Information on romance scams and scammers.
#59538 by Provocateur Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:38 am
As a recent target of a probable gay romance scam I discovered that there is hardly any info on the Internet. While there are numerous sites for heterosexuals, gay romance scams are still under the radar. There are tidbits of into on a few of these sites for homosexuals but gay romance scams are not even a sub-sect on the web. So for what it’s worth, here’s some in-depth details borne out of research and personal experience for fellow gays who suspect they may be the target of a scam.

First, the number one dating web site used by scammers targeting gays is GayRomeo.com. The reasons are that it is free to join and the administrator does not like deleting anyone from the site even when they are a proven scam artist.

Scammers target older gays in the U.S., UK and Western Europe especially those who do not have a photo on their profile. The presumption of the scammers is that gays in their 50s and 60s are lonely, gullible, vulnerable and most importantly rich. While there are scammers from all countries, the majority live in Russia, the Ukraine and other former republics of the defunct Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western and South Africa and Asia, in particular Malaysia and the Philippines. That being said, I once got a message from a scammer in Switzerland one of the wealthiest countries on the planet!

Try to use common sense. Why would a gorgeous 18-24-year old gay man go running after a 55-year old thousands of miles away? They’re not after your body, they want your wallet. If a gay man over 40 strolls into a trendy gay club for 20-somethings in New York, London, Paris or Sydney they will either be ignored or humiliated. Try Tel Aviv for example where young club gays are particularly brutal to older men and will actually ask them to leave because they’re breathing the air. This is a cold, hard fact of gay life. Why should things be different in cyber space?

There are two main categories of young men who target older men on dating sites. The first is some impoverished lad who lives in a poor country and is looking to be rescued by someone older in the West. THIS IS NOT A SCAM. It’s economics. I don’t find anything wrong with this, providing there is mutual consent. It is an age-old custom for wealthy older men to enter into a relationship with a younger man (or woman). But don’t delude yourself. This is a financial arrangement of the concubine sort, NOT a love affair. The only weapons that a poor male or female has to escape grinding poverty is their youth and beauty. Personally, I prefer prostitutes – they are cheaper, you get what you pay for without illusion and there is none of the jealousy, infidelity and obsession that comes with being a sugar daddy. But that’s strictly my own personal preference. Each to his own when it comes to affairs of the heart.

The second category is a pure, unadulterated SCAM. The older man gets a message from a faraway young man on the dating site. He may be a freelancer but in all probability the young man DOES NOT EXIST. He is a character created by a small gang of criminals who take turns writing you emails in atrocious English. The photos on his profile or that he sends to you are lifted from the Internet, modeling catalogues, porno magazines or local neighborhood hotties who are paid a pittance to pose for photos by the scammers.

The most notorious gay romance scams come from Ghana, which is particularly loathsome since homosexuality is illegal in that country. If a target is foolhardy enough to fly to Ghana to meet his cyber-lover, he will find himself robbed and beaten to a pulp. The target will not even be able to report the crime to the police, because the very fact that he is gay makes him a criminal in the eyes of the law.

Many of the ‘gay’ scammers are not even gay! They just specialize in defrauding homosexuals. Most of them know nothing about gay dynamics. A dead give-a-way is when they use the same language and terms of endearment that a straight man would use in wooing a woman. Or their graphic sexual dialogue is particularly clumsy (i.e. “Me like to suck.”) The scammers are often arrogant in their ignorance and have a homophobic contempt for gay men. They are too lazy to adopt a convincing gay persona and just stick to the heterosexual script.

Many scammers come from countries (i.e. Ukraine, Ghana, Nigeria) where many gays are still in the closet. Even though we are living in the 21st Century they have the mindset of the 1950s. That is why they will sometimes try to ludicrously blackmail an openly gay man in the West.

Here are some warning signs of which I don’t need to go into much detail because they are the same signs for straight romance scams and you will find a plethora of them on this website as well as others.

Not all romance scammers are clever. Some are downright stupid and transparent. If the photos they send you are of different lads but claiming to be the same person you’ve got them nailed. Also if the photo on the profile is of some lad at the height of physical attraction but the photos they send you are the same lad 5 years older, beware.

Here’s a distinction between the two categories I previously mentioned. If you’re horny and foolhardy enough to want to fly the lad to your hometown, see if he’ll accept a pre-paid ticket that is not transferable and non-refundable except to the purchaser. If he claims he can save you loads of money by buying the ticket himself and INSISTS you send him or a ‘relative’ cash via Western Union or MoneyGram you are dealing with a scammer NOT a rescue boy.

Read those emails carefully looking for inconsistencies and contradictory stories. Do the “signatures” (tone, content, English fluency) differ from email to email? If a gang is scamming you they will take turns writing you. The most clever of the gang might write an email that is personal and well-thought out. A dummy in the group will send an email that is rushed, has a business-like tone and just focuses on answering questions from your previous email attempting to dampen your suspicions. In fact, if your email correspondence degenerates into an exchange of Q&As and there is no more ‘conversation,’ you are most likely dealing with a scammer. A genuine person will take time to respond to your thoughts. A scammer is sending emails to dozens of targets a day and doesn’t have time to respond to anything complex or thought-provoking.

Research the posts on this website, they are full of knowledgable advice and red flags. Learn about IP addresses – they are often dead give-a-ways that the person is lying about where he lives.

Use your head instead of your libido. As soon as you realize you’re being scammed jump off the ride on fantasyland. But DO NOT be accusatory, outraged or let the scammer know you’ve twigged on to their scam. These people are professional criminals and can be malicious if you piss them off. An “I caught you” email can result in them sending a virus to crash your hard drive. It happened to me once when I baited a 419 Nigerian scam artist. Extricate yourself like a gentleman so there is no cause for anger on their part. They have no guilt and couldn’t give a damn about breaking your heart. It’s just business to them. They may be scammers but that’s their job. All that’s important is that you learn your lesson and cease communication before any real harm is done.

Finally, remember the old cliché: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Last edited by Provocateur on Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#59626 by Dee1979 Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:55 pm
Hello Provocateur

You hit the nail right on the head! Everybody in the GLBT community should be aware of this! Now the age difference that was between me and George was not too bad (I'm 32 and he's 24, so he says) but it still followed the same scenario. Thanks for this info-I'm glad that somebody is finally telling what the net doesn't tell for us in the GLBT community!
#59703 by Chris Fuller Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:22 am
Thank you Provocateur for your thoughts about gay romance scams. The situation is a bit larger than you suspect, however. The scammers themselves are from many different countries, and will use any dating site, including pay sites. Also, they will target anyone, of any age; often they don't even bother to read the profiles they are responding to, but just send their introductory message to as many members that they have time to contact that day.

They, like all scammers, are adaptable, and will offer friendship only, love/marriage, intimate photo exchanges, or cybersex, according to what their target will prefer.

Also, they may use their own photographs, and appear on webcam for you - including performing sexually for you, if they think you will like this.

However, there is no evidence that any of these scammers are actually gay. Many of them not only come from countries where homosexuality is illegal, but are also, in reality, very religious people, despite the fact that they can somehow justify theft within their theology. Most scammers who are targeting gay men also target straight women, as well as running other types of scams. Scammers will try any type of scam which they believe might 'work' and convince people to send them money. They are not fussy about what type of scam it is, or what person or personality they need to pretend to be.

Although there are connections between scammers and some scammers co-operate in a scam, most gay romance scams are handled by just one scammer. The scammers are often very well educated, and, if they think that it is worth their time and effort (ie you will send them lots of money), they may write long and intelligent emails.

They may also write to you for many months before ever mentioning a need for money.

Some scammers are easier than others to recognise, but the bottom line is: NEVER send money to someone who you have never met in person, however tragic the story is which they are telling you. Take special care, if you are gay, to avoid being tricked by a story about persecution or oppression; scammers have been known to pretend that they need financial help to avoid prison or beatings for being gay - just because they think this story will 'work' better than telling you that their mother is sick or that their business has burnt down.

There are many scammers pretending to be gay, and registering fake profiles on websites, but we don't have many examples posted here at the moment. We do have these ones:

Kamdi Brown - the topic begins with the scammer's emails to straight women, and ends with his emails to gay men

Collins Kellogg - topic focuses on his emails to gay men, though he has also targeted straight women

Michel Guy - targeting gay men

Carl Sanderson - targeting gay men

Curtis Ward - targeting gay men

If anybody receives scams from gay dating site contacts, and would like to add them here (in their own separate new topic, to make them easier for others to find), then that would be very helpful to all other targets of these scams, victims, and potential victims.

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