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Beware the Love Scammers

Any family lawyer will tell you a large part of their job is keeping up with their reading. For me, this doesn’t just mean keeping my head in stuffy legal journals and texts. I make it my business to read online about divorce, separation and family law issues  – the sorts of articles and online material my clients and other smart women going through a separation would read.

There’s a lot of great content and a lot of not-so-good content on the internet to help you through a separation or divorce. However, it doesn’t take too long before you notice comments left on blogs or articles that promise to solve all the love problems you may have. These usually take the form of sharing with you how there is a special potion or spell that will help you get back your spouse who has left, bring love into your life, fix your relationship woes and on it goes. To build credibility, the comment may appear to be from a doctor or a professor. Often the comments will take the form of testimonials from people claiming to have had success with the potion or spell being sold, their broken relationship has mended or they have found happiness in love. No matter how good they may sound, they are pure and simple scams.

Then there are the scammers who lurk in the internet world of dating and go to great lengths to gain the interest and trust of someone looking for a genuine, loving relationship. They play on your emotional triggers and then, once you have been lured in, will usually hit you up for money, gifts or favours. These scammers often make promises that aren’t kept, sometimes have poor spelling and grammer, never seem to be able to video chat or meet, and often encounter a personal emergency or financial transfer requiring you (and your money or bank account) to help them with.

A quick Google search reveals countless stories of separated or divorced women who have lost considerable money to these “fake” online love interests. They believed themselves to be in genuine, loving and committed relationships only to learn it was all a scam. Interestingly, many talk about dismissing the red flags that they saw and how they talked themselves into believing the scammer’s explanations. In some cases, it isn’t just money lost but also liberty when a woman has ventured overseas on an errand for their online love or to meet them, only to find themselves jailed for criminal activity.

These aren't smart women. Ordinarily, most savvy women would see these types of activities online and dismiss them for the scams that they are.  However, strange things happen to the heart and smart mind when one is going through the stress of a broken heart, separation or divorce. Sometimes, the hope of finding love runs strong and can, to put it bluntly, become desperation and leave your B-S radar seriously askew. If your past relationship left your confidence in tatters, the attentions and romance lavished on you by an online scammer can be intoxicating. The scammers know all this and know how to skillfully pray upon it.

I am not suggesting you run completely scared from seeking out a relationship but recognise the dating world may have changed a lot and that not everyone comes to it with the same intentions and expectations that you hold. Be sure to educate yourself of the warning signs and set yourself some “not negotiable” boundaries (including don’t send money!).

If you’ve had any dating disaster stories or scams, I’d love to hear about what happened and what you did!

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