How to Avoid Online Dating Scams

It happens every day…

Scammers and crooks create fake online dating profiles using fake photos, which are mostly stolen from real people on dating sites. This is very common on social media as well. They will go to great lengths to gain your trust. They may even take weeks or months to do this, all while building a fake relationship intended to make you feel like you have met the love of your life. The scammers wear their “heart on their sleeve” and say all the right things. They confess their love quickly and tug at your heart strings with their emotional stories, and heartbreaking struggles. You fall hard for this, as most compassionate people looking for true, unconditional love do.

Then, BOOM! They need money.

Emergencies, sick kids, travel issues…all leading to a big endless scam to run away with your heart and your bank account. BE SMART. Use your head. Think clearly and make good choices. Everything in life worth having is hard to obtain, nothing good or meaningful generally comes so easy. This concept includes love and positive relationships.

Warning signs:

  • They immediately want to have your personal contact information to chat offline with you via email, text, or phone.
  • They ask you to wire money using Western Union or Money Gram.
  • They ask you to set up a new bank account.
  • They have bizarre and complicated stories of why they cannot meet you in person. Generally, but not limited to: being stuck out of the country, a sick child, they were robbed on vacation, they lost their ID and all their money while doing charity work in another country, they are sick, they are desperate and have no one else to turn to.

What to do if you suspect a scammer:

  • Report the individual immediately to the dating site.
  • Run a background check
  • Tell a trusted friend or family member what is going on and get their opinion. Now, normally I would say they are not in this relationship and this is a path you take alone. HOWEVER, when it comes to this type of scenario where scamming can be involved – it is dangerous and an emotional head fu*k – you need a second opinion.
  • GOOGLE them. Google it all. Google their email, their username, their story. Chances are you are not the first, or the last, and a little online searching can go a very long way.
  • Do an image search of your new love interest. Chances are if their photo shows up with several different names, you have a red flag.

Please report all online dating scams to ftc.gov/complaint— click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams. Together we can help these dirt bags get what they deserve.

 

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