We have posted many articles about being careful as you meet people online. While online dating is an amazing avenue to meet your match, you should be smart in this relatively newer way of finding love. I thought this post from author Sharon Lynn Wyeth was very thorough – and wanted to share it.
Written by Sharon Lynn Wyeth for YourTango
Here are warning signs and some advice so you don’t waste time with frauds, and instead can focus on the possibility of real love:
1. Look at their profile.
Start with what is stated on the Internet site. Scammers often are not specific in what they are looking for in a mate. Thus, more people will respond and fit their requirements. When making contact with you, they start by complimenting you on your looks. Wouldn’t we rather be complimented on accomplishments or what our goals are?
2. “I love you” statements.
This is a statement that everyone wishes to hear, but how do you know if it’s real? Charlatans tell you they love you before they have ever actually met you. Think about it. Some people can sound great on the phone, but when you meet them there is nothing there; or, physically they just don’t meet your standards. How can someone honestly love you before having met you in person?
3. Flattery before you’ve even met.
The other part of the “I love you” scam is when they will say something like, “Something in me shifted, and I love you,” or, “I think I have found my soul mate.” Again, they have yet to meet you, and there hasn’t been enough time to know you well enough to truly love you in the way you wish to be loved. How can someone want to spend the rest of their life with you when they have known you less than a month?
4. Using private email.
There is a reason they wish for you to contact them directly and not use e-mail via the dating site. You are using a dating site to protect your privacy and help you avoid scammers. Don’t fall for whatever their reason is to write to them directly prior to meeting them in person.
5. They don’t answer the questions asked in your emails.
It is almost as if some of their mail is sent automatically, like you are on their list and this is the next standard email that is sent out.
6. You want to meet, but they’ve conveniently moved.
Another indication that something problematic is going on is when there is distance between where you both live — and they aren’t advocating a meeting. When you indicate that you’ll be in their area and would like to get together, they can’t meet you. This is a great test; ask to meet them soon after the introduction. If there are continual excuses, then you know the person doesn’t really live where they say they do, and/or they are not truly interested in you.
7. It’s all about the money.
Most people who earn a decent living wish to be wanted for who they are, not for their income. Yet, scammers will often indicate that they make more than $150,000 a year. This way, when they get into a jam and request money, the unsuspecting person thinks their investment or loan will actually get reimbursed.
8. They ask about your income.
Shortly after the introduction, the person asks about your financials as they wish to know what kind of person they are dealing with. In other words, they are really wishing to find out if you are worth their time to scam as you have financial resources to share. Think about your friendships—do they ask you about your financials? Not many do.
9. They don’t call often.
They would rather write and they don’t usually answer the questions that you ask. If they do call, the conversations are short.
10. Their pictures are fake.
The pictures posted may or may not be the actual person. Ask the person to send you a picture of themselves via the mail.
11. Notice the background in the pictures posted online.
Are they indicating that they are wealthy? Does it show a big house, a new boat, or something else that yells wealth? Again, people who have real wealth do not advertise it. So, when a picture flagrantly indicates wealth, one needs to consider if that picture is even real. Did the person go to a boat dock and simply stand in front of a great looking boat and have their picture taken? Did they ask a realtor to show them an expensive house and then have their picture taken at the house?
12. They want to “borrow” money from you.
Many Americans find a foreign accent attractive. But, it is easy for a scam to be set up by a foreigner, even one who is not currently in the United States. One of the more popular scams is to pretend to be a resident who has either recently moved to the states in the last two years, or who is in the process of moving to the states. They get called back to their home country, or South Africa, to do a lucrative job, with either really important people or for a really good commission or a big paycheck.
Once overseas, something horrible happens that leaves them broke or close to broke—their money got stolen from their hotel, the taxi cab driver stole it, the airlines forced them to check their luggage and their money was in their carry-on bag that was now checked. Whatever the reason, a smart person or one who travels knows better than to let it occur.
They ask you for a temporary loan. Think about this. Why you? Don’t they have friends or family that could help them out if the situation was true? If they are asking someone that they barely know, it is either a scam or they have burnt their previous bridges. Either way, do you really want to get involved with this person? Ask yourself how desperate for a relationship you are. They are counting on that desperation.
In addition to the warning signs, here are some commonalities among scammers. Remember, they have a plethora of these, but not necessarily all of these traits.
Their name consists of two first names.
They don’t call often, as they would rather write.
They are not all over the Internet—you cannot find them on Facebook or any other sites.
They ask about your finances.
The facts that they give you do not check out. They are not on the alumni list of the college they said they attended, and so on.
They must travel overseas shortly after meeting you.
They state they love you before meeting you in person.
They state that they love you in less than a month.
They request money from you.
They make promises that are unrealistic.
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