Private investigators are reporting a dramatic increase in Filipino dating scams that have left thousands of men out of love and in financial ruin.
Philippine PI, a professional private investigation company based in the U.S. specializing in Philippines background checks and investigation services, announced today a sharp rise in the reported number of internet dating scams affecting clients from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.
“The risk from romance scams and internet fraud involving the Philippines is greater than ever,” said company vice president William Carter.
Carter’s company alone reported this month that background checks and private investigations for internet scams are up 30% over 2009 levels.
He urged urge consumers to proceed with caution in romantic relationships involving the Philippines.
“Although pre-employment, due diligence and corporate fraud cases have decreased due to the staggering global economy, infidelity and romance scam cases are up significantly,” said Carter.
His company, Philippine PI expects to report an annual growth rate of 25% for 2010 primarily due to the increase in background checks and surveillance services resulting from romance scam cases.
Philippine PI is one of the largest private investigation firms operating in the Philippines, with agents in Manila, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan.
Simon Birch who has over 18 years of experience in private investigation services and covert surveillance writes that the Philippines continue to be a major exporter of foreign brides and relationship scams. “Many Filipinas are honest, beautiful women simply looking for a better life, an opportunity to escape the poverty. Others are honestly looking for true love. Other Filipinas, and increasingly so, are looking to cash in on the profitable industry of relationship and dating scams,” states Birch, a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.
Sorting the good from the bad then is critical in the search for love and Birch has the following advice;
When searching for the perfect Filipina, watch for the following warning signs…
A Filipina who 1) proclaims her love too soon,
or 2) requests money often or early in the relationship,
or 3) claims she’s in financial trouble and desperately needs help,
or 4) makes sudden claims of emergencies,
or 5) claims she needs assistance for a visa, passport or flight.
None of these should automatically disqualify a Filipina, but each should be treated as a red flag for the potential of being a scammer, someone who is dishonest, or someone who is simply after your money, states Birch.
Master Hughes, a well-known advocate who operates a web site to fight fraud by Philippine women called interpal.us states most men become victims because of what they don’t know.
The Philippine scams can often be very simple to extremely complicated with fake passports being used by women.
Scammers come in different kinds says a Filipino dating website.
“These include those who are scamming for money, the lady-boys, ‘damaged goods’ include: un-wed mothers, ex-prostitutes, troubled girls, religious fanatics, men haters, daddy’s girls, etc., husband seekers, chit-chatters and party girls, who want to go out on the town to expensive places they can’t afford (at your expense of course).”
Most investigators strongly recommend having a professional background check on the girlfriend, fiancée or wife candidate, if necessary.
Consider the service as an insurance policy to verify if the Filipina is who she claims to be. These services typically take about 7 days to complete, and if done by a professional, the subject will never learn of the investigation, they said.
Money is the key object in the dating scams and generally they work like this, according to many dating websites.
“As you get to know her, she may send subtle messages at first how hard up she is, that she can hardly pay the hourly rates at the internet cafes just to chat with you.
If you start sending her money, you cannot believe how fast her financial needs arise. You may find yourself paying for repairs on their roof leak, dental extraction, medical checkup, tuition fees, house rent money for her sister, medicine for her neighbor, a new computer or the latest model of cell phone to be able to communicate with you always.
She falls in love with your after a couple of emails, and from then on writes to you every day telling of her genuine love and how she cannot wait to meet you very soon.
She may then talk about visas, immigration, and passports. Be alert for this.
She does not want you to call her and tells you she does not have a phone.
Misrepresentation can start with pictures. You may start your search for an Asian woman by enrolling in one of the numerous dating sites. Once you have established a contact, you will then commonly switch your communication to chatting on Yahoo Messenger. Here is where your Asian girl will send you pictures via file transfer. Be prepared to see many beautiful photos that will excite you. But…the chances are, they will not be pictures of the real girl. 75% to 80% of Asian girls you chat with on Yahoo Messenger will send you fake pictures of pretty models. It can be humorous when two or more girls send you the same pictures.
Some girls are even more daring. They may actually claim to be a well-known model or actress, sending you “candid” pictures which they have found on the web. They don’t seem to care about lawsuits for misrepresentation. They do it anyway.
To determine what your foreign Asian girl really looks like, you will want and need to see her on webcam. Occasionally – but only occasionally – a girl may show herself on cam to you without asking for money. When you find such a girl, treasure her, for she is honest, and the rare exception. Most girls will ask you to send them money to rent a webcam. But, while it generally costs no more than $5 US to rent a webcam at an Internet café, most girls will ask for considerably more – often $35 or $40 US. They may say they need extra money for food or medicine.
Be prepared for the fact that many – if not a majority – of girls you wire money to for webcam rental will grab your money and disappear. Other girls will ask that you buy them their own webcam so they can chat privately, exclusively, and frequently with you alone. Hah!
There is also the “private room” scam. Many girls will offer to show you their bodies naked in an Internet café private room. Obviously this costs more. And while it is true that many girls will indeed offer you cybersex from a private room, the changes are greater that you will forever part with your “private room” money sent.
Then there is the popular travel scam. It is common, for example, for a Filipina to tell you she is a nurse on her way to the U.S. or Canada to work in a hospital. She will show pictures in a nurse’s uniform. And will even send you photos of her nurse’s certificate and visa – all forged. Her scam will be to tell you she is stuck in transit in Hong Kong or Tokyo or in Los Angeles and desperately needs money for unexpected airport terminal fees or for overnight hotel stay. She will send you a detailed itinerary showing the airlines and times – all of which she has simply lifted from the airline’s website.
I feel that love is our true essence. Love knows no barriers of caste, religion, race and nationality....... we are all beads strung on the same thread of love. If we learn how to love, life will take care of itself.