Internet Dating Scams Becoming Common; How to Avoid Online Dating Scams

Internet Dating Scams Becoming Common; How to Avoid Online Dating Scams

Posted 09.14.2009 in Articles by Amanda

Internet Dating Scams Becoming Common;How to Avoid Online Dating Scams

As more and more adults of all ages are joining online dating services, internet dating scams of various kinds are becoming commonplace on online dating sites. When people join dating sites they are usually in a vulnerable situation - they are hoping to find a loving partner. This puts some of the "seekers" in a place where they can easily fall prey to a scam. Some scams are less serious than others, but they are all a betrayal to those who are being taken advantage of.

Internet scams run the gamut from misrepresentation to attempts to defraud someone out of their money. People who portray themselves as someone they aren't, are actually scammers. It's easier to "pull this one off" on the Internet than it is in real life because the computer acts as a smokescreen. Another cruel tactic to find a lover is when a married person appears to be single and sincerely looking for a partner. A report from MSNBC states that one third of men on online dating sites are married.

As might be expected, a more annoying and serious kind of internet dating scams are the ones where the person is not looking for a date at all, rather the whole thing is a marketing email scam. The scammers are brazen enough to ask for your email address right off the bat. One of the most serious scams is dubbed the "online dating shakedown." In this scheme a woman or a man posing as a woman sets up a profile and photos on a dating site. Claiming to be stranded in a foreign country, they cleverly try to set up a relationship with someone on the site and then ask for money by wire to help get them back home.

Following is a more detailed account of how these four types of online dating scams work.

1.Pretending to be Someone Other than Who You Are.

There are those who are so lacking in confidence that they will be deceptive enough to post a photo from earlier times when they looked much better, or even posting a photo of someone else. In their profile they may provide information that makes them look like a much better catch than they really are. They may come on strong, hoping that when you meet offline that they will be liked and forgiven for being deceptive.

If there is suspicion that deception is going on, there are things that can be done to discover the truth. When things just don't seem right, ask pointed questions of the person about himself. Listen to your heart-people often know intuitively when they should proceed with caution. If the relationship gets as far as a first date, meet in a public place, watch your personal possessions, decline if he asks you to go back to his place or offers a ride home. It's wise to not drink too much and to have several public dates. Remember to tell someone where you are going and when you'll be back. Never give out any personal information until you are quite comfortable with a new partner.

When seeking a partner, be especially careful when it is a long-distance relationship. Stay in a hotel when going away from home to meet someone. Even if someone offers to pick you up at the airport, decline. Don't share the name of the hotel where you are staying with the person you are meeting, and keep friends at home aware of what's going on.

2.Connecting with a Married Person

A married person who has registered with an online dating service will often pull some predictable maneuvers to protect himself from being discovered in his search for an affair. He might post a photo that is dark and fuzzy. He may ask for your phone number but won't give you his. The timing of his phone calls may be limited and unpredictable. As you get to know your new date, red flags should go up if he doesn't divulge his last name, doesn't introduce you to his friends or family, and is hesitant to talk about himself or his personal life. These situations can be hurtful and a real breach of trust. It's best to end these relationships sooner rather than later.

3.Email Dating Scam

"Internet dating matches that look like good possible connections may end up to be email spam scams. These can be very irritating. An individual, who is new on the dating site, begins connecting with possible partners. He is asked for his email address so they can write messages while not onsite. Very soon, his inbox is stuffed full of spam. The simple solution to this problem is not to give out your email address at all until you have met the person several times. Even then, set up a separate email address that can be canceled if excess spam comes your way.

4.The Fraud Scam-Online Dating Shakedown

Some online dating scams are very serious and unbelievably common scams. Here's the basic scenario. A person, usually from a foreign country like Nigeria, England or France, registers with an online dating site. They display nice appealing pictures of themselves. Their message is a tale of sadness or tragic happenings. They appeal to their victims to send money so they can return home to the U.S. At the same time they are trying to establish a relationship with someone online. Usually a wire transfer is requested. Be aware- never wire money because there is no protection against loss. In addition, never share any personal information like SSN, address, phone number and so on.

Here are some very important red flags to avoid falling prey to online dating scams.

1.Ask for money to be sent to them.

2.Says he is from the U.S., but is traveling abroad and may tell a tragic story.

3.Writes in broken English or has poor grammar.

4.Writes or talks in a manner that seem unstable.

5.Asks for an email address right away.

6.Asks for your address or home phone.

7.Leaves the dating site and comes back with different name and information.

Using an online dating service can be safe and a way to meet a loving partner. To stay safe and avoid internet dating scams, it's wise to sign up with only paying sites that have a good reputation and have a place onsite where one can report abuse. If an individual happens to get caught up in a fraud scam and loses some money, assistance can be found at the Fraud Aid site. This site advocates for scam victims. It's important to report fraud experiences as thefts. Reporting scams, including online dating scams, without fear of ridicule brings awareness and hopefully will put scammers out of business.

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