How not to become a victim of online dating scams
Online dating has become so effective and popular that almost every second person who uses laptop tried to meet new people on the Web with romantic purpose. And of course, same as in every popular niche, dating websites couldn’t avoid crimes. Single people who strive to find love online can become victims of a criminal who pretends to be a beautiful person. Therefore, before starting your romantic search on the Internet, prepare well, otherwise you risk losing your money and having your heart broken.
What is online dating scam?
This is a kind of Internet fraud, which prevails on websites for dating online. The criminals usually use fake profiles with not valid information and another people’s photos. Still, scam profiles can belong to a real person; the only common feature for dating scammers is a mercenary goal; as a rule, it is reached by deception making victims deliberately send money to the swindlers.
Who usually become victims of online dating scams?
Most often, older than forty divorced or single women suffer from this type of fraud. Still, every user of a romantic platform can face dating criminals.
Middle-aged people are more inclined to send money to romantic swindler than older or younger. However, it is a statistical fact, and there may be no connection between age and credulity. Middle-aged users of dating websites usually have reached some career success, while older are retired, and younger may be still at the beginning of the career path, thus not having large sums of money at their disposal.
People without higher education risk facing online dating fraud more than well-educated. Users who are knowledgeable about cybersecurity issues almost never become victims of scammers on dating websites.
Impulsivity is a character feature that put you in danger. In most cases, swindlers get money due to the sense of urgency. Impulsive people take the first decision which seems to be right and send money to a “friend” who says he or she is in trouble instead of being skeptical. If you are an energetic, impatient person, who doesn’t like to wait and weight all the pros and cons for a long time, be extremely cautious using dating sites.
Romantic, superficial, and naïve people also risk becoming a victim of online fraud.
How does a typical scam profile look?
Typically, scammers who focus on the male part of the users of dating sites create profiles of attractive smiling 20-30 years old girl with long brown hair; she is a student or has a degree. The fake woman is a Christian and has never been married. On the pictures, she wears revealing clothes.
How to detect a dating scam
Everybody can meet a scammer who is a perfect psychologist; he or she knows how to behave not to cause any suspicions and make you trust; but in fact, there are quite a few of such professional frauds; typical scams make many mistakes which can expose them.
1. Perfect person
Fake photos usually are pretty or even extremely appealing, and a fraud appears to be unlikely successful and kind. If you see a hot well-educated twenty years old girl with amazing body who tells that she provides for herself, something can be wrong with her. You should be concerned if she is very emotional and makes a declaration of love to you from the beginning of the communication.
2. Inconsistencies in what she tells
Pay attention to everything your interlocutor says; people who lie often forget what exactly has been said and become confused in previously provided facts.
Check the information on her profile with the facts in your private correspondence; as well, the website’s user may claim to be an English native speaker, but the mistakes in writing point that it’s not true. Consider weird sentences constructions and phrases that are not used by people who speak English every day.
If the girl calls you by a different name, doesn’t remember what you told her in previous online-conversations, or confuses the information about you, be on guard.
3. Unwillingness to have a webcam chat
Actually, one of the best ways to make sure that you deal with a real person is to meet in person. It may be not possible for some time if you live in different countries, but a webcam conversation is affordable for everyone who has the Internet connection. If you hear different excuses, e.g., her webcam is currently broken, or she is too shy to show you her face, you better stop communicating with this person.
Still, the fact she shows you her face online doesn’t necessarily prove her good intentions. If her behavior, accent, or the information you hear contradict to the correspondence, then maybe, something is wrong here?
4. Private questions
You shouldn’t give the accurate address of your home or share some secret information with your online date. It’s also typical when swindlers ask you about your earnings and want to learn details about your property or sources of income. The pretext to know this may be very different, and if you afraid that refuse to answer can make you look a low-income and not eligible partner, remember that you have registered on the site to find real love, not to become a money bag.
Some websites request information about your income when you are filling out the questionnaire, but it is not displayed on your profile, or you can optionally choose whether to show it or not. Such a question is typical for the platforms where users automatically gain a list of the best matches (e.g., Elite Singles or eHarmony), so there is no need to get worried.
5. Financial emergency
This is an obvious indicator that you are dealing with a scam because your money has been the initial purpose of communicating with you. No matter how plausible the request sounds, do not ever send your money to people you’ve met online.
Usually, victims hear about some financial problems when they already trust their interlocutors. It may happen in different ways, but as a rule, scammers manipulate the feeling of compassion or victims’ desire to meet. You may be told about health problems or a sick relative. In another case, you can have a meeting arranged, but at the last moment, it will turn out that the girl has an emergency, and she needs your financial aid.
Don’t consider all foreign beauties dangerous; actually, women on the other side of the world also suffer from fraud. Criminals use ladies’ desire to be needed or exploit her commitment to supporting her beloved man; scammers take money as long as a woman is willing to give, and after, leave her alone with no explanations.
Still, you should bear in mind that some scams are not possible to expose. Their behavior may be not suspicious at all, and they can look quite realistic. Don’t think you are completely safe until somebody asks you to send money; criminals may learn private information about you and then blackmail you, so be careful with what you say or write online. As well, never download files from people you don’t trust; otherwise, you risk getting malware which can track what you do on your device, provide criminals with all the information you store on the computer, and even find out your passwords. If it is possible, get a reliable antivirus program.
What to do if you think you’ve met dating scams?
The simplest thing you can do is to upload the photos from the suspect profile to Google search and see where else it was published. Don’t be amazed if there is a profile in Facebook with same pictures but another name; apparently, the photos were stolen by the scam. If you didn’t find any coincidence, don’t start believing with no hesitations; if the fraud cares not to be disclosed, you will not find anything suspicious.
If you assume that you have met a fraud, ask the possible swindler to tell more about her or him. Such facts as education and job usually leave some trails. In any case, if the interlocutor says he or she has or used to have a nice job, you should find the profile on LinkedIn; besides, everybody uses social networks, so a real person probably has an account.
You may ask an interlocutor to make a photo is a particular way and send it to you or do anything else that can prove you are talking to the person who is on the pictures.
Logically, you should go to the police after you figured you are dealing with a fraud. Still, the point is that scammers would not risk choosing victims from the same country where they live, that’s why law enforcement can do little to help.
Here are the services you can contact if you face online scam:
Some dating services have customer support; you should write or call it and inform about the scam.
If victims transfer their money, it is usually lost forever, and the only thing they can do is to stop trust a swindler if he or she asks for more. If a scammer possesses some information about your credit card or bank account, contact the bank and block it immediately.
Are paid dating sites fraudulent?
Not many romantic sites provide fake services for money; the reason is that such a fraudulent business cannot last for long. A lot of indignations would expose it soon, so creating a big network with thousands of fake profiles may appear to be unreasonable.
As a rule, chargeable dating sites are more quality than free; they do not just provide customers with the possibility to get acquainted and communicate but offer some additional services, such as translation, customer support, etc. Besides, when it comes to online dating scams, paid services are much more reliable; they have an anti-scam policy which allows detecting fraud and block the account. In addition, users can verify their profiles, thus proving they are real and communication with them is safe.
There are different paid dating websites around the Web; iBrider has selected only those, which have the best anti-scam policies and created rankings by popularity. Each site in our lists has detailed review so that you can understand the peculiarity of every one within several minutes without registering and pick up platforms that are the best for your taste and pocket.
Pay for every message. Reasonable charging or a rip-off?
Dating sites have different pricing policies; some tries to simplify it as much as possible, others have a separate price tag for each service.
Several popular romantic platforms charge for every message, thus confusing users because the worldwide Web gives people opportunity to chat without limits for free. However, you may notice the obvious advantages of being a member of such a service; you won’t get hundreds of useless messages from people who didn’t even bother to read the information on your profile. If users have to pay for every “Hi” message, they’ll probably try to write something important. In this way, communication between people is quality; customers try to reach only compatible people who can be their real matches. The messages become meaningful and informative, and of course, users who don’t have serious intentions prefer to stay away from such websites and join free dating platforms.
To sum up
Always be on guard when you meet people online. Pay attention to obvious signs that the profile or some information is fake, e.g., facts contradict each other, mistakes in writing despite high education level, etc. Don’t trust people who declare their love from the very beginning of communication.
Don’t EVER send money to somebody you’ve met online and never seen in person. Always stay cool-headed and don’t respond to manipulating your emotions. Keep in mind that all the information/photos/videos you provide can be used against you, so don’t share too much until you trust the person.
Remember that no one can protect you from online dating scamming better than you yourself. Be rational, and you won’t become a victim of scammers. Good luck finding true love!