They’ll hit you with the full force of their charm; they’ll say sweet things, compliment you a lot, and talk about how perfect you are for each other within the first couple weeks.
Think about if you would find it strange for someone to be acting like this if you just met in real life.
In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.
He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.
Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.
Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.
While the British scammer mentioned in the introduction to this article met his victims in person, most scammers will avoid face-to-face meetings at all costs.
Even if they say they live near you, they’ll say they’re out of town and won’t be able to meet. However, repeated excuses at the last minute are a definite warning sign.
Online dating can be difficult for women The AARP also says that seniors are a common target of these scams.Of course, just because someone is younger doesn’t mean that they’re a scammer; it’s just something to keep in mind.Scammers also often list themselves as widowed (especially with a child), self-employed, or working overseas.The most common reasons that they give for needing money are not being able to afford a passport, visa, other travel documents, or plane tickets (often to come see you); an emergency stay in the hospital that requires a huge sum of money; getting robbed while traveling; or not being able to access their money from abroad.There’s a huge variety of reasons that you could get.These methods give them better access to you and can help them gather additional information that they can use to con you.Don’t fall for it: there’s nothing wrong with staying in touch via the dating site.If someone sends you a message and says they’d like to get to know you, save a copy of their picture and use Google’s reverse image search to see if anyone has posted about that photo being used for a scam.If that image shows up on other profiles with different names, you should be suspicious. If you receive other photos, and anything seems off, be wary.Scammers are good at being charming and saying all the right things—and they start it fast.They have a lot of victims to get through, so they’re going to try to move things along as quickly as possible.