Online dating scams have exploded, just as online dating has. We will show you how to avoid Asian Dating Scams (and dating scams, in general).
Anonymity and a low barrier to entry make running love scams far too easy. Asian dating schemes are especially popular and they come in a lot more forms than most people realize.
Losing your money to someone who is more likely a man pretending to be a woman on the other side of the screen is pretty frustrating. Then again, losing it to a real woman is just as frustrating.
Still, it could be worse than losing a chunk of money. That’s why we need to talk about…
What makes these scams so terrible, other than the fact that you lose money, is that they pose a very real danger to your personal safety as well. Scam artists are known to run international criminal syndicates and be part of such networks.
They may go as far as trying to lure you overseas with promises of love, and such encounters often end with very tragic consequences. This is all together with the long-lasting feelings of emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you. And, of course, the money you will never recover.
But in rare cases, scammers who get you to actually come to a dangerous place could try to hurt you in a more violent fashion. Kidnapping still occurs in many parts of the world, including some Southeast Asian countries.
Here are a few warning signs of what Asian dating scams look like in real life and how to avoid them.
Dating Scam Warning Signs
Scam artists are some of the most creative people you will ever come across. Chances are they are not going to depend on the same tactics over and over. And the ones you hear about getting busted for some idiotic scheme and the ones who got weeded out. The smart ones are still out there.
They prey on people who have never been exposed to the tricks they use. These are some of the most typical signs the chances the person you’re dealing with is not who they claim to be.
Proclaiming their love for you right away
Just after meeting someone online for the first time, they waste no time in declaring how much they love you. Or want to have sex with you. Often, they do this in order to get you to lower your guard down and ask you to leave the site.
For instance, if you met on a dating site, they ask you to start communicating over email or chat. It’s rarely ever over the phone.
Inconsistencies in who they claim to be
Some of these might be obvious. They might have a profile claiming they went to school but upon talking to them, they don’t know basic math. In the most sloppy cases, the pictures don’t match the person you are talking to, at all.
But there are less obvious signals you can catch on to.
For example, let’s say you met a sweet Filipina girl that you think might be the girl of your dreams. She says she’s from the province but then you notice she has a stylish bob haircut and a small butterfly tattoo on her neck. But let me tell you, good province girls in the Philippines have long black hair and no tattoos.
That ‘city look’ should clue you into the fact that she isn’t what she seems. Does it mean she’s a Nigerian scammer? Maybe but she could just be a prostitute from one of the big cities. Either way, she isn’t that sweet province girl she represented herself as.
Oh, she’s got a tattoo? Maybe she’s just artistic. Nope! You don’t have to ditch every girl that has an inconsistency but it is a red flag and you need to explore. Proceed with caution.
It may be hard to spot the more subtle inconsistencies if you have never met or dated an Asian girl.
What seems normal to you (like a bob haricut) might not be normal in that country, at all. At least not for a ‘good girl’.
Their isn’t much you can do about this until you get more experience. One thing you can do is read up on the dating habits of Asian women, in general, and the country you are most interested in.
We have guides on every major country guys go to in search of love, as well as an extensive guide on meeting Asian women.
Asking for money
This is the ultimate red sign you should always be on the lookout for. With this regard, the most important aspect you need to understand is that they have a lot of time on their hands. Don’t expect them to start asking money from you right away.
She (or he, as the case may be) has a lot more time than money. “Labor” is a lot cheaper in other countries.
If a scammer in Cambodia talks to you off and on for three months, and you send her the equivalent of $100, that’s a huge win for them. Don’t think that just because they have talked to you for a long time, they must be real and invested.
They just might be talking to 10 guys a day and that $100 for 3 months is now $1000 for 3 months.
There may come a time, maybe even months after the two of you have started texting that they come up with an elaborate and pretty sad sob story to entice you into giving them money.
They will usually size you up to see how much you trust them. That is, how guilty you will feel if you don’t hand them any money. Then they finally make their move. Asking for cash right away often works, but only on the truly desperate.
Not sending the cash will often lead to even more desperate sob stories to try and guilt trip you into giving into their ruse.
They are never willing to meet
Every time you suggest a meetup, there’s always an elaborate excuse for why they cannot meet with you. A sick mother, strict parents, a job, whatever the case may be.
Or, if they are more creative, they don’t have enough money to get them to the meetup point. Could you kindly send them some?
You can send a little money for transportation but make sure you know how much it costs first.
If the girl lives in a poor country, chances are the transportation there is cheap. Otherwise, no-one would be using it and it wouldn’t exist. And you should be ready to lose whatever you send.
They get intimate too quickly
If a girl gets sexual immediately, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a scam. It goes back to that ‘inconsistency’ thing mentioned earlier.
If you are talking to a Thai bargirl and just want to arrange some fun for yourself, talking about intimate things is par for the course, obviously.
But if you are looking to marry a sweet Thai woman from the province, it’s a whole different story. They are going to be far, far more reserved.
Just remember, scammers know that guys are looking for certain things from women.
In some cases, it’s affection and sweet words. In some cases, it’s excitement and sexual fulfillment. If it’s the latter, you need to be aware of your own vulnerability.
How To Protect Yourself
Information is only useful if you are willing and able to use it. Otherwise, it’s no better than not having the information, to begin with.
So with all that in mind and all this information at hand, how do you protect yourself from falling victim to the kind of schemes these con men like to employ?
Don’t send money to someone you haven’t met in person
This is pretty self-explanatory. Identity theft is a thing, and it is a lot more widespread than most people appreciate. If you have never met the person in real life, no matter how sad or convincing their story is, don’t try and rationalize it away.
Should they ask you for any amount of money, they are very likely scam artists.
If you do send money, write it off, in your mind. So that you won’t be disappointed. And if something does come of it, well, it will be a nice surprise.
Don’t react emotionally
They are pretty good at messing with people’s emotions. They will make you think they are in love with you, normally after little to no interaction with yourself to begin with.
If any of the warning signs above appear in their behavior, go with the assumption that they are trying to scam you. From which point, assume everything that follows is not true and separate your emotions from your ultimate decision.
Regardless of how persistent or caring they seem, don’t send them a single cent.
Look them up online
If they have sent you any sort of picture at any point of your conversations, it would probably be time to get familiar with Tineye. It will help you reverse search an image online. That is, you can find out if a picture is being used in other places on the internet.
You can often find the image on another social media site like Reddit, Twitter or Instagram (especially Instagram). And it could just be another of her accounts.
So what you look for is if the info on the profile matches her other info. If not, you just busted a con artist.
Don’t share too much personal information
If you have never met the other person before, be very careful with sharing personal details and photos, especially of the intimate kind.
Blackmail is one of the most common ways they will attempt to get money from you.
Here’s an example that happened to a friend of mine.
He was chatting on cam with a cute Vietnamese girl. So far, so good. Things turned sexual pretty quickly (already a warning sign). Next thing he knew, she was getting naked and pleasuring herself. She hadn’t asked for anything.
He reciprocated and next thing you know, they are both naked. He was happy. Until she sent him pictures of the session and threatened to put the video all over the internet.
If he had read up on honest Vietnamese girls, he would never have known something was fishy, right from the start.
This much should really go without saying, but credit card information is a no-no. Sounds obvious but she might come up with some kind of legitimate sounding reason.
Personal identification information (asking you to prove who you are, for instance) is a lazy attempt on their part but often works.
They might come up with some very legitimate or innocuous sounding reasons. You are probably thinking “Of course I wouldn’t do that”.
But that’s sitting here, reading this right now. When they are talking to you, it’s going to seem natural and before you think about it, you will have done something you shouldn’t.
Meet in public
The importance of this step can never be overstated. If, at any point, you decide you trust the person and want to meet them in order to seal the deal, meet in a very public place.
Preferably, meet in a restaurant where you’re familiar with the staff or where the staff can call you a cab if things go south. Of course, don’t give away your address right away.
Additionally, make sure you inform a close friend or relative who you’re going to meet and where. At least which country and city.
Do not travel overseas JUST to meet one person
This tip is often met with jeers and boos because of a lack of understanding of how everything in their elaborate game falls into place.
However, traveling all the way to another country just to meet someone that may be in love with you is highly advised against by governments all over the world.
Consider your options very carefully. Including what you’re going to do should things turn out differently from what you expect them to.
Booking that plane ticket to travel abroad just to meet them is not just likely a waste of money, it can be dangerous.
Am I saying never to go meet a girl from another country? Of course not, you will have to.
Just don’t get too caught up one person and rush over there. I would suggest meeting more than one person. I.E. don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Do not accept any money from them
As counter-intuitive as this may sound, they may ask to send you some money. Of course, there’s a catch. They may want you to send some, or all, of it to another account.
This is a common money-laundering scheme. If caught, you could be considered an accessory to the crime. Money laundering is a criminal offense in every country in the world.
Ways They May Try to Manipulate You
Most scammers are seasoned traders in the art of emotional manipulation. It usually lies at the end of two extremes.
Often, it’s just a game of threatening and hope you will respond or try and take advantage of your good nature.
Fake love and attention (emotional manipulation)
People desperate for any kind of attention – those afflicted with loneliness or just want someone to hold – are the easiest to manipulate. Scammers will declare their love to numerous people, often immediately. Even in the first message!
Now, the great majority of people don’t reply to such texts, seeing the gesture as a giant red flag that mustn’t be pursued.
However, those that do respond are the perfect targets to catch in their elaborate web of lies.
You don’t believe it but there is some part of you that wants to believe it. Don’t give in to that feeling. Use your head and be a little detached.
Most female scammers who like to employ the use of this tactic are located in Eastern Europe while the males are located in West Africa.
Still, there is a sizable portion in Asia, as well. Especially in countries where English is common, like the Philippines.
Extortion through threats
Scammers usually target vulnerable people with threats to their lives or well-being in exchange for money.
This is why you need to be careful never to give your address to someone you haven’t met. With an address and a name, you become vulnerable to all kinds of scary tactics.
They may threaten you with all manner of things. It could be leaking your personal information to embarrass you or for identity theft. It could be slandering you to your family.
They might threaten physical violence against you. They could threaten to implicate you in a crime. There is no limit to what a true scammer will do.
As you might guess, they almost never stop calling and will threaten you further if you contact the police.
Note, however, that contacting the authorities is the best move you can pull if you find yourself in such a situation. Giving them the power to dominate you will only further their resolve to coerce money out of you.
It’s important to note that they don’t usually go through with such threats. But equally important to point out that in very rare cases, they might.
There are some seriously psychotic people out there. Most of them aren’t. But it only takes one to make you have a very bad day.
Most Common Kinds of Asian Dating Scams
Dating scams are notoriously hard to detect because they usually start very innocently. They are usually initiated without provocation and the scam artist is often so nice and warm it’s impossible to tell right away.
They can be very creative so don’t expect to be hit with the same kind of scam every time. Here are some of the most common variations of scams they use on their clueless victims.
Intimate activity scams
In this kind of scam, they contact you from countries like Indonesia, India, Vietnam or Thailand where at least some part of the country speaks English.
Since English isn’t their first language and they usually spend little to no time speaking it in order to improve, their grammar will be terrible.
Once the two of you have really hit it off and gotten close to each other, they ask to chat with you over Skype or any other video calling software. After which, they ask you to perform intimate acts such as taking off your clothes.
Lots of times, only you will be visible on the camera since theirs is mysteriously broken and doesn’t work. But, as with my friend and the Vietnamese girl, it could be a very real girl on cam with you, too.
Using the previously mentioned emotional manipulation tactics, they will praise you about how hot you are and try to get you to do even more for them.
At this point, you should probably know where it’s going. They record the video and threaten to upload it so all your friends can see unless you send them money.
At this point, sending them any amount of money is the biggest mistake you can possibly make.
Once you do, they will start increasing the amount up to a point you say you can’t pay up anymore. And the cycle will continue, as they start to demand what’s now your threshold point.
They are just as likely to follow through on their threats, whether you pay them off or not.
Fake dating sites
You’ve likely already heard about extortion scams and all that since they are usually widely covered by the press. What gets a lot less attention, however, is the numerous dating sites that are designed to siphon money from you.
Such services usually offer legitimate meetups with women from Asia (or any country of your choosing, really). But behind the bad ones are scammers, bots and paid actors.
Some of the red flags about such sites are that they either immediately ask for your phone number or are really light on personal questions.
But it’s not always that black and white. Some of these sites are really really well-developed. They may look professional enough to fool even the smartest guy. They often even have a legitimate signing certificate for their site and lots of great reviews all over the internet.
Most scammers just reuse the same template on site after site, simply changing the name of the website and a few pictures here and there to make it look different.
In fact, a lot of them don’t even bother changing the names or pictures of the women across their sites.
Two websites looking a little bit too alike is almost definitely a scam ran by people unwilling to pay developers to do a half-decent job, at least.
The exception to this is when a company has different websites for different countries or regions.