At Zambianmatch.com! we work hard to maintain the integrity of our site using both human and electronic screening techniques and by constantly updating and modifying our security measures. However, from time to time, scammers may get past our net. To avoid problems we urge you to be vigilant. Remember, developing a relationship with a woman from another country can be exciting and fulfilling. Using an international dating site like Zambianmatch.com! adds an exciting dimension by helping you connect with women you otherwise wouldn’t be able to know. We strive to provide a quality experience, which includes helping you avoid scammers who operate online.
What is a scam?
A scam is a fraudulent business scheme. In a “romance scam” a person fakes romantic intentions toward a victim to win his or her affection, then uses the goodwill to commit fraud such as gaining access to cash, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts and/or national ID numbers. Sometimes the scammer tries to get the victim to commit financial fraud on his or her behalf.
Scammers can be very persistent when trying to take advantage of you. They may spend weeks or months trying to build trust to execute their plan. If you end up talking to someone who turns out to be a scammer, it’s natural to feel disappointed, especially if you had high hopes for the relationship. If you keep in mind the following advice at every stage of your interactions with people you meet online and in person, the chances of being scammed will drop dramatically.
Common Scam Scenarios
Travel, Visas and Tickets – The Classics
A scammer might say she is interested in coming to visit you but needs money for a visa and plane tickets. She will be persistent about meeting you and will insist that she travel to you. She will ask you to send money to her or claim that she’s already incurred travel expenses and has fallen on hard financial times. In reality, it’s likely she hasn’t purchased anything and wants to collect cash while stringing you along.
Accident or Trouble
Once a woman has gained your trust, she may try to tug at your heartstrings by saying something terrible has happened to her. She might say she was robbed of all her money, her passport and visa were stolen and she needs a new one, or her plane ticket was stolen. She might also claim that her mother, father or other close relative had a heart attack and she needs help paying for treatments or hospital bills. In short, beware of any “emergency” situation that prompts her to ask you for money.
You may find yourself corresponding with a woman who appears very beautiful whose native language is not English. She will have enticing pictures of herself on her profile to draw you in. She will say she has been contacted by the translation agency she uses to communicate with you about her unpaid bill, and that she can no longer afford to pay for translation services. Then she will ask for money so she can pay the bill and continue talking to you. This is a common scam.
A claim of being “trapped” in a situation
If you meet a woman with a lot of personal problems and you start to get close, and later she says she feels trapped in a terrible situation at home, has no future in her country, or is stranded abroad, beware. This could be a scammer appealing to your compassionate impulses to help.
Fake travel agencies and websites
A woman might claim she knows travel agents who offer great deals. She will insist she must be the one to handle the money and arrangements because the travel agent is a family member or friend. These are likely scammers with elaborate fake websites to trick you into thinking they are legitimate. You will receive emails from the travel agent who will discuss travel options and pricing with you. These types of websites and emails are easy to set up and operate, so beware.
General Signs You May Be a Victim of an Online Scam
Here are the general signs that indicate you might be speaking with a scammer:
- The person asks for payments for expensive items such as plane tickets, legal and visa fees, medical expenses, marriage annulment fees, etc.
- The person asks you to assist with transactions such as depositing funds, shipping merchandise, etc.
- The person talks about being “trapped” in a situation at home or a foreign country and asks you to help by purchasing plane tickets or sending money.
- The person reports a sudden personal crisis and pressures you to provide assistance.
- The person asks to borrow money, sometimes only a small amount. We recommend that you never loan money to someone you’ve just met, regardless of his or her story.
- The person gives vague answers to specific questions (e.g., job, interests) or tells stories with inconsistencies or grandiosity.
- The person “falls in love” with you within a couple of weeks. While it is possible to fall in love at first sight, be very cautious if you are asked to show your love by buying a plane or bus ticket so she can meet you.
- The person seems too good to be true.
- The person says that an expensive gift is on its way to you and asks that you pay customs taxes to the courier or another company.
- Never send money, especially through an irreversible means such as Western Union or Moneygram, since you will likely have no way of getting it back.
- Make sure her profile matches things she says. If she says she’s from Russia but her profile says Ukraine, pay attention to this and other inconsistencies in her story, even small details like what she said she does for work and information about family members, as well as something more significant such as saying she lives in two different countries.
- Verify her address by sending her a gift by mail, then you can see if she’s received it by asking careful questions in your correspondence.
- Talk to her using a free web cam service such as Skype. If she doesn’t have a web cam, you can buy one and send it to her – but do not send money so she can buy it herself. This is another good way to verify her address.
- If you offer to visit her in her country, take note of how she responds. If she is genuine, she will be thrilled you want to come. If she is a scammer, she will continue to ask about money instead of wanting to meet you.
- If she really does need money for something and you are more than confident she is honest, take care of the purchase yourself. Never send money so she can do it.
In-person scams are less common, but they do exist. If you are traveling to meet a woman for the first time, this assumes you have developed enough trust to do so. But sometimes a person’s willingness to trust can make him vulnerable to scams. Pay attention to these signs that may indicate a problem:
- She seeks expensive gifts and getaways. Gifts such as jewelry, money and a trip to an expensive hotel or resort are common requests from in-person scammers. An honest woman might offer to help with expenses and contribute what she can.
- She seems preoccupied with money, not you. If she seems overly interested in what is in your wallet or bank account instead of finding out more about you, this is a red flag.
- She handles bookings and pays. If your match offers to book arrangements, it’s easy for her to say something cost more than it did. For example, she may say the hotel room cost $250 a night when it was only $50 and keep the extra money. Until you are sure she is trustworthy, you should handle all bookings, especially if you are the one who is paying.
- She talks about financial troubles and asks for help. If your match starts talking about financial hardships and implies she might need help, don’t give in. Common stories include a family emergency or saying that to buy her ticket to meet you she had to pawn valuable items like her grandmother’s jewelry or her late mother’s wedding ring – stories that will tug at your heartstrings. If this happens, show sympathy in case she is being honest, but explain that you aren’t in a position to help her financially. After you’ve said no, her behavior over the next few days should reveal if she is a scammer.
Money is the big tip-off: Be very careful when it comes to money matters
Scammers start by spending a significant amount of time messaging and gaining your trust. They pose as beautiful women and act extremely charming – then one day you’ll get a message asking for money for something. Never give money to anyone you haven’t met regardless of how trustworthy the woman may seem. Here we recap important tips about money:
- Never send money to anyone you have met online but not yet in person. Examples of scams include requests for payments for plane tickets, legal and visa fees, medical expenses, marriage annulment fees, money transfers, deposits and withdrawals.
- If you feel you must assist a woman with a plane ticket, always buy the ticket yourself on her behalf and make sure the ticket is refundable. Similarly, if you decide to pay for visa or annulment fees or other large expenses, pay the expense directly after you verify that the invoice and organization issuing the invoice is genuine.
- Sometimes people ask for small amounts of money to pay for Internet access or telephone expenses for calling you. We recommend that you do not send money to anyone you have not yet met in person.
- Be suspicious of people who are persistent or aggressive in their requests for money or ask for more money as soon as you have sent something.
Summary of Safe Dating Tips
Be wary of anyone who:
- Asks for money or assistance with personal transactions (e.g., depositing funds, shipping merchandise), especially if you have never met in person.
- Wants to speed up the pace beyond your comfort level or insists on getting overly close, overly fast.
- Reports a sudden personal crisis and pressures you to help.
- Asks inappropriate questions.
- Tells stories with inconsistencies and grandiosity.
- Gives vague answers to specific questions.
- Constantly blames others for troubles in his or her life.
Detecting fraud on our site is one of our top priorities. As always, we encourage members to alert us to possible fraudulent activity so we can take action as necessary. If you are suspicious of a member or have specific information, click the “Report Abuse” link on his or her profile or send an email to report@Zambianmatch.com! . Please include the member’s username and ID and details as to the nature of your concerns. If you’re unsure about a member’s profile, ask us for advice.