Maybe you work in an industry that is heavily lopsided with one sex or the other or perhaps you travel a lot for your job and don’t have time to meet people in the usual manner or maybe you simply aren’t having luck on your own… Whatever the reason, you decide to give online dating a try. You fill out all the questions, your profile goes live and then you (hopefully) start receiving interest from people on the dating site you joined. Some of the people who say they are interested are so off the mark, you know they didn’t bother to read your profile, they only like how you look, and, others are close but not exactly the type you are seeking, and, then finally out of the blue Ms. or Mr. Right seems to come along. Or did he/she?
Unfortunately, the Internet is full of scammers and scams and, online dating is far from safe from these low life predators. Mr. or Ms. Right will tell you everything you wanted to hear from all the others, you’re overjoyed and can’t believe your good fortune to have met someone who is so perfect for you in every way. Once they know they have you hooked, the scammer will put out a tester and start complaining about money problems. Sometimes it’s to get food because someone robbed him or her, sometimes it is some major company deal and they can’t get the funding they need to close the deal, and, still other times someone in their family is dying and he or she cannot afford an airline ticket and they ask you for a “loan.” If any of these lines sound familiar then you’ve already been scammed or someone tried to scam you but, you were smart enough not to fall for it.
For everyone else, stopping scammers isn’t hard if you know the signs to watch for when meeting someone online. In addition to feeding you what you want to hear, scammers are usually widows or widowers (or so they claim) and, they rarely answer your direct questions and continue with canned emails to see if you are gullible enough to try to scam. They move quickly and often begin by telling you they think they are falling in love with you, then they will tell you about their job, and, then finally the scam starts. It begins slowly, the first step is complaining about a financial situation, step two is some type of major financial setback, and, then step three is hitting you up for money.
If you find yourself in this situation, first collect every email back and forth and print it out for hard evidence. Then report the suspected scammer to the dating company. Finally, if you feel threatened or if you actually fell victim to a scam take all your information and evidence to the police beyond that simply wave bye-bye to your money because you will never see it again.
Tips to Help You
- Never give out too much personal information especially passwords or social security numbers
- Never send money via Western Union
- Never send a blank check
- Never agree to do someone a favor if it sounds fishy
- If someone sounds too good to be true and they offer no evidence they are who they claim (such as profiles on LinkedIn) where you can verify employment by calling the company to see if he or she works there; then walk or run away. It’s probably someone who is going to scam you.
It’s a harsh reality to face, but, you need to be on guard at all times when meeting people online. If you suspect someone is a scammer, ask them to email you directly and then do an email trace. Whatismyip.com is an excellent source for tracing emails and they give step by step instructions how to do it: https://www.whatismyip.com/how-to-trace-an-e-mail-address/ If you see an origin other than where the person claims they live (especially anything that traces back to Nigeria), more than likely you are being scammed. Follow the advice above and get away as fast as possible. Lastly, do NOT feel foolish!! You aren’t alone and remember it isn’t you! Good luck and stay strong!