Online dating can be a very satisfying and rewarding experience. The majority of people who use dating websites encounter only minor irritations, most of which could easily occur within any dating scenario – offline as well as online.
In this article I want to help you identify and avoid the various online dating scams that have sprung up to not only deprive you of your money, but also your happiness. After all, being scammed or taken for a ride is a pretty miserable experience.
Scammers can sign up to most dating websites for free, and because of the anonymity of the internet they can post the perfect profile with no-one asking questions or becoming suspicious.
The first thing that you should watch out for is people asking for money. This usually takes the form of women asking men for money, but in any case how do you know that “she” isn’t really a “he” or vice versa? They have a picture with their profile that could have been “borrowed” from anywhere, a profile that could have been written by anyone – man, women or trained monkey. You communicate by email because “she” says that the phone isn’t working, or “she” gives you a phone number that “she” never answers. “She” is reluctant to give you her address, or gives you a post office address where “she” can be contacted.
They talk a lot about themselves and never answer your questions, probably because they are sending a standard email to dozens of people. They never ask for money straight away. They will form a “relationship” with you first and then ask to “meet” you but they don’t have the money to travel, or they have a serious medical condition but don’t have the money to pay for treatment.
If you have met someone online and want to make sure that the address you have been given is valid, why not send flowers or some other small gift? The initial outlay is small and if it can’t be delivered you have your answer. If it can be delivered, the gift will be well-received by your potential partner and will be money well-spent.
Anyone seeking to part you from your cash will only use an anonymous payment provider such as Paypal or Western Union. They will never share their bank details with you, and under no circumstances should you share your bank details with them.
Another scam to be aware of is someone who immediately asks for your email address. Once you give out your address you are swamped by spam and never hear from that person again. It is very difficult to avoid this scam as email is your initail point of contact, but it might be a good idea to use an anonymous email account, such as Hotmail or go.com, until you are confident that the person with whom you are communicating is genuine.
I have outlined a couple of scams that you should be aware of, but remember that the vast majority of people that you meet online will be genuine and looking for similar things to you.
There will always be a few who spoil things for the rest of us, but this does not mean that we should treat everyone we meet online with suspicion. Caution is all that is required because there are always signs to alert us to danger if we know how to identify them.
This article is free to re-publish.