Long Distance Relationship Scam : How to recognize them
My Peruvian girlfriend never doubted me.
About my intentions. Not for a second did she think I was a Long Distance Relationship Scam.
But her friends and family did.
And that’s normal. Beyond being naturally worried, why would a Frenchman be interested in a Peruvian woman, knowing that he used a fake name and that his Instagram has no pictures?
Yes yes, you read that right.
I really wasn’t that smart… back then in 2019, I was much more vigilant on the internet than I am now. Kyomi could have instantly blocked me, and our wonderful love story would have never started.
Unfortunately, not everyone has my benevolence.
Every year, millions of Americans get scammed. And that number is only growing.
Maybe you’ve just met someone online, and you’re not really sure of their intentions?
Or maybe your friends and family have warned you: « It’s obvious you’re going to get scammed! », when you’re convinced that you’re not.
How can you tell what is real and what is not?
How do you know if you are dealing with a Long Distance Relationship Scam?
In this article, you will discover:
– The definition and difference between a scam and a catfish
– The warning signs that you are dealing with a bad person
– The 2 rules you must follow to avoid problems
– 9 foolproof techniques to unmask a scammer
– What we did with Kyomi to prove to each other that we were not scammers
– 3 spine-chilling stories about LDR scams
Here we go.
For an ever more fulfilling long distance relationship, you can read these articles:
19 essential tips for starting a Long Distance Relationship
14 Long Distance Red Flags that don’t fool anyone
26 challenges to do long distance (1/week = 6 months of activities)
What is a Long Distance Scam? Definition
A person will contact you by email or on social networks and will drag you into his trap.
He will not hesitate to lie to you, pretend to be someone else and threaten you.
« If you don’t pay this fine, I will disclose compromising information and photos about you ».
« Your computer has been infected with a virus. You must pay now or you will never be able to use it again. »
In short, it’s a scam.
And in the case of long-distance relationships, it’s called a « feeling scam ».
Scammers and catfish are similar, except for one small detail.
Scammers VS catfish, what's the difference?
In the case of long-distance relationships, it is better to talk about catfish.
The only difference is the modus operandi.
The scammer will usually send thousands of fake emails pretending to be an authority (a government, the police…) to make you believe that you have to pay a fine.
The catfish will do anything to make you fall in love with him/her and use your addiction to defraud you.
For the rest of this article, I will group the two terms together because the purpose and the modus operandi do not change: to abuse your trust to get money from you.
Long Distance Relationship Scam: How to recognize them easily
Even if the modus operandi varies according to the scammers, the purpose remains the same: to swindle you of money (in the best of cases)!
And they are smart:
Every week they develop new techniques, circumvent obstacles and do not hesitate to lie and be manipulative to achieve their ends.
And the first thing you have to watch out for is their presence on social networks!
1) Long Distance Scams don't have profile pictures (or a fake one)
It would be too risky for them to publicly post their face. Here are the 3 cases that can occur to you:
1) Their photo is fake.
In the next part of the article, I’ll explain how you can tell with a simple Google search.
2) He/she doesn’t have any photos.
If you start talking to someone and they don’t have a profile picture, ask him/her to send you one.
One technique to make sure he doesn’t send another picture is to ask him/her to write your first name on a piece of paper; and take a picture where you can see his/her face and the paper.
3) His photo looks real, but you have doubts.
In this case, ask him/her if he has other social networks. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat… it’s usually a bad sign if he’s not present anywhere.
Be careful, these clues do not prove that you have in front of you someone who wants to hurt you!
Let me tell you a short personal story :
When I started talking to my girlfriend online on Instagram, I had just created my profile.
I didn’t have any pictures, I wasn’t following any people and no one was following me!
I had even put a fake name on the app where we met.
Why did I do this?
To protect myself. At the beginning, I didn’t think I would find love on this application but I wanted to know good tips to travel abroad.
But I proved my good faith to her in many different ways.
She quickly trusted me thanks to some techniques that I will explain below.
In a Long Distance Relationship Scam, he asks for money quite quickly after your first discussion
I will often repeat this sentence:
NEVER send money to a stranger, even if everything they say seems to be true.
Remember that Long Distance Relationship Scams are manipulative and love to play with your feelings.
The reasons are varied and have in common that they play on the emotional side:
– He (or someone close to him) is seriously ill:
He does not have enough savings to take care of himself.
– He has had a big unforeseen event:
His country is asking him for money, a car accident, the loss of his job, major damage to his house…), but obviously, no one can help him except you.
– He wants to meet you but doesn’t have enough money.
He will ask you to pay his ticket. Not only will you never meet him, but you will never see your money again either.
– He is a bank forbidden person.
In other words, his bank has frozen his account and he can’t pay for food or rent. Classic.
– He has debts:
Gambling, former drug trafficking… He will pretend to be the victim to better swindle you.
– He will blackmail you:
If you have sent him private photos, he may threaten you. « Give me money or all your family and friends will see these pictures.
3) This is how they get you
The first step is that they will make you feel for them.
They’re going to pretend to be the perfect, romantic, caring person who is available to listen and support you.
When you talk to someone every day, even on the internet, you naturally develop feelings.
And they know that.
They will do everything to make it happen, even if it means making you feel guilty and making you believe that you have hurt them. It’s systematic!
There are many similarities between Long Distance scammers and narcissistic perverts.
Then, when the feelings are there, he will go even further into the lie.
He will tell you that he has fallen totally in love with you, and that you are the perfect person, that his life has improved greatly since he met you.
The idea here is that he wants you to think that you are unique.
He may even go so far as to make your love official and say that you are a couple!
He won’t tell you about all the people he’s already scammed this way, of course.
Remember: « If it’s too good to be true, it probably is ».
7 excellent questions to ask yourself to recognize a scammer in a Long Distance Relationship
- Does he give personal information about his private life, his friends, his family, his work?
Is this information verifiable?
Is this information contradictory?
- What is his reaction when you talk about meeting for real?
Does he dodge the subject?
Does he say yes but you have to pay for his ticket?
- Has he developed feelings for you extremely quickly?
- Have you ever made a video call with him?
- Does he contradict himself often?
- Do all your discussions revolve exclusively around you and very little around him?
Make the comparison: do you know as much about him as he knows about you?
- Did he contact you first?
9 easy, immediate and concrete solutions to apply to put him/her out of harm's way (the 4th is monstrous)
Before revealing the 9 techniques that may save you from a scam, I want to remind you of one thing.
Let’s be clear:
Even if you have no doubt, test at least 3 of these methods.
Never underestimate a Long Distance Relationship Scammer.
They do this all day long and know exactly how to do it.
If you are the type of person who shares a lot of information on the internet, they will use it against you to coax you. Always keep in mind that YES, even if you have no doubt, there is always a risk
Here are the 9 techniques:
1) Check his/her photos on Google Images with a reverse search.
This is very simple to do.
Ask him/her to send you one or more photos.
You can also do this on public photos that are on Facebook or Instagram or other website.
Right click, copy the URL of the image and go to Google Images
If I’m speaking a dialect you don’t understand, there are tutorials to explain in pictures how to do a reverse image search.
If his/her photo appears in many results, on strange and untrustworthy sites, then photos are fake.
2) Long Distance Relationship Scam: Stalk him/her
Do you think he bothered to do it for you?
I told you:
The more he knows about you, the more he will know how to manipulate you.
Professional hypnotists always analyze their audience before they bring a few participants on stage. It’s not a coincidence.
So stall him/her from everywhere!
- Type his/her first and last name on Google (add the name of his/her city or country for more details)
- Search on LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter…
- See if his/her email address is associated with other accounts
Long Distance Scammers are careful about the information they leave online.
3) Ask personal questions
There are plenty you can ask. And in a natural way! You won’t give her the impression that you’re suspicious.
If you want to set a powerful trap that gets results, talk about these topics:
- His/her family and friends
- His/her work
- His/her habits
- His/her passions
- Places he/she usually goes.
- Here’s 35 long distance questions you can ask !
If you feel that he/she doesn’t like to talk about all this or worse, that he is not consistent in what he says, these are forward signs that you should be wary of.
4) Long Distance Relationship Scam: Make a video call
The first video call can be stressful. But it will be even more stressful for him!
He refuses to make a video call?
Has he told you a lie so big that you believe it?
Like, his phone is broken, he never has his computer with him, none of his friends can help him or his wifi is bad?
Fine. Impose him to set a date to make a video call.
It can be in a few days, one or two weeks maximum. But no longer.
If he always finds an excuse to make that video call later, then run away.
Stop talking to him right now. He’s lying to you and doesn’t mean well.
5) Find out about his/her past
Scammers hate talking about themselves. Much less their past.
Test him on this.
Ask about their educational background, what school they went to, where they lived when they were young, what their parents or family did, did they have any other romantic relationships, what were their childhood friends called?
Ask them to tell you a story with specific details, such as how they celebrated Christmas, the best birthday they ever had.
Then insist on seeing pictures of these events!
And if he sends you a photo, check their authenticity with Google.
6) Ask for a photo ID
I am a pragmatic person in life.
You can be direct and ask him without an apology.
Otherwise, make up something like check his height or to laugh at the photo!
7) Ask for his/her address
Exactly like the previous point.
Pretend that you want to send him a package.
Then, go to Google Maps to see what his house looks like.
See if everything is consistent or if there are any contradictions!
8) Ask to speak to his/her family
I don’t really need to explain why this is a great technique. Scamming LDRs will avoid involving their family at all costs to set you up.
If they tell you that they don’t have a good relationship with their family, make a video call with one of their friends. You can make him think you want to get to know him better!
9) Ask your family (or friends) for their opinion
Don’t rely solely on this technique to eradicate your doubts.
Do this as a last resort after trying the other solutions above.
Bonus: You can find out where he/she connects from by his/her email address.
I personally never tried it, so I don’t know if it works.
But some free sites offer to do it!
You can find out where an email was sent from.
If he tells you he lives in New York but his IP address shows that his email was sent from Chicago, there is clearly a problem.
Long Distance Relationship Scam: If you don't respect these 2 rules, you will have serious problems
Never send money for any reason
Do not send nude
No need to go into detail. It’s obvious but I have to remind it again and again!
If you break any of these rules, you’re putting yourself at great risk.
How did my Peruvian girlfriend and I prove our good faith to each other?
You read it in the introduction.
Kyomi’s friends thought I was a scam from the moment she mentioned me; and I understand them:
- I was using a fake name on the app where we met
- My instagram looked like this:
So how did I convince her that I was a normal person who didn’t mean her any harm?
And how did I make sure it was the same for her?
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of things we personally did that you can replicate:
- We sent each other our IDs and addresses
- We made video calls for dozens of hours over several months
- We sent each other numerous photos from our past and our childhood
- I made a video call with her parents
- I did my own research: reversed images, stalk, search for inconsistencies
- We never sent any nude and even less money
- I asked my relatives for their opinion
You can go even further: create a fake profile that looks a bit like yours and contact the potential scammer.
See how they respond, if they mention you in the conversation.
Here are 3 terrible LDR Scam stories
I don’t want to scare you.
I just want to tell you the reality. Long Distance Relationship Scams are everywhere and they are getting more and more numerous.
I did some research and found 3 stories that can make you aware of the importance of being careful.
The third one is frightening.
A mother sends money to an « American soldier » because the U.S. government had not paid her salary.
The story is online on Quora website.
He spends an insane amount of money on a girl « who doesn’t seem very interested ».
The testimonial is also searchable on Quora.
The third story is the worst of all. It happened very recently, in November 2022.
First of all, because it is not about money theft or sexual blackmail.
No, it’s much worse than that. It makes me feel cold.
Then, because it happened in Peru. My girlfriend is Peruvian, and the village where the Mexican woman disappeared is not far from Lima.
The drama quickly became international.
Many newspapers talked about it.
When there is a doubt, no doubt!
You now have all the cards in your hand to avoid being scammed and to stay away from Long Distance Relationship Scams.
I would like to conclude this article on a positive note:
In 99% of the cases, the person virtually in front of you is like you and me.
In most cases, the relationship goes well and is not toxic.
Unfortunately, there are exceptions everywhere.
One of the most famous mafia organizations in the world comes from Japan, a country known for its respect and values.
I personally know French people who hate baguettes, cheese and wine.
Exceptions do exist.
Watch your back and stay alert! If you had to remember only one technique to apply, it would be the video call.
All you have to do is call him/her !
If you liked this article and want to help other couples in long distance relationships, please share it !
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We are Léo & Kyomi, a French-Peruvian couple in a long distance relationship since 2019. Welcome to this blog entirely dedicated to this way of life.
We decided to create
My Sweet LDR
to help people who want to live their relationship serenely and who don’t know how to do it.
To read our entire story
you can click just here !