Common Online Dating Scams

Cheerful Woman Working with LaptopAlthough online dating can be fun and lead to a love connection, you also need to be aware of common online dating scams. If you are looking to date and fall in love, using an online dating site can be a good route to take, especially if you have a busy life and find it hard to go out and meet people.

Online dating sites, however, make it more difficult to know exactly who the people are that you are communicating with. Although you want to be able to trust everything they say, online dating requires you to be a bit more careful.

Although many online daters are trustworthy and safe, there are some scams for which you should look out. Some are more harmless, while others are major and can cause you a lot of financial hardship if you are not careful.

Not Completely Truthful about Themselves

When setting up an online profile, many people will fudge a bit about who they are. Women often lie about their weight, while it is common for men to lie about their height and career details, such as how much money they make. Some will show a picture of themselves from years ago, while others may use a picture of someone better-looking as a profile picture.

Although these lies are intended to impress the other dating applicants, it can be perceived as a scam. The key to dealing with this type of scam is to not expect everything that is said in a profile to be true.

When you meet someone for the first time, drive to the date separately. Number one, it is much safer in general. Number two, it is best for your date not to know where you live until you get to know and trust each other. Finally, if your date does look completely different than in their pictures or you find out they were lying about other things, you are free to leave easily.

They Are Married

Some people on online dating sites lie about their marital status. Although it may be difficult to tell if he or she is married, there are some warning signs that may signal a red flag.

Look at the pictures that they posted, if they posted any at all. If the person is hard to see, such as with a dark or blurry picture, or if there are many people in the picture, it may be a mechanism to protect them from being seen by someone else.

If they ask for your information, such as your phone number, but don’t give theirs in return, that is a red flag. They don’t want to risk a husband or wife picking up your call. The time that they call you is another indication of marital status, as irregular calls or calls at the same time every day can be a warning.

Once you start dating this person, if they do not tell you their last name, this is worrisome. Also, if they don’t introduce you to family or friends after a certain period of time, more than likely they are trying to hide your relationship for some reason.

Email Spam

Unfortunately, some people join online dating sites not to date but to collect email addresses. These addresses are then used to spend spam mail.

If you are asked right away for your email, be wary. Some online dating sites encourage you to use their methods of communication available on the site for a certain period of time before using private email. One reason is for their financial gain, but the other reason is for your safety and protection.

To prevent your personal email from getting attacked by spam, set up a separate email that does not use your real name, so that you can remain anonymous. That way, if you do get spam mail, you can cancel it easily and it won’t affect your other email address.

You Are Asked to Send Money

The most harmful scam dealing with online dating has to do with money. Someone will pretend to get to know you and act like they really like you. At some point, however, you will be asked to send money.

The reasons for the money request can vary. It may be to help pay for them to come visit you, to help them in an emergency situation, to bail them out of a wrongful arrest, or to help a family member in need.

Although it would seem obvious that this is a scam, love can be blind. If someone has fallen for the so-called love on the other end of the line, they may believe them and send them the money. The bottom line is that you should never send money to someone you have never met and haven’t built trust in. You will more than likely never hear from this person again, and your wallet will be a lot lighter–not to mention that you might get a broken heart.

While dating online, enjoy the process but also keep your eyes open for questionable things. If you suspect a scam, more than likely it is one. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Sources:
http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0004-online-dating-scams
http://fakechecks.org/preventionLoveLosses.html
http://www.consumerscams.org/online_dating/common_online_dating_scams