Call the victims what you want. Stupid, naive, gullible. There I said it..... For what? Putting their heart in the right place with the right intentions? The level of online romance scams has been exponential since covid, people losing their homes, retirement, and life savings not to mention putting the victim into emotional trauma that will enable distrust of ever dating again even in person. I often wondered what emotional tolls the victims of the Tinder Swindler are still going through? To call them undatable? I find it hard to believe and highly unacceptable. This is all brought to you by, you guessed it....ONLINE DATING.
I myself am a victim of an online romance scam, I hated myself for enabling it to happen, I felt undatable when I tried letting people know of my story, only to be shut out as being "too stupid, naive and gullible for a relationship." It really hurt, the fact someone can be so senseless and heartless to any victim of Catfishing. Mine wasn't as significant as the Tinder Swindler as I never got to meet any person in person.
Mine was pretty much a text book example of the things you do not do.....Think of it, name it.....I did it. There...I said it...Leave it alone..... I learned a great deal from it.....The amount of financial fallout I had to recover from, the emotional toll Im still dealing with it. It created a huge mistrust of my own world view of online dating sites. Can people even be trusted at all anymore? Come to find I wasn't alone, many online sites have devoted Catfish scam organizations that have been a huge help in not just in emotional support, but also tracking down whether if the person is a fake. Facebook even has one.
These sites were very helpful in how spot it. Such as the language they use; for example, a real person will normally say "I am from", a scammer will say "Am from without using "I am". They are often scripted, and not very good with the English language, so don't even bother even having a conversation, they will ghost you for hours in the midst of small talk. They refuse to have any tactful means of meeting, and will always have an A-Z list of excuses for not meeting in person or online such as Skype. Another thing that gives it away the fact anything they state is riddled with English grammatical errors and it was interesting how I didn't pick up on this on my scammer.
What I kept on taking note of is, which sites victims were reporting from, sites that are deemed as "safe". I found non were. Match, Tinder, Eharmony, Facebook, Instagram, Plenty of Fish, Christian Singles....Just to name a few. What blew my mind, was the no accountability on these sites should a scam take place, no consumer protections, no financial protections against online romance scams, yet places such as PayPal, EBay, and Amazon has these protections even though its merchandise instead of service the concept is the same. With the level of exploitation of profits for dates and no guarantees of putting you in front of a living breathing person is absolutely gut wrenching and disgusting. I felt I didn't get what I paid for. Upgrade to premium and you can have a chat feature. To continue the "fake" conversation just enter card information for more chat tokens. "Id like to know you more." Sound familiar? Before you know it you're out of chat tokens....What kind of unethical shit is that? Most online platforms have free chat features. Like here on GAG.
You can't recover what is lost. All that can be done is reporting everything that took place but, the emotional toll? when you hit the emotional wall? It will stick with you. Its made me question if I am really dating material or just a simple swipe to the left on Match. It also makes me question those that have an established relationships if you really did really meet online, or if you are lying through your teeth? The number of Catfish victims that online dating claims every year doesn't lie. What even more disturbing a fake profile does not violate Facebooks or Instagrams community standards even if reported.....Figure that one out, I've even found fake sites for dates I've reported and Facebook nor Instagram do anything to stop it. Hiding behind Freedom of speech and Freedom of the Press isn't a constitutional right when there is extortion, exploiting and profiting taking place in the midst of scamming people. As for catching these people? Its something to celebrate when a scam call center is raided by the EFCC or the FTC and multiple people facing jail time.
I leave you all with this....If that date ever does share their Catfish story with you that is not the time to shame, runaway from, or judge them. Or even say "that's not everyones experience." People are getting emotionally and financially hurt. Its ruined dating to its very foundation. What's sad to me is how easy it is to dismiss that message or simply scroll through the endless good looking girls and guys that potentially could be a good match. If online dating worked like its supposed to, I guarantee the posts I see on GAG on not being able to find a significant other would cease to exist, especially with Catfished victims. These are a human beings that has been put through an emotional hell, drumming back what is left of their courage, to be able to trust and love again by stepping back into the dating ring. Let them share their story no matter how stupid of things they did. A true person that loves one another can show compassion.