Written by: Shani Fowler
If you are looking for your Mr/Mrs Right via online dating, you need to take steps to make sure that you are potentially hooking up with people that are what and who they say they are; and they are not purely trying to prey on your passion to find love.
Online dating scammers cost the UK £24.5 million per year. So how can you tell that your Romeo or Juliet isn’t really a potential love interest? Are they more interested in connecting to your bank balance than finding a romatic connection with you? Well let’s have a look at how to spot online dating scams and fraudsters.
Are there more questions than answers? Someone who is trying to scam you is more prone to asking a lot questions about you and give very little away about themselves. There may be a reluctance to tell you where they live or what they do, or they may be inconsistent – a liar has to have a good memory!
Someone flattering you and seemingly intrigued by you may cause you to let your guard down, leading you to reveal more than you should. Be wary of what you reveal especially in the first instance.
A scammer may quickly begin to be very familiar with you, give you a pet name, or use terms of endearment such as darling and they might suggest messaging each other is a better way to communicate rather than using the dating website. Beware of their motives.
Drop dead gorgeous
Is their picture too perfect? Another good tell-tale sign can be their profile picture – they may be so drop dead gorgeous you just can’t believe your luck. They look like a model… hey that could be because it is actually a picture of a model! Or they might not supply a picture at all – why?
Suddenly can’t access money?
Beware of anyone who suddenly creates a situation where they can’t access their cash. Often they can pretend to be military personnel struggling to get money for flights home, or there is a crisis in their family and someone is poorly. Suddenly you’re asked to help? No you can’t! If someone really has an interest in you romantically, you would probably be the last person they would ask for cash!
Would they love to visit you?
Oh if only they had the travel fare? Don’t arrange to pay someone’s travel to come and meet you. Once they have your cash they are likely to be as far away from you as they can get.
Trust your instincts and think of the old adage “if it sounds too good to be true it usually is”. Try to use reputable websites that will protect your anonymity, and never give bank and credit card details on the internet to people.
Check their photo profile on google image to make sure that it is not a stolen or fake profile picture. Don’t give any personal details until you are absolutely comfortable with the person and create a separate email account only for the dating – one that doesn’t use your name.
If and when you are ready to meet someone, always meet in a public place and make sure there are people who know where you are. You can even have someone ring during your date where you can either use it as excuse to leave if you feel you need to, or let them know it’s going okay if indeed it is.
Whilst there are many “happily ever after” stories of unions on the net, there are also many unscrupulous people out there who are adept at what they do, tuning into the vulnerable and spotting weaknesses they can manipulate so much, it can leave you almost penniless! These people can quickly gain the confidence of someone who wants to believe in them. Many people, intelligent, clever and usually guarded people have been suckered into something where looking back, they can’t believe they have fallen for a scam.
If you spot anything suspicious you should report it to Action Fraud. Taking sensible steps to filter out the bad from the good will pay off in the end, hopefully enabling you to walk off into the sunset with your intended – with your bank account intact.