With the recent increase in the use of technology and reliability on social platforms, millions of people now turn to social media platforms, online dating apps and websites to find love, but many find something else; a scammer who is most likely after their money.
Online dating scams can happen to anyone. Sometimes it is hard to tell when you are in such a situation because these romance scammers use fake profiles and can easily contact you without raising suspicion through dating apps, social media platforms and others. Online dating scams usually start with simple conversations that lead to a relationship, and scammers try to build trust with their partners over time.
However, after gaining the trust of their partners, they come up with a story that requires you to send them money. This guide has all you need to save you from an online dating scam, and you can also help teach others to minimize the occurrence of this devastating incident.
10 Signs of an Online Dating Scam
Here are 10 signs that you are dating an online romance scammer; note that if you notice only one or two of these signs, you should try to observe them more before making conclusions because it is possible your online lover is not a scam.
They Try to Lure you Off the Dating Site
Online dating scams rarely occur at the dating site or the platform you met the person; often, they try to convince you to leave the sites because they prefer instant messaging or email for communication. When getting to know a person you are interested in, it is normal to want to take things beyond the dating site, so this might not seem suspicious at first.
However, you must be very cautious when someone asks for your email address, phone number or anything that allows them to have easy access to your personal information. You can set up an alternative email address or use an instant messaging app that doesn’t have any personal information to continue communicating with them and ensure to observe them keenly, so you can notice other suspicious actions.
They Tend to be Very Sure of Their Love for you Without Meeting you
It takes time to know and understand someone, and when you meet someone online without meeting them physically, it takes even longer time to get to know them. However, the most common sign of an online dating scam is that a scammer expresses strong emotions and moves too quickly with their relationship in a short period.
They claim to be in love with you and are very sure about it; you should ask yourself, is it possible to be this sure about a person you have never met so quickly? Scammers use this tactic to make you fall in love and trust them completely. Therefore, you should be very careful of your love interests and the information you share with them.
They are Flirtatious
Online dating scammers often use over-the-top language to make you develop a soft spot for them; they call you babe, honey, and other numerous pet names at the early stages of the relationship, and you have never met them in person.
These scammers can be very good with words; they know exactly what you want to hear and have sweet answers to every one of your questions; you must be careful not to get carried away by sweet words and flattery.
Online Love Scammers Plan to Visit but Always Cancel Due to Some Emergency
Before getting to this point in this guide, you might ask yourself, why not just request a visit so you can be sure of the person you are dating online? Well, you can try that for yourself, but you will notice that they always make plans to visit but end up canceling due to a last-minute emergency.
This emergency can be busines related, family drama, work or health-related reasons, traumatic events, etc. However, it would be best if you were very careful, and sometimes their cancelation is usually accompanied by a request for money to sort out the reasons they could not visit.
You may hear things like, “I would love to see you, but I recently invested in a business, so I can’t afford the plane ticket right now. If you can buy me a ticket, I promise to pay you back. I want us to be together.”
They Constantly Avoid Video Chats With you
Aside from visiting, video calls are another easy way to meet your partners, but an online dating scammer will only message you and never agree to a video chat. They always bring up different excuses why they can’t do the video chat; it could be their webcam is broken, they are at work and so on.
However, you should also know that online dating scammers have recently devised new means of video chatting and still have the face of their fake identity. So you have to be cautious when dating online.
They are Convincing Liars
When someone has an excuse for everything, they always know what to say to pacify you. You should know that they are good liars. Online dating scammers can come up with different stories every day to explain why they do what they do, like why they can’t visit, video chat, want you to leave the dating site, need your personal information and so on.
So now that you know they are convincing liars, if you suspect anyone, don’t bother asking them about it; you should immediately cut off the relationship or report them.
They are Always Available Online
If a person that claims to be a doctor or in the military is always available whenever you are online, could it be that they don’t have personal responsibilities or they care about you that much?
Sometimes different countries have different time zones, but your online partner is always online whenever you are online, regardless of the time in their country. This is a sign of an online dating scam, no matter how much you love a person, you can’t be available at all times.
Their Profile Seems too Good to be True
A normal dating profile usually has plenty of pictures of the person in different places and situations and with different poses, not just selfies. The person’s profile might also be linked to other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and so on.
In contrast, an online dating scam usually occurs with a profile that has few details and pictures of the person or information like hobbies and interests that matches your own perfectly. Also, if you can find active duplicates of that same profile elsewhere, you should take time to observe and compare them; one might be fake.
They ask for Money and Create a Sense of Urgency
This is the main purpose of most online dating scams; if anyone you have never met before starts asking for financial help, no matter how dire the situation, maybe you should be suspicious and thread carefully. Here are some storylines online dating scammers are fond of using to extort money from people.
- I need a short term to pay for my flight tickets so I can visit you.
- A close relative is sick, and I need some money.
- I need some money to invest in a very lucrative business.
- I am sending you some valuable items, and I need money to process the transfer.
- I need money to finalize the funeral of a loved one.
One thing to watch out for in online dating scams aside from asking for money is the need for urgency. Yes, online romance scammers do not only ask for money; they also attach a sense of urgency because they need things to happen fast before you have time to investigate their motives.
They ask for Specific Payment Methods
These romance scammers always choose payment methods that allow them to remain anonymous. They can ask you to send money through wire transfer, gift cards, a newly established bank in your name, etc.
Once you oblige to their request and send some money, they will still go ahead to ask for more money. However, if you do not agree to their initial request, they become desperate and aggressive, and if you persist with time, they may cut you off or gradually begin to act like they don’t care about you as opposed to their initial claims of love.
Common Lies Online Dating Scammers Tell
They often lie about their location and occupation; once they know where you live, they pick a location far away from you, and some may say they work in the military, on an oil rig, as a doctor with an international organization, etc. The entire story relating to why you need to send them money are all lies.
- Payment for traveling documents or a visa.
- Payment for a plane ticket and other expenses.
- Custom fees to retrieve something important.
- Payment for surgery or other medical conditions.
- Payment for gambling debts.
These are just a few ways an online dating scam can occur. Also, these scammers ask people to pay money by wiring or preloaded cards like gift cards or MoneyPak.
How to Avoid Online Dating Scams
The first step to avoiding an online dating scam is to never send money to a lover you have never met. Then, stop communicating once you suspect fraudulent activities and don’t bother asking the person first because you might get valid explanations that can lay your suspicions to rest.
In addition, listen to friends and family when they talk to you about your love interests and seek advice from the people around you. It is also possible to research the person’s job to find out if other people have heard similar stories and how often situations like yours turn out to be a scam.
Lastly, you can do a reverse image search of the person’s display picture to check if it is affiliated with another name or other details that don’t match up.
Read also: 20 Fun and Romantic Games for Couples
Online dating scams can be incredibly painful and detrimental to your mental health. That is why it is imperative you take necessary measures not to fall victim to such fraudulent activity. First, you should know the signs so you can tell when you are dating an online scammer, and another vital thing is to report them immediately after you confirm they are not real.
Some people feel guilty when they report online scammers, and some do not report them because they have developed a soft spot for them during the relationship. Still, you should know that reporting them will not only help you feel safe again but will also ensure that other people do not fall victim, and you will be doing a good job eradicating scammers from society.
Lastly, do not forget that your happiness matters the most in your quest to find love. Let us know in the comments section if this guide was helpful and if you have any contributions.