The popularity of online dating platforms has grown rapidly over the past decade, and so has the number of reported online dating scams. These are notorious undertakings where one party pretends being interested in a romantic relationship while in reality only being after the persons’ money.
Online romance scams are particularly cruel because they can harm vulnerable people with sincere intentions of finding love.
Luckily, a lot of these scams have commonalities which help make them easier to identify. Below is a list of the most typical ways online dating scammers try to fool you:
1. Attempts to get you to communicate outside the dating platform
A standard approach by scammers is trying to get you to talk off the platform. The reason for that is that all legitimate dating sites have security teams that look after the safety of their members. Going off the platform with a stranger is the equivalent of leaving a nightclub with some guy you met only moments ago. It simply isn’t safe.
2. Asks for a lot of personal information very early on
When someone you don’t know asks for a lot of personal details right away, it is a definite red flag. They may ask about your job, which part of town you were born in, what do your parents do for a living and so on. Offloading these questions is a way to get a sense of what your financial background is.
3. Is overly interested in starting a romantic relationship
A common trait among scammers is that they make an effort to show romantic interest right off the bat. The way they do this is often being excessively complimentary and sometimes by sending provocative pictures to arouse your interest. You’ll expect to get a few compliments here and there, but with these folks, it is constant and non-convincing.
4. Dodges video chatting and meet-ups
When an attractive person with a seemingly perfect profile has contacted you with an interest in pursuing a romantic relationship, yet they continually make up reasons why they can’t video chat or meet up, it should get the alarm bells ringing. The story does not add up – they seem very interested yet will not show themselves.
5. The mother of all red flags – asking for money
This is not something that happens right away. First, they spend some time grooming you. That is where all the compliments and pouring their heart out to you come in. That is their way of getting you to let down your guard before they hit you with the big one. It often comes in the classical form of a sob-story. Something has happened to their loved ones or them, and they need to borrow money right away to fix it. It starts with small sums, and if you give in, they gradually ask for more.
Educate Yourself and Trust Your Instincts
The best way you can protect yourself from online dating scams is gathering as much information about them as you can. Other than that, you should also always rely on your instincts. If you get the feeling that something is off, it probably is.
Legitimate platforms have a customer support team that you can report any suspicious activity to. Reporting can keep someone else from falling into a trap, so don’t be afraid to share your opinion.