If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself. Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites. If you fall into this category, be especially wary of people that you meet through dating websites. The AARP also says that seniors are a common target of these scams. Again, both men and women can and have fallen victim to online dating scammers, but women tend to be targeted more aggressively.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.
Profile Warning Signs The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.
Scammers also often list themselves as widowed especially with a child , self-employed, or working overseas. The photos used by scammers can also clue you in that something is off. The reverse search engine that usually gets most of the clicks is TinEye. If that image shows up on other profiles with different names, you should be suspicious.
Read More , but it could also be a scammer. If you receive other photos, and anything seems off, be wary. For example, scammers will often ask you to communicate with them outside of the dating site—via email, through Facebook, or even on Skype. Scammers are good at being charming and saying all the right things—and they start it fast. Think about if you would find it strange for someone to be acting like this if you just met in real life.
If there's a single mantra to keep in mind, it's this -- the number one defense against phishing is awareness. Read More or on the phone, where they need to spontaneously come up with things to say. This is difficult for non-native speakers. Obviously, there are plenty of non-native speakers out there who are sincerely looking for a relationship, and they could very well be from heritage speaking communities in the United State or Britain.
Not Being Able to Meet While the British scammer mentioned in the introduction to this article met his victims in person, most scammers will avoid face-to-face meetings at all costs. They might even set up a time to meet and then say they were held up by something else. This week, the database has been leaked. Are your indiscretions about to become public? However, repeated excuses at the last minute are a definite warning sign.
Some scammers will use similar excuses for avoiding phone conversations, though many will talk to you on the phone before reeling you in for the scam. Asking for any other financial information—where you bank, anything about your credit cards, how much you have in savings—should be a big warning sign.
Think Again Discreet online dating site Ashley Madison targeted primarily at cheating spouses has been hacked. However this is a far more serious issue than has been portrayed in the press, with considerable implications for user safety.
Read More , so sharing any sensitive information might be a bad idea anyway. If they ask you for money, run. Trust Your Instincts Most of the time, you can spot an online dating scammer by trusting your instincts—if something looks off, be extra wary.
It all seems obvious in hindsight, but people want to believe in other people, and that can get in the way of our better judgment. Always be on the lookout, and be extra wary when you meet new people online. Taking these precautions can help save you thousands of dollars—and even more heartbreak. Have you been the victim of an online romance scam? Are the signs obvious in hindsight?
What tipped you off to the scam? Share in the comments below!