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Protecting yourself from

Online Dating Scams

How to save yourself from being swindled by online fraudsters posing on dating websites

Generally you are safe on online dating sites if you have some good sense and you know a few things to beware of.

When you first look at the photo of your date, see if the picture looks "too good". OK, if the person is good looking, that may be good, but you should be wary. If the person is good looking and the photo is taken professionally, then you might become suspicious about what's going on. Why is that person on a dating website? Fraudsters typically use model images which look too good to be true. However, let's be fair and give the person the benefit of the doubt.

How good is the person's use of the English language? If they are claiming that English is their first language, then the types of mistakes they make should fit with that. People usually make mistakes, but it is the types of mistakes which are telling.

An unexpected African connection is sometimes a warning sign.

Regardless of how good the person looks and how professionally the photo is taken and how poor their use of English is, you are usually safe until the person asks for money. It might be a sudden unexpected tragedy, or some awkward emergency, and suddenly YOU are asked to send money. Why is it not the next of kin who are asked?

Don't worry, as you don't need to make a faith-based decision. You can do your own independent research. Use any information sent by the other person and do some searches. Odd as it may seem, scamsters make stupid mistakes, and you can catch them out. If an address is mentioned, you can look it up online and see if it makes sense. If someone is stranded at a hotel for example, you can look up the phone number and phone the hotel and check up if they are there. A story that is true has to make sense when viewed from different angles, like a real building, in contrast to a Wild West movie set which is only viewable from the front, and when you view it from the side you can see it's a facade all propped up.

Knowing what to look out for, and being forewarned, may save you a lot of trouble. You're safer now you've read this! Good Luck with your online dating!

Dating sites, please take note: Some people as members of dating sites have a seemingly magical ability to attract scamsters to themselves. If you knew who the scamfinders were, you could give them free memberships and pay them, as they would help to rid your dating site of scamsters, like a cat rids a house of mice!

There has recently (2012/03) been a spate of dating scam messages apparently from Armenia. The photos look convincing on their own, but they are of different people, so a person may send photos of "themselves" and yet their face is different. The person tells a very long story about their life, even though they don't know you well. They claim to have seen your "profile" on a dating site. This is not true, however, and they don't really know anything about you. Scamsters are usually easy to rumble because they do not answer questions, and they just carry on going on about their story regardless. Scamsters have a tendency to behave as if they have no memory of previous messages, and they ignore what you have asked.

The tragedy is if you fall in love with the person, you can end up in serious trouble because they will sooner or later ask for some money. Be strong! The person who you've fallen in love with is fictional, and the story is a long yarn woven to rope you in. Don't be fooled by the scamster's tale, as it is not true.

One way to verify it's a scam is to take a chunk of the shpiel, just a paragraph, and paste it into a search. You may be horrified to see it appear in "Down With Scam" sites. Sometimes the story is the same but the names of the parents and the other members of the family have been changed.

My advice is to go with dating sites but be careful, and keep a close watch on what information you reveal. This is not just because of good sense and caution, but also because you can use it like a fingerprint to suss the other people out. Avoid Facebook, because information about you is bandied-about regardless, so you are never safe, neither from trolls nor scamsters nor the evil establishment. In contrast, at proper dating sites, you control what you say about yourself.

Your ability to resist scams is greatly enhanced by your ability to do a search, and an attitude of healthy scepticism where details need to make sense and to be compatible with each-other.