don't be swayed by your fiancées beauty. If the relationship does not feel right then simply try again.
Privacy And Online Dating
One of the biggest questions that guys are concerned about is their privacy. We cover this in our reviews, but essentially the safest agencies use reputable third party payment processors, so they never see your credit card information, and are based in the US, the EU, Australia, or another country with a strong criminal justice system.
Generally, those two things vastly reduce your worries about privacy.
However, if you are really obsessive we suggest that you create a free Yahoo or Hotmail account that you devote solely to your mail order bride adventure. That way you don't even have to worry about spam.
Honestly, most of the staff here are signed up with numerous sites, far more than just the ones we review, and frankly the emails are manageable. There are several sites that I know we will never review on ILS, but I still like seeing their new profiles and who they have matched me too.
The free sign-ups, which nearly every site offers, really are a great way to decide if you really want to go with a particular site and I highly recommend it because there is no downside. Also, some of the sites run specials particularly for the people that are already signed up as free members, so that can be helpful too.