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Online dating is a convenient way for busy people to meet other people. However, the virtual community is no safer than the real world. Online dating allows anonymity and therein lies the danger. Detecting the online scammer is a skill. It requires s good bit skepticism and common sense. Question everything!Online safety works best if you consider these 10 clues as you pursue online romance.
1. The online scammer is a consummate liar, though not necessarily a good one. Ask questions and if the answers sound suspicious, ask follow-up questions. Ultimately, if it sounds too good to be true, it always is.
2. The online scammer rarely is where his/her profile says she/he is located/ This is to make it more difficult for you to do a google search and is part of the lie about the nature of his/her job, which always requires international travel.
3. The online scammer will give you a full name. This name is false. The idea is to get you to give him/her the same information, which she/he may use in an attempt to commit fraud at a later date.
4. The online scammer declares she/he in love with you very early on. The romance scammer has to work quickly. At any moment his/her victim may catch on or lose interest. The more you feel loved, the easier it will be to gain your trust.
5. The online scammer unexpectedly speaks with a foreign accent or doesn't speak english very well. She/he seems to have many different personalities. The scammer is actually a network of people working together ot steal your identity and your money and the person you think you're communicating with online may very well be a different person than the one speak to one the phone. (This is not to imply that all scams are international.)
6. The online scammer has few pictures of him/herself. Many of these pictures are suspicious; they don't fit previous descriptions or don't match previous pictures and/or descriptions. The motive is to get your trust and to have you send pictures of yourself. It is important to remember that the scammer is not the same person who is in the pictures you have received. Those pictures may have been stolen from another website or a previous victim, or in some cases, they are pictures of models from magazines. If the pictures are suspicious, run the other way!
7. The online scammer always has some sort of sad story to tell you to get your pity. The most common story is about having lost his/her spouse and being left a widow or widower with a small child to raise alone. And, you of course are the first person she/he has met that can replace that love in his/her heart. Another sad story is that the previous spouse ran away, breaking his/her heart. The scammer is depending on your willingness to save her/him.
8. Once the online scammer feels you trust him/her sufficiently, she/he needs to go on an international trip. Afterwards, she/he plans to come visit you.
9. The online scam varies very little except here: the scammer may end up deathly ill and a third person may call to inform you, or the scammer somehow ends up in a third country, most commonly Nigeria, and suddenly, they can't get out. So, they turn to you. If you do get this call, refer the scammer to the US consulate.
10. The online scammer only wants one thing form you: MONEY. SO, sooner or later the scammer will call you begging for a large sum of money to be wired to him/her in another country. Wiring, from what I understand, is the most dangerous way to send money to a stranger because your banking information is visible. The scammer may just take the money and run, or if she/he thinks you are na??ve enough, she/he may continue to use you as a cash cow for some time.
Though growing in popularity, the online dating scam is one of the least reported of the cyber crimes because its victims are too embarrassed to admit that they have been duped. By paying attention to the inconsistencies in the story of the stranger with whom you're communicating online, you may save yourself some grief and money and avoid the online scammer completely.
By Aurorin2, IN, United States
These are red flags during communication with others online:
1) "Construction / Power Plant / Generator / Transformer Engineers…"
2) "Out of the Country…"
3) Misspelled Words.
4) Bad Grammar.
5) Telling You Way Too Much, In The Beginning.
6) Maybe, telling what he thinks you want to hear.
7) Then, if speaking to the person, the person cannot put 2 words together / cannot speak a sentence / you cannot understand a word that is said….
8) The person cannot even answer simple questions.
9) Cannot have a back and forth discussion.
10) Only talks about himself and does not care about you or ask about you.
11) Emails, from them, that say, "My friend wanted me to get in touch with you…" (That happened twice).
By Catclay, Georgia, United States
I've spent 9-months trying to figure out real vs fake. I thought I developed a system but after reading some of the other fraud post my process won't solve all of the issues.
There are 3-things right off the cuff that can quickly spot a fraud...
1) Established an email google account which can easily be traced to the location. The scammers know this and will quickly avoid using your email address.... often giving you a phone number that cannot be traced.
2) Ask the interested party for baby/childhood photographs to be posted in there private file.
3) Lastly... asked them for the name of the local supermarket or mall where they live.
These 3 ID's can qualify the photos as everyone has school childhood pictures, If they refuse to send a message to a gmail, huge RED FLAG, supermarkets and malls are geographical, and neighborhood friendly. This can be easily verified or why send you a warning if they do not know.
The profile is exactly how these scammers work:
1. Only one photo of very handsome high end looking man, exported from facebook etc.
2. Flowery language that no American male would think of using, bad verb tenses / and run-non sentences
3. Always stupid letters / numbers for username that never make sense
4. Subject heading really over the top, come on too forward / desperate that no sophisticated male like in this photo would say or use
5. Never any preference for the match qualifications....any!
By MonaLake, Pennsylvania, United States
From a woman's point of view.
1. They post themselves as widow.
2. Art dealers, engineers etc.
3. They will say they are from the place they posted and then they are abroad...Ex. Beverly Hills California... after a few e mails... they are in Europe ... next in Arabia or Africa doing business.
4. They ask you how long you have been on dating site..
5. They want to know what your experience has been... according to what you say...they will show so much sympathy and empathy... that you start to believe how nice they are.
6. They say they love you on the first profile e mail.
7. They say to not write to any one else because they are the one for you.
8. Then they present you with a drastic scenario of an accident they had abroad... that they have no money and then if you could forward them some money via western union.
9 They want you go write to them from your personal email or chat with them.
By Alohasunshine, Hawaii, United States
I recently read about a group in Nigeria trolling online dating sites and then pretending to be Americans looking for love. After you develop a relationship with them, they say they are traveling or working in a foreign country and start asking for money with a long list of reasons why they need your financial help. I believe a good way to confirm that the person you are communicating with is the same person in the profile you found on this website is to ask them to send you a photo of themselves with their face clearly visible, holding their local newspaper and that day's date also visible. If they are scammers, they won't be able to do this. Everyone has access to a camera phone or digital camera and should be able to accomplish this task.
By Hollywood323, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Be aware of those that's on dating sites looking for scammers and spammers, these people that go around on sites likes this or any other site for that matter. They will try to get to know you or spam you with messages, some things I've noticed to look for are those that ask for money, more than one profile, won't verify any information. Locking your profile, reporting messages and profiles you feel that aren't safe for you or onliners will increase safety for everyone. Don't let them take advantage of you beware and be safe.
By Waves720, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Dating online can be just as hard as in person, for single parents. After weeks or even months of communicating online, you may feel you know this person. He/she may profess his/her affection or love. Protect your children by not sending photos, because if the person is a scammer they now have a name and children's photos to use as scam bait on his/her next potential victim. Asking for kid's photos, of what they are doing and what they look like, is a way to get you to feel connected and that they care, etc. The next thing is the emergency, the fake injury picture, the money issues. Be safe, keep your kid's images safe.
By kia4you, Georgia United States
We all know that we should not give our addresses to people that we have spoken to on the site, but does everyone know the full extent of the risks we take by doing so?
Many think that it is dangerous because the other user can turn up at our home, stalk us, threaten us or even worse injure us in some way.
Well yes, this can happen but is highly unlikely.
A more common occurrence is the following scenario: You agree to have that first all important date and give your address because the other says of course they will come and pick you up from your home..what time is best for you?
Sure enough, they do pick you up and whisk you away to a candlelit dinner.
They are attentive, charming and a good conversationalist and the evening is wonderful.
They drive you home and say goodbye at the door, telling you that they respect you, it is a first date and they would hate you to think there was any pressure. They add that they cannot WAIT to see you again.
They drive off and you enter your home to find it has been stripped of all movable objects, including the computer that you have both been chatting on for the last month.
DON'T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!
Insist on a taxi there and back until you feel you really know this person.
By LadyLegia, Wakefield, England - Yorkshire, United Kingdom
So you're on the site, browsing and checking out what's out there and a fine gentleman sends you a wink. You view his profile and it's every girls dream! So you message him and you two hit it off. Then things began to take a left, he offers you a large amount of money and wants your banking info. STOP. He's a scammer. Even in a perfect world a man wouldn't offer $10,000 to someone he hasn't met. It's impossible to even think on those terms. Please do not fall for the game, it could seriously put you in a bad position.
By RichieSweet, Georgia(GA), United States
Before becoming attached to anyone, male or female, have them send you photos of themselves. When you get that photo, upload it or as many as you can get through an image scan site such as google image search, search it, pig busters. I have learned from experience that anyone can say anything about themselves. Their only purpose is to lighten your wallet. Google their name, even check for a profile on LinkedIn, you will know if the person is a scammer.
By Gypsywind15, Florida, United States
1. Search their profile photos in google. Scammers often impersonate military men. I met one scammer who use REAL Sergeant Major Stuart R. James. Mr. James has been Retired from the U.S. Army for several years and is a happily married man with two small children and a lovely wife.
2. Scammers often make the story of being in the army. Here is a message I received from the scammer which I fortunately saved: "It's my pleasure Ellen. I am part of the New Joint Task force established by the international UN-US led coalition against the the Islamic state of Afghanistan, Iraq set up by the UN-US central command to command military efforts against Taliban and ISIS, and it is compose of US military forces and personnel from 30 UN countries. The aim is destroy and degrade the Taliban's and ISIS..I'm currently deployed here in Afghanistan but I'm almost done here and I will be back home soon in a few weeks time. I hope that won't be a problem to you? This happens to be my last mission. I will be retiring after this. So I'm using this opportunity to look for a loving and caring woman who I can spend the rest of my life with. Someone I can do everything with."
By MISMESAGAL, Arizona, United States
Beware of people that say they have a high education degree but then cannot spell or do not use correct grammar. (I had one who contacted me claiming to have a Master's Degree but couldn't put together a sentence properly)
Beware of people who claim to live nearby but then cannot tell you about the simple geography or landmarks in your area. (I had one who contacted me that couldn't properly spell the name of the town they supposedly lived in, and could not tell me how far apart our towns were)
Beware of people that get too intimate too quickly. (Pet names right off the bat)
Beware of people that constantly repeat the same information but don't answer your direct questions.
Beware of people that constantly change their stories or can't keep information that you've given them straight.
Do not give money to anyone you don't know.
By JulieBC123, Florida, United States
For women: If a guy's picture is handsome, comes on too strong on the first message and if they want to "chat" on Yahoo or MSN Messenger: Watch out! They use a photo of a good looking man, usually white and VERY good looking and rarely of other ethnicity but they are really in Nigeria, or Ghana (yet pretending to be in London or wherever) trying to perpetrate a "419 scam on you".
Sometimes they will say they are from another country...yet the Nigerian style of writing is SO unique, they cannot hide it. Just for fun, I will write back in the language of the country they say they spent the first 20-30 years of their life and either they answer in English with the same bad grammar and spelling or they do not answer and the next thing you know is that their profile is "no longer available". What a scam!
Google "romance scam" or "internet romance scam" + "his name" + "photo" or just "internet romance scam" + "photo" -- and you will find some of the photos used by scammers to log into sites or this site or whatever site. Even if you do not search his name because you do not know it, you will see the photos some people have used for internet dating scams.
They will pretend to be businessmen and then travel and "have their wallet, business equipment, etc. and/or flight ticket stolen" and ask you to send or wire them money to tide them over. and ask you to send or wire them money to tide them over. If they are US Citizens and bonafide, the US Embassy would help immediately to cancel all credit cards, help them access their accounts and an airline can have their flight ticket reissued, if it were stolen or lost, as they can cancel it throughout their system.
For men: Beware the "Russian Natasha" type. They are gorgeous and young but all they want is a visa. They will leave you the minute they get it AND they want a child, yes, because then they have your money forever! They are NOT limited to the Ukraine, etc., but also from Central and South America. I know five friends who got taken by one such person and every single one left THE FOLLOWING DAY after they fulfilled the required length of stay to apply for citizenship...AND that was after my friends paid to bring over their siblings, parents and teen age children if any.
Also beware of the same type 419 (Nigerian) scam done by women who use photos of gorgeous women and then travel and "have their wallet, business equipment, etc. and/or flight ticket stolen" and ask you to send or wire them money to tide them over.
By pianistMBA777, Florida, United States
Scammers are becoming an increasing problem on internet. Here are some tips on how not to get duped:
Especially since you are now on a dating site specially for someone with your kind of "handicap," do NOT settle. Scammers often have only one picture. Sometimes it's obvious if it's a model photo. Also look for inconsistencies between pictures. Often the bodies won't match or there will be a discrepancy about the faces--or both. Also, watch their mannerisms/the way they communicate with you. If they don't sound like someone you text on a regular basis, they probably have something to hide. Lastly, verify by alternative method who they are before meeting. This can be via Facebook, having a Facetime/Skype conversation, or at the very least, have them send you more pictures. The more pictures, the less likely the person is having to scramble to falsely produce them.
By maza_dohta, Washington, United State
Scammers are oftentimes located in other countries and English is not their first language. Here are a few mistakes these scammers always seem to make.
1. Starting a sentence with "Am..." instead of "I am..."
2. Always manage to throw in that they are God fearing
3. They are widowed and have one child
4. They say, "I will like to get to know you more" instead of "I would like to get to know you better."
5. One or no photos
6. Nothing city specific in their profile. No landmarks or downtown hangouts
7. They are always "new to this"
8. Can't load a photo because the "site won't let them"
9. For some reason, they seem to litter punctuation throughout their profile willy nilly with no order at all
10. All their preferences for their match are blank
Two big tips to save you lots of time.
1. Do a Google image search of one of their profile photos. If they are a scammer, many times their photo will pop on any or all of the scammer warning websites or if that photo is being used by another scammer on another site, it will pop up and you can compare the two different profiles.
2. Copy and paste some of their profile information in their "about me" section into Google. Once again, if any or all of the wording is used on another site, you can check and compare the profiles. Also, if the wording is on any of the scam warning websites, it will pop up there.
Never take a profile at face value. Always assume they are a scammer and check them out first.
By Bellladonna64, Illinois, United States<& ask_april_common, %ARGS &>
Protect yourself. Don't deal with anyone that is out of the country. Do not give ANY personal information to anyone you never met. If they tell you they love you and you never met, chances are they are a scammer. Another scam to watch out for is if they want you to handle money for them while they are away, and tell you they need someone that is trustworthy...
By cherant, Illinois, United States
The ones from other country's that are just scammers. Start fast. Are in love after two sentences, talk different, say they are from here but are off working and usually widowed and kid here in states. Something happens and they need You to send money. Don't. It's a scam.
Breakoutchic,Tennessee, United State
The pictures are often stolen from modeling sites and their profiles and their life story are often stolen as well.
They may try several profiles to entice and once you leave your email, they will begin the hook.
Ask pertinent questions, such as, may I see a picture of you with the last sculpture you sculpted. My I see you in that hockey uniform or beside the Gran Torino you love so much. These can be faked with photo shop so be sure to ask for specifics which will be difficult to find on the internet. Ask lots of questions and expect answers and keep the answers. They do seem to use their real stats to be able to remember as they are usually speaking to many people at once, but in the case of a man pretending to be a female model from Russia.... hard to do heheh.
Get as much information as they will give you and compare often.
Females will often scam using their bodies and making promises of sex and servitude. They will appeal to your manhood to get money from you. IE: They were orphaned, mistreated or beaten and now live on the streets or with a mean uncle or with the pastor. They were injured, raped, hit by a drunk driver... etc They might even have the ?pastor? or ?doctor? call to confirm this. Then they will ask for money to be sent so they can come be with you. NEVER give out any cash for any reason! If you want a Russian bride, meet one, return home and get a visa for her and then go get her.
Males will often pretend they are well educated, civil Engineers and consultants, who travel the world. Often they will pretend to be pilots, or involved in film, the arts, or to live in the states as well as abroad.... anything to lead you astray as they pretend to be traveling all over the world to keep one step from actually meeting you. Always promising that in a few months they will be there for you. They appeal to the femininity and nurturing, so might use children and pictures of them or even have them call you and say ?mommy!?. They will be pretend to be well off, but want you to cash some cheques or money orders or send them money because their credit cards and passport were stolen. They will feign accidents and tragedies once they have you hooked on them.
By uniqueme, Manitoba, Canada
I have been on a number of other sites and always seem to attract the scammers. I won't mention the sites, but, a number of them advertise online and TV. The scam artist will always start calling you honey, love, etc. within usually the first two or three emails or IM. They will try to get you to correspond via your personal email/IM, saying they are near the end of their membership on the site or want more freedom/speed to talk to you more. They will always come up with a plausible excuse for not meeting you, car problems, distance, sick relative, etc. The next step will be that they need to travel (a good distance...not always a different country). They'll keep chatting to you/e mail you, then after a period of time they will say they need some financial assistance; they will ask you to send it Western Union/Moneygram and usually to a different person, sometimes in the state/country they are in or sometimes in another. The amount varies from a small amount to a couple thousand; they'll have a good reason for this......lost wallet/luggage, car problems, accident, etc.
I have also found that the profile may stay on the site, but the picture has changed drastically. They will also try to get a phone number from you, then call you at all hours of day/night....saying they forget time differences, etc.
The lesson I've learned......If I don't meet/see you in person, you aren't getting a penny from me. I also have sympathy for the people that have been rejected from the site due to the scammer.