First, you fall in love and everything looks promising but before you can start enjoying the new catch, things take a painful turn. Your hard-earned money is wiped out and your heart terribly was broken by the very person you thought was your soul mate. Commonly referred to as “romance scams”, online dating scams are now commonplace. If you looked at the stats, you would be shocked beyond your imagination. According to the FBI, nothing comes close to romance scams when it comes to internet fraud.
As easy as it may sound, avoiding online dating scams can sometimes be a tricky affair. You must be 100% alert and vigilant at all times lest you become another sad statistic. Here are some pieces of advice that can help protect you when using online dating apps.
1. Ask questions
Ask A LOT of questions. Don’t hold anything back. You’d rather be safe than sorry on this one. Seek to know more than the basic info like location, age, and weight. Inquire about the choice of friends, their past relationships, taste in movies, their culture, family and so much more.
2. Conduct a thorough background check
The digital age makes this quite convenient. Use all search engines to investigate the authenticity of each of your matches. Look through their social media profiles if the information given corresponds to their profile. Check whether the profile is a duplicate or lacking a digital footprint completely. Invest in services such as Spokeo to research for personal info like criminal records, marriage records and so much more.
3. Think twice about a partner that’s “Too perfect”
You know what they say, “When a deal is too good, think twice.” Someone that comes out as a match made in heaven may actually be hiding something potentially harmful. As you begin of, try to stick to the dating app as a means of communication and allow time to learn more about this person.
4. Watch out for a person that wants to go offline too fast
It is pretty straightforward but to this day, many have been conned using this very tactic. There’s something alarming about a stranger that wants to rush things by getting you offline too soon. Don’t bow down to the demand yet. Ask them to give you more time to feel comfortable communicating off the app.
5. Avoid a person that avoids physical dates
You’ve been trying to set up an actual meet-up with this person in vain. They always come up with reasons why they cannot show up for a real date. This is a major red flag. If after a few months of chatting online, he or she won’t agree to a meet-up, you have tons of reasons to be highly suspicious. Monica Whitty, a psychologist as Leicester University actually says, “If a person isn’t ready to meet within the first month, leave.”
6. Concentrate on paid online dating sites
Granted, these two have their fair share of romance scammers but the numbers are relatively smaller compared to those in the free apps. The ton of personal information required repels a good number of them. They hide behind the free sites that cannot sell them out. The adult dating patrol has great reviews about which dating apps really work. You better to check this kind of reviews before deciding which site or app to go.
7. Don’t fall for any of their pitiful tales
Most scammers purport to have lost a loved one in an accident or a deadly disease. They know this will attract sympathy and eventually, vulnerability. Another tactic used by these awful people is telling you they were on their way to see you but their card has been rejected.
The next time you suspect a fraudster on any of the 1800+ online dating websites, you would be better placed to be smart, vigilant and present. Don’t let that end there, report scammers at FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. You might save someone thousands of dollars and possibly their precious life!