Disclaimer: Although we do our best to filter out scammer profiles while manually moderating there will be some who will bypass our filters. We need your help to report them to us immediately by using the report button on their profile. Our staff members will deal with any received reports accordingly within 24-48 hours.
How to spot a typical scammer?
In this article you will learn the following:
1. Who are scammers
2. What do their online profiles look like
3. How they talk to you
4. What excuses they give to receive money
5. Warning signs summarised
6. How to protect yourself
7. What to do if you have been scammed
DISCLAIMER: This is a nonexhaustive list of who a typical scammer might be and there are different kinds of scammers out there. Please ensure to stay within Islamic guidelines and always do your own RESEARCH. IF you have any doubts or suspicions email us for advice whilst SEEKING support from your mahram/family/friends.
IMPORTANT: A scammer will have a 'number' of the traits below not only one or completely different one even. If you see red flags investigate further.
Who are scammers?
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via matrimonial websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective partners. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.
Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use a fake name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such especially military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad such as oil rigs, banks etc.
Examples of a typical scammer
The following are just examples but these may vary:
The male profile is in his late 40s (48 is the most common age) with a high income. He presents himself as a widower, with a degree and of average height (5’10”). He is most likely to have a career in engineering, has no interest in politics, a full head of light brown hair, and the photos are often but not always taken at a slight distance.
The female profile is in her 20s (29 was the most common age), and also has a high income. She presents herself as a student, also with a degree and no interest in politics. She is 5’6”, has never been married, and has long brown hair and blue eyes. Photos used are often beautiful selfies of her wearing alluring clothes.
What are scammers likely to do when they first speak to you?
• They are most likely to address you as ‘Dear’
• They will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time
• They will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel. Stay on our site and stay SAFE!
• They often claim to be from a Western country, but travelling or working overseas.
• They will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust, such as showering you with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’
• They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.
• Once they have gained your trust and your defences are down, they will ask you (either subtly or directly) for money or your banking/credit card details.
• They might send you proof of ID but do not trust it as it is likely to be Photoshopped.
What excuses/reasons do scammers use for requesting money?
• Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency.
• They may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation
• They may claim financial hardship due a failed business or mugging in the street.
• The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses.
• Sometimes the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money or gold they need to transfer out of their country and offer you a share of it. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes.
• You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else.
Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. Never agree to transfer money for someone else.
Irrespective of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and you may also feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you ‘thought’ loved you.
Warning signs summarised
1. You meet someone online and after just a few messages they profess strong feelings for you and ask to chat with you privately.
2. Their profile on the matrimonial site does not match with what they tell you or does not match their social media profile. For example, their profile picture looks different to their description of themselves, or they say they are well educated but their English is poor. Be vigilant when communicating.
3. After gaining your trust – they tell you an elaborate story and ask for money, gifts or your bank account/credit card details.
4. Their messages are often poorly written, vague and escalate quickly from the introduction to love.
5. If you don’t send money straight away, their messages and calls become more desperate, persistent or direct. If you do send money, they will keep asking for more.
6. They don’t keep their promises and always have an excuse for why they can't travel to meet you and why they always need more money.
• Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person – with your Wali/Mahram/Family.
• If you feel its a scam based on the information above - try to remove the emotion from your decision making no matter how caring or persistent the ‘prospective partner’ is.
• Perform an image search of your potential spouse to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google.
• Be alert to things like spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistencies in their stories.
• If you agree to meet a prospective spouse in person, tell do NOT go alone even if it is a public place. Pure Matrimony strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before and always ask for proof of ID!
• Be wary of requests for money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details, or copies of important personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
• Do not agree to transfer money for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.
Have you been scammed?
REPORT the profile to us using our REPORT feature and we will deal with it promptly and within 24-48 hours. Report the scammer to the local authorities.
Learn more with our Online Guide to Staying Safe online: Online Safety Guide