Marriage Green Card Scams
As a Las Vegas green card lawyer, I know from experience that the issues of green card scams and dating site fraud are of serious concern to US citizens and foreign nationals. The issue may arise in the context of a marriage green card or k1 visa matter. Today online dating is growing in popularity. Many people date women and men online with great success. But dating site fraud is often a concern in meeting persons online especially when those persons are foreign nationals.
Many lonely hearts have been targeted by foreign nationals, fraudulently professing love and romantic interest. These romance scams involve:
- A green card (a fast way to the United States) – the foreigner will pretend to be in love with the US citizen but will abandon the US citizen after he has received a green card or make himself so awful that the US citizen will leave him after the green card.
- Money – the foreign national appears as if he or she desires a life with the US citizen but the US citizen must pay usually by wiring money overseas.
Because the internet allows people to correspond anonymously U.S. citizens cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of men or women with whom they correspond online.
The cost of romance scams
The cost of romance scams can run into tens of thousands of dollars and include:
1 . Remittance money
2. Travel expenses – to meet the scammer and for the scammer to come to the United States.
3. Immigration filing fees and attorney’s fee
5. Support for the scammer while in the United States – food, clothing, shelter, travel, gifts etc..
You will also be responsible to pay back any money that the scammer received from certain public assistance, even after the scammer has left you. Romance scams could also result in long term damage to your credit rating as some victims have taken out lines of credit or refinanced their homes to help the scammer. More than losing all your money, the biggest loss of all could be the loss of self-esteem that results from being a victim of a romance scam.
How to Spot Dating Site Fraud – Nine (9) things to look for!
- Quick expressions of love – The person quickly expresses love and a desire to get sexual – watch out for the eye-popping video webcam show!
- The person quickly tries to move the relationship from a monitored site to a personal email account.
- Requests for money – even though you have never met face to face
- Restrictions about when and how you can contact them
- Replies that are short or long and vague. Poor grammar and wrongly spelled words.
- More requests for money – This cannot be emphasized enough. The person’s luck is incredibly bad – he or she is in a car crash, or arrested, or mugged, or beaten, or hospitalized. Close family members are dead or unable to assist. The request may involve a wish for internet service at home to speak with you more privately or to pay a phone bill so she can continue calling you. They may also involve stories about him being robbed while on a trip to a foreign country or extortion by corrupt officials for him to get traveling documents.
- Expensive tastes – seeking the glamorous life.
- Profile pictures – The photo appears to have been taken at a professional modeling agency or photographic studio.
- You have sent money for visas or plane tickets, but the foreign national can’t seem to make it to his destinations, citing detention by immigration officials, or other unexpected reasons that prevents him from traveling.
How to avoid becoming a victim of romance scams and dating site fraud
- Educate yourself about dating site fraud
- Use dating sites that are registered U.S, businesses with real customer reviews
- Try to have an in-depth conversation with the person
- Do not send money for ANY reason to someone you meet online and have not got to know well and in person.
- Report suspected dating site fraud immediately to the site administrators and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Verify if the person’s visa is authentic – ask to see a picture of the visa. The State Department Fraud Prevention Unit can verify the authenticity of any U.S. visa via e-mail at FPMM@state.gov.
- End all communication.
Online dating is not just for lonely hearts
In the age of social networking online dating is very popular and no longer has the social taboo it once did. A growing number of Americans have used the internet to find great matches in the United States or overseas. With proper precautions against dating site fraud and an open heart online dating is a great way to meet trusted and compatible singles, start interesting conversations and find romance. However trusts your instincts and seek legal advice before marrying abroad or filing a fiance visa petition for anyone who is not a US citizen.
Government Resources for more information
Love Fraud and How to Avoid it by Donna Anderson Author of Lovefraud.com