In addition to losing your money to someone who had no intention of ever visiting you, you may also have unknowingly taken part in a money laundering scheme by cashing phony checks and sending the money overseas and by shipping stolen merchandise (the forwarded package).
In another recently reported dating extortion scam, victims usually met someone on an online dating site and then were asked to move the conversation to a particular social networking site, where the talk often turned intimate.
Research has shown that when we chat online, even briefly, these normally hidden traits become more cognitively accessible to us and we actually do succeed in expressing them to others (Bargh et al., 2002).
When I have my own undergraduate students read about the “true self” research, many are shocked by the results, having believed that the Internet was rife with dishonesty.
Despite that, most online lies, like most offline lies, are subtle, representing people’s attempts to portray themselves in the best possible light, with slight exaggerations (Zimbler & Feldman, 2011).
In one study asking undergraduates to communicate with a stranger in a lab for 15 minutes, it was found that the students were more likely to misrepresent themselves online than face-to-face (Zimbler & Feldman, 2011).
The idea that people could be, in some ways, genuine online than off strikes them as counterintuitive.
But the research suggests that when you’re chatting with someone online—in a Facebook private message or via the instant messaging function on a dating website—you and the other person may actually be especially authentic in how you present your personality. In general, people are likely to be pretty honest online; most online deception does involve the creation of false identities.
When we might be especially honest Surprisingly, people can sometimes be more authentic online than offline in the way they express their personality.
In an earlier post, I discussed how people involved in online relationships can develop intense bonds due to the unique ability for the anonymity and control provided by online interactions to enable expression of the “true self”: traits that a person possesses, but does not normally feel comfortable expressing to others.
The second issue—what individuals are most likely to lie about—can be divided into several categories, including physical appearance, education, relationship or job status, and issues related to personality traits and interests.
These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you.