I was recently talking about online dating with my fantastic fellow blogger Cakes McCain - what sites to try, lame profiles and emails and of course, the incredible prevalence of online dating scammers out there these days. Now, we all want to believe that the people who have profiles on dating websites are 1) real and 2) on the up-and-up. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Each year there are an ever increasing number of scammers placing fake online profiles on dating sites and aggressively responding to the profiles of sincere women and men online. Sadly, you find these scammers more often on the free sites than the paid sites. But there are many things that you can do to protect yourself from these dangerous time-wasters. First, make yourself a personal rule to NEVER share your personal details until you meet someone face-to-face, NEVER send anyone any money and NEVER open any attachments sent from strangers online (hello virus!).
My friend Cakes has a fantastic nose for BS, so I asked her what she does personally to sniff out scammers and protect herself online. Here are her great scam-busting recommendations:
First of all, I don’t like to post my income range or give much detail at all about my job. Stay vague. So, how do you identify a scammer? Here are some likely signs:
- Their grasp of the English language is usually the easiest give away – if grammar and spelling is not very good. A man or woman claiming to have a university education or PHD is not going to write poorly in English. (bad punctuation, spelling, capital letters, poor grammar). Even a highschool graduate’s spelling and grammer should be passable. BUT If the person claims to be foreigner from another country (non-English Speaking) – it may be harder to tell. According to several internet reports, in additon to scams from Africa, there are many new scams coming out of Russia targeted at men. But women are at risk just the same.
Beware of the “over the top hearts and flowers” suitor, if he/she sounds too good to be true – he/she probably is. (and it’s probably a scam)
Beware if you are asked to send photos. Your photos are already on the dating site, why send them directly to someone? If it is a scam they may steal your photos to scam other unsuspecting folks on other dating sites. Usually photos are rendered well enough on the sites so people can view them clearly with no problem, so don’t do it.
If I am interested in a contact but I am unsure and think a sender’s email may be false – I’ll reply with something to the effect of… “Hey there, just wanted to mention for to you to be careful. There have been some some false profiles and dating scams on the site, so we REALLY need to be aware, and keep our eyes open here in this forum. Take care!” Interestingly, if it is a scam you won’t likely hear from this person again.
If you feel suspicious or want more info – check ww.pigbusters.net http://www.male-scammers.com/ or http://www.stop-scammers.com/about.asp http://www.romancescam.com/forum/portal.php You can browse the photos or copy and paste sections of the email that was sent to you, and see if they have already been put on the scam site by someone else.
Please, whatever you do….go into anything you do online with your eyes wide open. Be smart like Cakes and protect yourself as well as your heart. If your gut tells you it’s fishy – it is…just delete, don’t risk it. Date smart, people!
So, how do you avoid online dating scammers? What kind of scams have you seen? What tips can you share to avoid getting scammed?
For even more online dating scam-busting tips, read here.
Photo credit: j_arred’s Flickr photostream