Online dating has become hugely popular in the modern world.
Around 30 million Americans used some kind of online dating service in 2019, and it’s believed that this figure will continue to increase.
There are many different sites out there that promise to help you find the love of your life.
No matter what your reason for signing up for a dating service, you should always be wary of people you meet online.
Unfortunately, the increasing popularity of online dating services has brought with it the inevitable scammers and liars.
It’s a lot easier to scam someone online rather than in person, so you’ll need to stay alert to protect yourself.
Making sure to always meet up in a crowded, public place is always advised, and you should never give out too much personal information.
If you’re worried that the person you’re talking to might not be 100% honest, you can perform an online background check.
Services such as CheckPeople.com can quickly look up the full details and help you determine if the person is genuine.
While most people on dating sites are simply looking to meet someone new, there are scammers out there. Watch out for the following scams while using dating sites and apps.
Romance Scams – A romance scam is a name given to a scam that typically starts on an online dating site. In 2019, around $200 million was reported lost to online romance scams. Tell-tale signs of a romance scam include the person telling you they live overseas. They might claim this is for business reasons or because they’re in the military.
They’ll usually spend a lot of time talking to you every day before eventually asking for money after trying to gain your trust.
Most scammers ask for money in the form of a wire transfer or through gift cards or reloadable credit cards.
They might tell you a sob story, saying how much they need cash to pay for travel expenses or medical costs.
The scammer will usually play on the trust and kindness of their victim, making them feel guilty for not helping.
They might tell you that they’ll be able to repay you quickly after you’ve sent it, but that they’re unable to use their own money as they’re overseas.
Catfishing – Catfishing is often done as part of a romance scam. The scammer will use fake pictures and fake information to make them seem like a perfect match. Sometimes these catfish accounts will ask for money, while other times, they’re simply doing it because they’re bored or lonely.
Be careful not to get too attached to a person you’ve never met in person or seen on video. There’s always a strong chance that those pictures are fake, and that the person isn’t who they say they are.
How to Protect Yourself from Online Dating Scams
Being cautious online is useful to keep yourself safe when using any online service. It’s especially important when using online dating sites, as romance scams and catfish accounts have become a lot more common.
Take the following precautions to stay safe when using dating apps and to avoid falling victim to an online dating scam:
Never send money to anyone you haven’t met in person – All online romance scams involve eventually asking the victim for money. If you don’t know someone in person, you shouldn’t trust them and certainly shouldn’t send them money.
Do a reverse image search of any pictures they send you – Google and Tineye both have reverse image searches, which will show you if the person is using fake pictures or not.
Perform an online background check – Online background checks help to reveal personal information about a person. If you suspect someone is using a fake name, this is a good way to tell.
Be alert to inconsistencies in their story – Often the scammer will give you a long and complex story. Be aware of any changes that occur in the story or their situation that will help to unravel the lie.
Don’t be afraid to call them out on their lies or changes to their story – If you do suspect that they’ve been lying, you should call them out. If they get defensive or try to add more lies to the story, you know to block them.
Don’t give out too many personal details online, especially where you live – You should always be careful about giving out too many personal details online. This goes for dating accounts and all social media. Make sure that the people you’re talking to online don’t know exactly where you live.
If you do meet up, make sure it’s in a public place with lots of people around – Meeting with people for the first time can be dangerous as you can never be sure of what the person’s intentions are. Make sure you meet somewhere that you won’t be in any danger and that you can leave at any time. Don’t travel overseas to meet up with a person for the first time – As with the previous point, if you’re meeting someone new, it has to be in a safe place. Don’t go overseas to meet someone for the first time as you could put yourself in danger.