Was he or wasn’t he in on the hoax? That’s the question sports writers and anyone else who follows college ball and the Fighting Irish in particular are asking as news of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’os faux girlfriend makes headlines.
Quick back story if you haven’t been in the loop: Notre Dame said Te’o was allegedly duped into an online relationship with a woman whose ”death” from leukemia was faked by perpetrators of an elaborate hoax. The goal of the scam isn’t clear, though Notre Dame said it used an investigative firm to dig into the details after Te’o disclosed them three weeks ago.
I’m not here to pass judgment on Te’o but rather to emphasize that he is not the first to be duped by online paramours, if that is what indeed happened. In fact, in 2011, BBB listed online dating scams as one of the top 10 scams for the year.
In one of the most common online dating hoaxes, impostors pretend to be lonely service members in a remote part of Iraq or Afghanistan who, after a while, ask that money be wired to a third party for some emergency.
How can you recognize if your potential love interest is a scam artist? You’ll know if he/she:
- Wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or IM.
- Claims love in a heartbeat.
- Claims to be from the U.S., but is traveling or working overseas.
- Plans to visit, but is prevented by a traumatic event, poor health or a business deal gone sour.
Never wire money to online sweethearts who claim they need help paying for:
- Medical emergencies
- Hotel bills
- Hospital bills for a child or other relative
- Visas or other official documents
- Losses from a temporary financial setback