How to Avoid Online Dating Scams

With over 1,500 sites devoted to dating, the Internet is ripe for romance — and rip-offs. How do you avoid opening your heart — and your wallet — to a prince (or princess) too charming to be true? Start by taking these precautions.

Don’t pursue a long-distance relationship with a stranger online. “Staying local drastically reduces your odds of being scammed, since most scammers target victims outside their areas to avoid being caught or prosecuted,” notes Canadian journalist Risha Gotlieb.

Never reveal personal data to someone until you meet face-to-face and develop a level of trust. While it’s tempting to share every detail of your life with a person you think you could be in love with, that’s exactly what the scammer is counting on.

Pay attention to language. Many of those who commit these crimes are from West Africa and the former Soviet republics. If their command of English is fuzzy, that’s a “big red flag,” writes Elizabeth Bernstein in the Wall Street Journal.

Use search engines to check out suitors. When Bernstein met someone online who seemed too good to be true, she cut and pasted one of his e-mails into Google. Lo and behold, the exact words popped up on several websites devoted to romance scams.

Upload a potential paramour’s photo on tineye.com. According to Bernstein, this will allow you to see where on the Internet the photo has appeared. Many con artists use a photo they’ve swiped from a Facebook page.

Stick to paid online dating sites. If members shell out money to register, that means credit cards are on file, Bernstein points out. But don’t assume these sites are free of predators. They just may have fewer of them.

Be suspicious if someone wants to immediately start communicating through IM and e-mail. They may want access to your computer in order to steal information.

Ditto someone who claims to be a soldier. There are an increasing number of scams in which con artists take photos of soldiers from social networking sites and then pretend to be trustworthy members of the military. They’ll ask potential dates for money to buy special papers they claim are needed to come home or talk to family. But Christopher Grey of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command told the Associated Press, “There is no such thing.”

Don’t open attachments from a stranger. If someone sends you a photo in an attachment and you open it, you may have unwittingly allowed a virus to infect your computer.

Don’t fall for a sob story. Jody Buell, a peer counselor with romancescams.org, says that many scammers claim to have lost a spouse, child, or parent in an accident or say they have a relative who is very ill. Another common ploy, says the FBI’s Tim Gallagher in the Wall Street Journal: Your suitor is at the airport on his way to visit you, but his credit card has been declined.

Dial up your date ASAP. According to Bernstein, someone who sounds plausible online may be an obvious fraud on the phone.

Check sites such as pigbusters.net and romancescams.org. If he has conned others, he may show up there.

Report any suspicious behavior or fraud to the Federal Trade Commission, says Grey.

Never, ever wire money to a stranger.

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12 thoughts on “How to Avoid Online Dating Scams

  1. One problem there are those agencies like UEADREAMS they will bring you the real deal and really make you believe that you have something solid , but the true of the matter is that all those blogs and reports you see are fake they paid some one to post then for then and , keep the revenue coming so guys like you and me , swallow hook and sinker ! and this is how they work, they the agency paid this girls 5 to 6 dollars per customer or video chat they have with you ! and you see then live and the types is feeding you lies , she smiles and knobs and she talks to the types , making you think she is talking to you , but she is not , now you can book a trip to this country and meet the girl yes you can, but still a scam why ! you don’t speak her language and they a sing a person to drive you around town for a $500. 00 dollars per day yes that much , and your special dinner is not include or the gift she wants for her ! now here is were it get funny ,you the guy has have a total communication with this girl, letters and video chats for nearly a year , and now you are ready to meet her live face to face ! and you take the trip but she treats you as dough she has never see you before in her life a total stranger why ! she talks to 5 to 10 guys per day or more a week , she gets paid to do that , she won’t remember you because she was never interested in you , that is why , she is doing her job and that as is far she would go for you or any one else , and some were in the middle of your trip you will ask her , weather she is willing to keep the relationship growing , she will tell you that her hart is not ready yet !! but you having talking to her for nearly a year !! and her hart suddenly is not ready ! she wrote you or should we said the types wrote to you all those romantic letters that you read all this time , how do i’ know this i’ was that one yes like you , some of you have being there , except i’ did my research and have my own personal arrangement’s to keep me in control but ,the out come was the same , a scam through the agency

  2. Another good one is to get their official identity check verification from matcheck. ca.

  3. Hello how are you hope you’re well? My name mercy, i saw your profile today and became very interested in you, i will like both of us to be friends i want you to send me a message through my email mercyjohnon@yahoo.com so that i can introduce myself better for you to know whom i am

  4. It breaks my heart that our brave military are being USED
    in these scams.

    I have encountered many scammers said to be military.
    I’ve tried to report them for the benefit of the military man only.
    I’m familiar enough with the military to know when being taken…I think

    For a while I stopped all together, then felt if there was ONE military man out there without anyone to write home to or talk to, I would feel really bad not to
    be there for him while helping keep the great USA safe.

  5. Nice tutor. Your way of presentation is really too good. I am totally impressed by your post. I am looking for your more updates. Keep them coming.

  6. Beware of this Malaysian guy posing as Handsome Pedro Bailey
    from Venice, Italy he is using number +600102869658, email: pedro_bailey1@yahoo.co.uk.. he claims he is an Oil Rig Engineer and will visit you but on the airport he will declare that his briefcase full of money was confiscated and will ask you to wire money.. don’t fet fooled.. he has a facebook account using that email.

  7. Be Careful of men who claim to be millionnaires….sorry to say but be care of men claiming to be engineers, architects, construction. I chatted with several of these men and found all to be dishonest. Be careful if they want your full name to start off with as well….they get real upset when you don’t give it to them and they are done.  Ladies, shop pretty local…most who contact you will be long distance and that is how they get away with alot that they do. Do an engine search or several….do a background check. If they give you a phone number check an reverse phone lookup…I had one tell me he was from Miami and the pone number was not from Miami at all. Be careful if they delete their profile after a few conversations….they won’t keep their information up for to long so you are unable to report them. I added several to my yahoo messanger and then logged in invisible to see how much they spend online…if alot, they are usually unemployed or scammers. I even checked in the middle of the night….most overseas scammers don’t have our hours.

  8. this is howe to see if thay are scammers thay love you in minites than after a schort wihl thay need money cos the child is sick ore  there credit card is lost need help all ways with thinks dond fall fore it cos no unest persone wond ask fore money that thay just mate

  9. If someone is a well rehearsed liar, they can certainly lie over a telephone as well!

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