Romance scams are a nightmare. They pull on lonely people’s heartstrings and often their bank accounts. They often wreak emotional devastation and occasionally financial ruin, so how do you spot a romance scam?
It is not an easy question to answer. Searching for love is exciting and it is often fun, but it is also hard.
That is true whether you meet a woman at a church social, work, or online. Men and women constantly misunderstand or simply ignore what the other person is saying.
Finding love is so hard that often people who feel that they “lost” a relationship they were emotionally invested say they were scammed, especially if it was an online relationship. International dating has a particularly bad public perception, because of the relentless media bias over the term “mail order bride,” but, sadly sometimes people do get scammed trying to find their love overseas.
But how do you make sure you are being scammed? First, check out this article: Avoiding Dating Scams. It has a lot of good clues, but those are just clues. How do you know?
Let’s imagine you have been chatting with an amazing woman almost everyday for a month. She seems perfect for you – absolutely perfect – but you start to feel something is just slightly off. You check the article mentioned above and some red flags pop up.
What’s your next step?
The next step is to start looking closely at her photos.
Seven Tips For Identify Photos of Romance Scammers
If you are like 99.999% of guys who join a mail order bride site you probably first noticed the site because of the photos of hundreds beautiful women.
They are amazing, but those photos can also protect you from being scammed. It takes a little effort, but you can often spot fake photos.
Read the following tips for identifying dishonest daters carefully, especially the last three which are common tell-tale among catfishers and scammers.
- Look for low quality imagines. Today everyone has high quality cell phone cameras. Photos that are blurred or poorly cropped are unusual.
- Pay attention to shadows and reflections. It is something scammers often forget when doctoring photos.
- Do the proportions look right? Even expert Photoshop users often have a hard time making proportions match up.
- Do you notice repeating patterns?
- Are you certain it is the same woman? Dating scammers love to use photos of random beautiful women.
- Do the photos suggest the woman is rich or dated rich guys? Sometimes girls stop in front of a Ferrari to get a photo and sometimes they are on boat that looks like a yacht from certain angels. Or maybe they did date a rich guy. They might even come from a wealthy family. It happens, but be aware.
- Refuses to do video chats.
If these tips raise even more red flags what is the next step?
How To Investigate Online Dating Scams
Investigating romance scams is difficult, but there are tools out there that can help you make your decision. A lot of times you cannot be certain, but sometimes you can convict a woman of being a scammer beyond a reasonable doubt. But of course, if you do there is a chance she is not a woman.
One of the first things you can do is to see if she has been flagged before as a scammer. There are dozens of sites out there that have pictures of known dating scammers. These sites have a lot of problems, but here are some of the better ones:
There are several problems with these anti-scam sites. They examine scammers from absolutely horrible dating sites that are heaven for scammers. They are hard to use. They just give you too much information, and unless you want to spend hours and hours poring thru their databases.
The biggest issue with these sites is that many of the men complaining have not really been scammed, they have been disappointed.
If you read take the time and read the letters you will quickly realize that some of the men made a dumb mistake, others really got scammed, and, some of these poor guys are just nuts.
If you spend a lot of time reading these sites not only will you be too scared to pursue a mail order bride. You will not be willing to talk to a woman at a coffee house, the gym, or even a church picnic.
These sites paint a very grim view of romance and they are probably not healthy.
So, unless you have a connection at Interpol, the CIA, or know Mark Zuckerberg personally what can you do? Well, there is a better way to start your search – Google Image Search.
Then you can actually compare photos of the woman you are communicating with to other photos across the web and usually, you will quickly see if those photos are being used by romantic con artists.
Using Google Images to Uncover Online Dating Scammers
Google has more information stored than any other entity on this planet, and a lot of that info is in the form of images. Now you can use that power to search for instances of your would-be bride online.
All you need in order to utilize this investigative method is a photo of the woman that you suspect of being a scammer.
Step 1 – Go to: http:/images.google.com/
Step 2 – Click on the little camera image that is beside the search button (see below)
Step 3 – After clicking on the camera image a new option will appear giving you 2 choices; you can either upload a picture of the suspected scammer from your hard drive, or you can paste the URL of the photo into the search box.
We will choose the “Upload an image” option.
Step 4 – You will then be given the option to select the image from your hard drive that you want to investigate. (see below)
Step 5 – Choose the picture. Here’s the image that I uploaded from my computer:
It may take up to a minute for the image to be uploaded to Google, depending on the size of the file that you choose and your connection speed.
Step 6 – View the results!
You can see below that this image brought up 67 pages of results, including several Facebook and Myspace profiles!
That’s pretty excessive. If a woman sent you this picture claiming it was hers, it is almost 100 percent guaranteed that she is not the actual women in the photo and that she IS a scammer.
I actually downloaded this picture off of a free stock photo site called www.sxc.hu. Using stock photos is a favorite trick of Internet dating scammers – so if you ever see results that look like this – Run for the Hills!
How To Tell If You Are Being Scammed?
Now, you have some good information, but now for the hundred trillion-dollar question, “What does it mean?” This is the basic question that every general, hedge fund trader, and baseball manager has to answer.
Most of the time the results for Google Image Search will not be so cut and dry. Every once in awhile, one of the photos will bring up results at one of the mail order bride watchdog sites. Then you will get a ton of information, but most of the time you will have to use your own judgment to interpret the results.
One thing you need to know is that often girls sign up with a local marriage agency in their hometown and then the agency signs them up for two, three, or even four dating agencies. This is especially true in Russia and Ukraine.
So, just because a woman’s photo pops up on both Anastasia and A Foreign Affair does not mean she is a scammer.
There are other complications. You should understand that sometimes real scammers will steal the profile pictures of legitimate women who actually may be on some of the dating sites.
That is why I recommend that if your prospective bride’s photo turns out to be a known scammer, you should also use some of the basic methods we discuss in this dating scam article before you write her off.
The best way to tell if a woman is scamming is to pay attention to the web sites you find the woman on.
If her profile is appearing on a lot of free or cheap dating sites be worried.
If her profile is also on Loveme.com write them and ask about the profile. You will get an answer within a day or two. Someone may have stolen her profile and put it on the other sites.
If she is on either Elena’s Models, BeHappy2Day, or Amolatina, AnastasiaDate, or AsianDate tell her you want to see her on video chat. At least then you will know you are communicating with a real woman.
At least you used to be certain that a woman you saw on a video was real.
DeepFakes – Ultimate Scam Tool
That is not the case anymore, because of deepfake videos. A deepfake is a photo or video that is so realistic you can’t tell it apart from the real thing without some serious research.
A deepfake photo is usually made from merging several real people’s faces together with a computer program to create a new person. But for our purposes that is less of an issue. You should always be a little suspicious of photos, because they could be old or of a different person.
For daters deepfake videos are a completely different issue, because until about 2017 videos were considered the gold standard of proof. Now, it presents a challenge.
You should remember that it take quite a bit of technical savvy to create a deepfake, so the odds you will run into deefake video on a decent dating website are low. Here are also some tips for spotting deepfake videos when you believe you are in video chat.
- Watch to be sure the video is not looping. It is hard to make a deepfake video, so if your chat sessions runs for any length of time the video will probably loop.
- Does the girl you believe you are chatting with seem to respond appropriately to you. Does she laugh at your jokes or wave if you ask her too? It is hard to say, because everyone is different but she should respond to you.
- Does her movements appear clear. Jerky movement could be the sign of low bandwidth, a real possibility, but it could also be the sign of a deep fake.
- It the video crisp and clear? Again, bandwidth might be an issue, but today even video from Ukraine and Thailand tends to be crisp and sharp.
The first two tips might alert you to a more pedestrian scammer, but they could be the sign of a deepfake. The last two might be service related, particularly for chat from the Philippines, Cuba, and Venezuela, which all have notoriously unreliable internet service.
This article is just an introduction. If you want to know more checkout these articles:
Photo and video manipulation is a problem, but it is not as big of an issue as a simple lie. Lying is easier and more difficult to catch.
However, the Google Image Search is probably the easiest and least intrusive tool to use, and it will usually catch someone posting multiple photos. However most good dating sites run their photos through the system already. It is also free, so if you have a question, particularly about someone you met on social media, give it a shot.
In the end, you just have to decide what the situation is for yourself. The girls are usually from poor countries and they are going to push the envelope some if you let them. And to some extent, the rise of all of the sugar daddy sites have really muddied the water too.
So, they get very mixed messages about the proper parameters. In the end, you have to be at peace with your choice.
Don’t let all this scare you, dating scams are not the norm, they are the exception, but in your search for your soulmate, if you ever get the feeling that something is not quite right – we want to give you as many tools as possible to uncover any nefarious behavior by the women on various dating sites.
As we’ve said before, most of the legit sites do a pretty good job of weeding out the con artists, but finding online dating scammer photos is a great tool to help you decide if you are being scammed.