Online dating scams have existed virtually since online dating began. Scam artists and online criminals prey upon people hoping to find a partner and build meaningful, long-term relationships. Oftentimes, these scammers create several false identities based on information they find from Facebook or other social media networks. Then they join dating websites to cultivate relationships with multiple people at the same time. Scammers often ask for favors such as information or money.
These perpetrators can be located anywhere in the world, even in your very own city. When you look online for love, make sure to stay safe. The risk for serious and real world crime is growing. Take these precautions so you don’t become a victim of an online dating scam:
Use paid dating sites.
While no site is immune from fraud, less scammers are on the paid dating sites because all members must pay to register and have a profile – supposedly. When a person registers and pay, their credit card information must be on file. Paid dating sites can help you find true love online instead of falling victim to another romance scam. But just remember, scammers are everywhere. There is still significant risk on any dating website, but there is somewhat less on paid sites.
Make sure all of your social network profiles are set to private. It’s important that only the people you are friends with can access your profiles and see your personal information. This reduces the risk of someone using your pictures and learning other personal facts about you. Be sensible in what personal information you share on your dating profile. Keep in mind that scammers can apply for a credit card – and get approved—with as little as your name, Social Security number, birth date and address. Don’t make it easy for them. Do you think it would be a good idea for a serious criminal with a history of rape and homicide, in the country illegally to have your full name, photos and address? That’s what can and does happen when you share all your information online for the world to see.
Trust your gut.
If you have met your perfect match, that’s great. However, prior to proclaiming that cupid’s arrow has hit you and you’ve met Mr. Right, remember that 54 percent of online daters found someone who seriously misrepresented themselves. Unfortunately, lots of people on dating sites use stolen photographs – and scammers are known for that. Scam artists have lots of dirty tricks up their sleeves. Some scammers have even posed as soldiers who claim to be stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan. These scammers may send over photographs taken from social media profiles of real soldiers — and claim that the person in the photograph is them.
Don’t let scam artists win. If someone you met online tells you they need money for a sudden emergency or to come visit you, be wary. Never wire money to anyone that you have only met online. Even if you’ve met someone in person and hardly know him, still don’t send cash.
Talk to an Investigator.
It’s smart to speak to a reputable private investigator about a dating background check on anyone you meet on an online dating site. Dating background checks can help you avoid becoming a victim to a fraud or dating scam. You can also use search engines like DuckDuckGo to check out email addresses or the dialogue the perpetrator has sent you. Scam artists frequently use the same exchange with every person they attempt to scam. Stay skeptical and look out for red flags. But, be aware that even the most skeptical can be a victim, and it requires a trained investigator to verify a person you’ve met on the internet, to determine whether or not the subject is who he or she claims to be.
Know the signs.
There are some telltale signs you are dealing with a scammer. These include, but are not limited to, vague communication, written conversation is difficult to understand and may be repeated frequently, and sad stories and hardships are shared early on and change into a situation where money is desperately needed. Don’t rush, and remember to verify, and then decide.
Long distance relationships are more vulnerable – most scammers tend to target victims outside of their area to avoid being caught. Seek relationships in your local area to reduce your odds of being scammed. Think on your toes and remember that online dating is a great way to meet people if you do it in a way that protects yourself. If the subject is overseas, contact an investigator.
© 2016 Wymoo International
© Copyright 2016 Wymoo International. All Rights Reserved. This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States of America and international copyright laws. Wymoo® is a registered trademark.