Protect Yourself Against Online Relationship
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|Searching for romance over the Internet has become
more and more popular over the years. Online dating is nearly a
billion dollar industry and scammers are cashing in on the trend,
taking advantage of unsuspecting men and women. |
scammers target hundreds of online daters, and many have fallen prey
to scams that cost online daters, on average, of more than $3,000.
They do it by posing as women overseas and send you a note through
an online dating service. They pretend to be interested in you and
provide their "email address" so that you can continue communicating
Scammers use email to try and build an online
relationship with you and they eventually profess their love. Once
you do too, the scam kicks into high gear. An "emergency" (mother
hospitalized, surgery needed) suddenly arises and they ask for
money. Or they say they want to meet you, but need money to apply
for a VISA to come see you. Little does the victim know that he's
talking to professional con artists and has likely been
communicating with another man, not a woman! The scams can get quite
complex, including men hiring a girl to call you and pose as your
online love interest.
You can avoid being a victim of online
relationship scams by taking note of these warning signs:
Being Asked for Money
This is the most
telltale sign of a scam. No matter what you think or what other
people might say, it just isn’t a normal behavior to ask for money
if you've never met someone in person. Scammers are quite creative –
they will ask you to help with airfare so they can come and visit,
cash a check, help out with an emergency for you to send a money
order and so on. Some will ask for money fairly quick and others
will show patience while trying to build a relationship with you,
getting you to fall for the imaginary person in the profile they set
Initiating First Contact
virtually always are the first to initiate contact with you. If you
get an email (or wink) from someone overseas, it's best not to
Wanting to Communicate via Email
online scammer will want to take your communications to email as
soon as possible because they know their profile may soon be deleted
when an online dating service notices their pattern of emailing
people. So many times in the very first or second email they will
give you an email address and ask you to email them.
Some scammers will cut or scan photos from
magazines. Trust your instincts. If you feel the photo is
suspicious, chances are it’s probably a fake. But that's not always
the case, as many scammers will actually steal someone else's photo
and post it. Photos are usually of a very beautiful woman. Don't
fall for it.
Unwillingness to Share Information
The person you are talking to showers you with attention and
he seems to be overly interested in everything about you, yet
doesn’t share a lot of information about themselves. If they are
avoiding your questions like a seasoned politician, then run..
If you are exchanging emails
with someone overseas, watch out for inconsistencies like a
variation in the style of the email, language differences,
repetitive statements, etc.. The scammer who initiated the
communication with you may not always be the same one that carries
it through. If something doesn't seem right about the emails you are
receiving, then its not right.
Besides looking out for red
flags you can take other measures to further protect yourself:
1) Be the one always initiating communication via online
2) Guard your privacy.
3) Communicate with
people locally, not overseas.
4) Trust your gut instinct from
5) Never reply to communications from someone who
sends you a note and immediately includes their email address for
you to continue the communication.
Many people have fallen
prey to online relationship scams. In one case, two men showed up at
the same airport to meet a girl from overseas that they had sent
money to for her "flight". Both were left holding flowers at the
airport staring at each other. They had apparently been duped by the
While it is true that there are many people
who find life partners over the Internet, it is best to always be on
your guard when using online dating services. Don't get scammed!