How to Avoid Online Dating Scams?

While it has become easier for people to connect and find love globally through online dating sites, they might end up with an empty wallet and be heartbroken. Social media and online dating sites have become increasingly popular tools for finding love and friendships. However, romance scammers also use them as tools to carry out their fraudulent activities. 

What are Online Dating Scammers?

With technological advancements and easier access to the internet, romance, and dating scams have become rampant. Usually, online dating scammers establish an online romantic relationship with people over years, months, weeks, or even days. These scammers will claim to be in love with an individual and show great interest in the person. 

Additionally, the scammers will claim they are in love with you at the very early stages of the relationship when they barely know much about you. You will receive many emails, messages, and calls to show how much they care. Also, scammers might shower one with gifts and unrealistic praises and attention. Check out ExpressVPN’s blog piece to learn more about how to avoid online dating scams.

How are Scammers Using Dating Apps, and What for? 

Online dating scammers will develop fake profiles to lure victims into romantic relationships and eventually extort money from them. While financial benefits are the most common need for online scammers, they might also lure you into relationships and physical abuse or kill you. 

Further, dating scammers usually claim they are Australian but traveling or living overseas. Also, they can say they are on a mission overseas or serving in the military. These individuals will make excuses for not meeting you and play on your emotions to get money from you. For instance, they may claim they desire to see you in person or need an operation but do not have enough funds for airfare. They may also request you to buy them services or goods and send them to them. 

Online scammers know how to make relationships so real that you do not suspect fraudulent activity. Also, these criminals can use you for money laundering; before you know it, they are long gone, and their accounts are closed.

Moreover, online dating scammers may ask you to send them pictures of yourself after establishing trust with the victims. You shouldn’t send pictures where you are uncomfortable being seen by the public. That is because they can use them to blackmail you, especially if they are intimate videos or photos revealing the victim’s identity. 

How Can I Spot An Online Dating Scammer? 

They tend to Confess Love Quickly, Even Without Meeting You.

One of the most popular red flags you should look for when dating online is quick love confession. Usually, an online dating scammer will confess to having strong feelings for you in a relatively short period. They might even say they are in love with you. That is a common trick, especially when they want you to give them your details or answers to security questions for your accounts. Therefore, you must guard your personal information and avoid giving it out. 

They claim to Need it Urgently.

Be suspicious of anyone who asks for financial assistance, especially when they barely know you. If you experience people asking you to give them money for travel, medical bills, or emergencies, high chances are they are scamming you. They will disappear immediately after you send that money to their accounts. Some of the most common emergency excuses include:

  • I need money to fund my air ticket to see you
  • I need money for treatment

They tend to Lure You Off the Dating Site.

Since some dating sites will have regulations safeguarding personal details, online scammers tend to lure you off them. Romance scammers will convince you to use other means of communication, such as instant messaging and emails. 

If you want to communicate off the dating app, finding an alternative messaging app that is not connected to your personal information is best. 

They Will Always Plan but Never Visit

Be on the lookout if your online lover shows interest in visiting but cancels the plans every time with excuses such as business loss or traumatic events. Besides, these cancellations will often be accompanied by short-term loan requests. For instance, they will say they used up the air ticket money on emergencies and need a short-term loan to see you. 

How to Protect Yourself

Be cautious with online dating so you do not end up heartbroken with no money. Follow the following tips to protect yourself from the scammers

  1. Slow down and talk to people you trust before proceeding with any online requests. Also, do not let scammers rush you.
  2. Never wire your money through gifts or cash reload cards.
  3. You should contact your bank immediately if you suspect you might have sent money unknowingly to a scammer.
  4. Report. If you have been scammed online, report the matter to the federal bureau of investigation, the federal trade commission, or the respective dating site. 

Reporting can help track down the culprit and prevent similar criminal activities from happening.            

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