12 Ways to Tell if that Internet Chat Partner Is a Scammer, Part 2

“I’d like to bring up another subject, dear”, types the chat girl of your dreams.

“What’s that?” you respond.

“You know how I said my father died a few years ago, and my mom lives in Nigeria?”

“Yes,” you respond, remembering her story. It had touched your heart, you have to admit. This poor girl seemed to have had a very difficult life.

“And, you know how it’s good for people to help others who are not as fortunate as they are?”

You take the bait. “Yes, I know that. What do you need?”

“When my dad was forced out of office, he left a considerable amount of money in a bank account here in Nigeria, but my mom can’t touch it unless she gets some help. We’d be willing to share it with you if…”

The warning bells should instantly go off in your head when this wonderful girl, who has been so supportive and has listened patiently while you pour your heart out, now needs your help. If you’re a man, the protective instincts are triggered. If the person on the other end of the instant message is male, and you’re a woman, you immediately want to rush to his aid.

This is the same Nigerian scam, but instead of hooking you with avarice, it hooks you with love and compassion for someone you have already formed a relationship with.

That, my friend, is why instant messaging is far more dangerous to the victim of a scammer than email ever was.

If you can’t get money, get information

It’s a rare instance when the IM scammer will try the Nigerian scam on you. Most of the time they will try to get information from you.

“I would love to call you, what’s your telephone number?”

“What’s your last name? “(Assuming you’ve already told them your first name.)

“I need to set up my own web site, could I use your credit card?”

They probably won’t be dumb enough to ask you for your mother’s maiden name, social security number, or bank information. At least not yet. Not until they really think they “have” you.

Beware if…

1. The person is too romantic, too endearing, too flattering too early.

2. The person won’t furnish a picture of themselves, or if they only have one.

3. The pictures they do provide look like they were taken by a professional photographer. A real person normally won’t have professional pictures in their profile.

4. They have no profile. They claim to be an American but speak broken English.

5. They give you a “sob” story. The drama is meant to elicit compassion which leads to your wallet.

6. They ask for money, credit cards, or any information about you beyond your first name. Most legitimate chatters won’t even ask for that.

7. They have a sudden crisis for which they need money. They have an automobile accident and have no insurance. A sudden illness and no money. This usually comes later in the game after they think they have you “hooked”.

8. They want to set up a cam, but when you set it up, you can’t make out their face.
Note: they want to see you, but they don’t want you to see them.

9. They get annoyed when you engage in idle chit chat.

10. They can’t answer detailed questions about themselves. For example, they claim to be a student, but they have trouble telling you what their major is and what their favorite class is and why they like it.

11. They can’t describe the city or location they say they are from. Do a little internet research on the place they claim to live in. Ask them detailed questions about it.

12. If they give you an age, ask them something specific that someone in that age bracket would know (or not know).

Be careful out there

Instant messaging can be a lot of fun, and you can meet people from all over the planet you would never have known in real life. You can meet a special someone you might be happy with for the rest of your life.

It’s a vast ocean full of many different kinds of fish, but just like the ocean it’s got some sharks and barracudas in it. The sharks will make themselves known before they strike, if you know what to look for, and how to avoid them.

Know how to test the water and you won’t be devoured by a scammer or an identity thief.