"Am I talking to a romance scammer?" test.

We will offer up some of the most common signs that the person you're talking to is a scammer.  Navigation is simple.  The left and right arrows will take you to the next or previous question, the down arrow will give you more information and the up arrow will bring you back to the question.  At the end, there'll be a link to our forum where you can get more information or ask for help.

Click the arrow in the bottom right hand corner to begin.

Romance scammers tend to come from West Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Malaysia or the Philippines.

It's important to note that not all people in these places are scammers, and not all scammers come from these places.  These are just general guidelines.

The first part deals with the scammer profiles on the sites.

Does their name have "4real", "2luv" or anything similar in it?

This is very typical of a West African scammer profile.  African scammer profiles can also have the first and last names switched around, or even consist of two last names.

Are their photos "too good to be true"?  For example, do they look like professional modelling shots?

Scammers often steal photos to use on their profiles.

They could be model pictures, a TV personality or stolen from a genuine person's social media page.

Click here to open a new tab showing the real faces of the scammers.

Google Image Search can help you identify whose images were stolen.

Is there an email address in their profile or message?

Scammers often add their email/Skype address into their profile or first message to you in order to get you off the site with them.

Sometimes they will try to disguise it, for example "a t g m a i l d o t c o m". or "at yahew dat cam"

Does their profile text not fit the images used, or are their profile images of several different people?

Scammers use pre-written profile texts that don't always match the stolen images.

It may show the wrong hair/eye colour, location, name or even gender.  Another common mistake is for a scammer to claim to be "Native American" rather than American.

Does their text exhibit some of the common scammer speech patterns?

Typical ones to see are "am" instead of "I am", "I will like" instead of "I would like", "only child of my parents", "by profession" or "God fearing".

This is typical West African speak.

Seeing this with a photo of a caucasian person is a particularly bad sign.  Another is if they claim their eye colour to be black.

Is their location wrong, for example "Alabama, Asia" or "Lagos, Canada"?

Often scammers will click on the first option for each question, whether it makes sense or not.  They can also confuse the location of places and end up with a home town that doesn't exist.

Does their profile text cut off abruptly, mid sente

Scammers copy and paste their ready made profiles into the fields, but sometimes don't copy it correctly, or it has more characters than the field allows, so it gets chopped.

Does their profile repeat itself, typically with words along the lines of "I will tell you laterI will tell you laterI will tell you laterI will tell you later"?

This is typical of a Senegalese scammer.  These will pretend to be in a refugee camp, to be in posession of the whereabouts of their murdered father's millions and will ask for your help in retrieving it.

Are they "but presently in Africa for some reason" (and yes, they really can say "for some reason"), often a business trip or to collect an inheritence after the death of a parent.

This is to cover for their having an African phone number and address.  They were never anywhere else, despite what their story says.

Did they claim to be a scamfighter/in law enforcement and ask you if you were scammed before?

This is so they can claim to be able to get your money back and run what's known as a "recovery scam" on you.

Recovery scams are where they claim to be able to get back any money you've lost in a previous scam if you pay for bribes and so on, but is in fact just another scam aimed at taking even more of your money.

This next part covers the signs the person you're already talking to is a scammer.

Are they making excuses as to why they can't go on webcam with you?

Remember those stolen photos that the scammers use?  They can't go on webcam as you'll see they're not the person in the photos, so make up excuses.

Did they claim to have fallen in love with you very quickly?

Scammers do this to build up a "relationship" with the person, so they can ask them for money.

Some will start referring to you as their wife/husband, and even send you emails that they claim are from their children calling you their mummy/daddy.

If you do a search of their messages to you, do they show up elsewhere?

As well as the profile texts, scammers also often use prewritten scripts.  Antiscam sites collect and post these.

Just because they're not posted, doesn't mean they're not from a scammer, simply that they haven't been reported yet.

If you've heard them on the phone, does their accent match with where they're claiming to be from?

Many African scammers claim to be from other countries, but say they're of mixed race to cover the fact their accent doesn't sound the way it should.

Are they claiming to be using a translation agency to speak to you?

Ukrainian scammers typically use this scam.  There is no translation agency, and all you'll get for your money are more prewritten emails

Scammers from Russia/Ukraine use an email program that will add your name/address into the message using things called macros.  When you send an email, it automatically sends out the next email in the script with no human interaction.

Are they asking for money for a passport/visa/any other expenses to visit you?

This is a typical tactic used by Russian scammers.

Even if you do send the money, no one is going to fly to meet you as the girl doesn't exist.  If the scammer is West African, they may then claim to have been arrested for not declaring their gifts for you to customs, or or robbed on the way to the airport.

Are they claiming to be a soldier who has found a trunkbox/money/gold?

This is a variation of the 419 "trunkbox scam".

You'll be asked to pay any fees required to send the item(s) to you.

Are they claiming to be a soldier and needing a phone to talk to you?

This could be a request for you to send them a phone or pay for a "special phone" for them to talk to you.

Another variation of this scam involves them asking for you to help them be given leave to visit you.

Are they asking you to receive money into your bank account and forward it on to them?

This is called "money muling" and involves money being sent to you by a second victim.

When they realize they've been scammed, the only genuine details they can give law enforcement are yours. People have ended up imprisoned after being tricked into this.

Are they asking you to receive goods and forward them on to them?

This is similar to "money muling", except with goods instead of money. Stolen credit card details are used by the scammer.

Did they claim to have sent you gifts, but you need to pay a courier company fees to have them delivered?

In this variation, the scammer creates a fake courier company website and uses it to avoid having to ask for money directly.

This gets around the suspicions aroused when they ask for money directly, by having the money request come from the fake company.

Basically, are they asking you for money or gifts for any reason?

The whole purpose of the scam is to separate you from your money.  If you haven't met someone in person, you haven't met them.  Never send money to people you haven't met.

For further help, click here to visit our forum, or here for a more detailed version of this presentation.

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