February 14 celebrates the joy and wonder of having a romantic relationship. However, many grow desperate as they fail to find someone to hold during the chilly Month of Hearts. As a result, they may frantically take their chances on social media and dating apps. Unfortunately, scammers are ready and willing to take your heart and wallet away.
Most are unaware that more Filipinos are falling for love scams. That is why the government reminds the public to follow both their hearts and minds as they look for a soulmate. Fortunately, it provided a guide on love scams that I will discuss later.
Then, I will explain why falling in love can be so addictive. Believe it or not, there’s a scientific reason why you feel “delulu” (delusional) for your partner!
What are the most common love scams?
- Sad Boi, Sad Gurl: The scammer talks about his sad life story and appeals to pity to borrow money from victims.
- The Seducer: The scammer has a very attractive profile and asks the victim for private information. The scammer initiates talks in a sexual tone and asks for nude photos which will be eventually used to blackmail the victim.
- The Investor: The scammer usually uses a profile of an attractive foreigner and shares mega lifestyle photos. The scammer responds like a robot and charms victims to invest in foreign exchange.
- The Servicemen: The scammer pretends to be a middle-aged military assigned in Asia or the Middle East. He pretends to be looking for a lifelong partner targeting middle-aged women. When the victim starts to fall for him, the scammer would ask for monetary assistance.
- The Escort: The scammer usually uses an attractive profile picture and engages in open-minded talks. The scammer sends nude pictures and asks for money before the meet-up.
- The Blackmailer: This scammer tries to win a victim’s trust and professes his deep love. The scammer eventually asks for nude pictures and later threatens the victim that he will distribute photos online if the victim refuses to pay.
- The Slow Burn: This type of scammer plays the long game and engages in seemingly harmless conversations. He takes time to build trust and expresses genuine interest in the victim. Despite the seemingly genuine love, the scammer refuses to meet up with the victim and eventually asks for money.
- The Predator: This type of scammer is usually a mature man who preys on young women. The predator sends money and in exchange asks for nude photos from his victims.
Are love scams increasing in the Philippines?
The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) and Scam Watch Pilipinas have warned the public of increasing love scam victims as Valentine’s Day looms.
CICC Executive Director Alexander K. Ramos said, “We should listen to hearts, but we should also use our brains when we fall in love because of love scams.”
He launched UnmatchPH as a campaign against love scams. It is a collaboration with Gogolook, Converge, BPI Bank, and Gotyme Bank.
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“We have love scams throughout the year, and scammers usually victimize women and members of the LGBTQ community,” he added. Also, Scam Watch lead convenor Jocel De Guzman identified eight profiles commonly used by love scammers above.
Why do we fall in love so easily?
Love scams work because people have a unique response to love. University of South Australia (UniSA) researchers and other experts studied this phenomenon, and I discussed their findings in this article.
They surveyed 1,556 young adults who said they were “in love.” The questions focused on their emotional reaction to their partners, their behavior around them, and how they focus on their loved ones.
As mentioned, our brains turn our partners into the centers of our lives. Also, Australian National University lead researcher Adam Bode elaborated on the processes that cause romantic love.
“We actually know very little about the evolution of romantic love,” Bode says. “As a result, every finding that tells us about romantic love’s evolution is an important piece of the puzzle that’s just been started.”
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“It is thought that romantic love first emerged some five million years ago after we split from our ancestors, the great apes. We know the ancient Greeks philosophized about it a lot, recognizing it both as an amazing as well as traumatic experience. The oldest poem ever to be recovered was, in fact, a love poem dated to around 2000 BC.”
UniSA Adjunct Associate Professor Dr. Phil Kavanagh says the study shows romantic love affects behavior and emotion. “We know the role that oxytocin plays in romantic love because we get waves of it circulating throughout our nervous system and bloodstream when we interact with loved ones,” Dr. Kavanagh states.
“The way that loved ones take on special importance, however, is due to oxytocin combining with dopamine, a chemical that our brain releases during romantic love. Essentially, love activates pathways in the brain associated with positive feelings,” he added.